intergration/pecking order


13 Years
Apr 19, 2009
Soooo I was going to give intergration a try and let my silkies into the run with the BR & BO...but apparently I a picked a bad time, because a little water spilled and the BR was dominating that teensy puddle and when the silkie (the one I think is a rooster) got near, she pecked at his face and he ran for cover....

soooooooo any tips on how to do this?

and about how long should I allow pecking happen if it's happening?

and can a rooster be dominated by a pullet? (is that where the term hen pecked comes from?)

I should mention I'm somewhat concerned because of the size difference....the silkies have been in the mini coop within the larger coop/run during the days for a while now (little over a week) but I bring them in at night and put the big girls in the outside coop at night...
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Most people say if you put them together at night they will wake up together and accept each other. I have not done that but its worth a try. I have found the best way is to put them all in a new location. They are all so hyped about being somewhere strange they forget to peck each other. I blended two age groups like this twice and so far it has worked. Soon we will be putting the younger pullets in with the older hens I plan to divide the coop into two and keep them separated at first then slowly blend them together one night. Our older girls freerange so we want to keep the younger ones in the coop to learn their home before we let them freerange as well. I have seen roosters picked on by pullets,especially if they are smaller. hope this helps. Someone with more experience will post I am sure.
I have bantams the size of pigeons running with much, much larger hens and roosters, with no problem. Ditto for my 2-, 3-, and 4-month olds. The key is to introduce them to the flock at night. Just put them on the lowest rung of the roost after everyone has settled down for the night. Generally, whoever leaves the henhouse in the morning is considered part of the flock, and won't be attacked.

Keep in mind that the highest ranking chickens take the top rung of the roost. They'll often peck lower-order chickens who dare to move to their level until they move down.

Had a newbie stick a new hen in with an established flock one morning before he left for work... he came home to a dead chicken. Established flocks don't like intruders or a change in the pecking order.

Kathy, Bellville TX
I just gone done integrating a BR pullett and a Barred cochin bantam roo into my flock of older RIR and GSL. My older birds were 9 weeks old when i first put the youger ones (2 weeks old) into the brooder inside the coop. I left them that way for a couple weeks and then the little ones started to get out on their own. I decided to take a wait and see approach, and I would sit out there all day and watch to make sure things didn't get to rough. As long as the litle ones had a place to escape to, they learned really quickly when it was and wasn't okay to be around the bigger ones. Two days later I placed the little ones on the roost after dark with the bigger ones and they have been accepted ever since. I even catch them roosting right next to the bigger ones some nights. I was also concerned about the roo because being a bantam he is so small compared to the others, but he does just fine, in fact i think the hens are a little rougher on the bigger pullett than they are on him. Just be patient, but make sure the little ones have somewhere to go to get away, and don't interfere unless you absolutely have to.
This is a great site to learn all about integrating chickens.

The pecking and fighting and posturing is how chickens detemine the pecking order. They are social animals and one way they are able to get along is that they know who is number 1, who is number 6, and so forth. If they don't establish this, then they would be stressed out and fighting all the time. Wolf packs and cattle herds establish a pecking order. It is nature's way for pack, herd, or flock animals to be able to get along and work together.

The personalities more than the size of the individuals will determine who is on top and who is on bottom. Some are more willing to accept their position than others. When you have two that are too evenly matched or are unwilling to be anything other than on top, you can get vicious fights, even to the death.

When chickens wake up with strangers in their midst, they do not know where these strangers fit in the pecking order and this has to be detemined. Maybe them waking up together helps ease this process and maybe it doesn't. I don't know, but the process will go on. If you house them side by side, much of this process can go on through the wire without them getting to each other to fight. This can greatly ease the integration. There are other tricks to ease the process but be assured, they will detemine the pecking order.
Thank you....I will try the NIGHT option when they get a little bigger...the two that are being 'introduced' are they don't roost (from what I hear) rather they cuddle together in a the BR & BO will roost and the silkies will cuddle (right?)

We are talking about 4 birds total

1 couple (two pullets, a barred rock and a buff orpington)

the other couple (two silkies...I think one is a roo and one is a pullet, but don't know for sure yet)

The BR & BO are 3 weeks older then the silkies, but significantly bigger.

I have had the silkies in the dog crate IN the coop/run with the bigger girls for I think two weeks, maybe less??? during the day (at night I bring the silkies indoors to their brooder)


I also had a roosting 'ranking' question...maybe KHayward can help with this question...

My BR & BO roost side by side (hunkered close to each other) on the edge of the nesting box...neither of them will go ON the roost my husband built...any tips on why that might be??? And how would I know who's the top chicken if they are side by side??? And they seem so 'equal' during the day...I don't see either of them dominating the it because there are only two of them and they've been together since day 1???

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