Integrated 5 week old chicks with 7 week old chicks, presumed bullying

jre8806

Hatching
Mar 27, 2018
6
9
9
Hey everyone, new to the group mostly, and the amount of information is amazing here. The wife and I just got seven layers a few weeks ago, and then ordered 4 more 2 weeks later. They're now 7 and 5 weeks old. We had them all in the same pin, with a divider separating them until 3 days ago. We integrated them at that time, and we notice that after a while, the older ones started pecking the younger ones, and kinda bully them into a corner from time to time. When they go to bed at night, they all snuggle together. The size difference is noticeable, but not overwhelming. I understand now there's a pecking order with chickens, but is this behavior something I should worry about? Should I try to wait to integrate them at 12 weeks and 10 weeks of age? Or am I just overreacting, and this will pass? These are our first layers. Thanks so much! (P.S. 2x Americauna, 3 barred rocks, 4 leghorns, and 2 Rhode Island reds)
 

aart

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Yeah, likely some 'pecking order' type behavior going on.
As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out.
Lots of space can help immensely.

Heres' some tips on......
Integration Basics:
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

The more space, the better.
Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
 

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