Jealous Chick?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lolacherrycola, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. lolacherrycola

    lolacherrycola New Egg

    3
    1
    9
    Sep 2, 2014
    San Francisco, CA
    Hi,

    I have four chicks about 6 weeks old. The supposed jealous chicken is a Dominique. Since she was a tiny chick, she would jump on my hand when I was picking up another and end up jumping on the chick. Originally we thought this was protectiveness or aggression.

    When we bought a few more chicks shortly after the batch in which the Dominique was bought, she quickly went after an Ameraucana chick quite aggressively by pecking her head. We separated her from the others in a neighboring cage thinking she might be a rooster or a mean hen since her behavior prevented us from socializing the others and worried she was too aggressive for the other little ones.

    However, she is actually a very sweet chick who falls asleep in your arms almost immediately. She has remained separate from the others because she grew much faster (still double in size even though she is but a week older) and we did not trust her enough to leave her with the smaller chicks.

    I give her equal attention as the others, but when I put her back in her cage and go to the other chicks she begins pacing and freaking out. This is why we think her behavior is more jealously than anything else.

    Any advice on how to reverse or deal with behavior and reintegrate her safely with the other three chicks?
     
  2. lightchick

    lightchick Overrun With Chickens

    4,538
    243
    266
    Apr 3, 2014
    Minnesota
    Welcome to BYC! She sounds like she's jealous. She's probably the most dominant one and think that she's the boss. You will just have to push her off your hand if she jumps on when another chick is in it. Could you post a pic of her?
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    34,476
    7,691
    596
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    She may just be an aggressive and/or neurotic chicken, 'she' may be a cockerel..... but part of what you are dealing with here is integration issues.

    You added more chicks, even tho they may have only been a week apart in age, there is a territory defense mechanism there.

    You separated her and she became agitated...chickens are flock animals and don't like to be alone.


    Not sure why she is so much bigger than the other of her group, agrees that pics might help folks assess what's going on.
     
  4. lolacherrycola

    lolacherrycola New Egg

    3
    1
    9
    Sep 2, 2014
    San Francisco, CA
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Thank you both for your feedback. This is actually the third group of chicks that we have raised and the second time we introduced new chicks to other chicks but the first time one of the chicks acted aggressive towards another. I understand the need to establish a pecking order, but was afraid that she would really hurt the chicks who were only a few days old.

    She actually remains quite calm even though separated. She can see the others through her cage and only seems to become agitated when I am with the other chicks or not sitting next to her.

    Pictures:
    I tried to get a picture of her next to the others to give you a comparison, but was unable to do so and the ones I got seemed to distort the size difference. The top photo is of the other chicks and the bottom one is of the Dominique.

    Do you think we should wait until the others are more comparable in size to integrate them or slowly start putting them together now?

    Also, let me know if you need another angle of a photo or something else.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    34,476
    7,691
    596
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Just by looking at the feathering the bottom pic looks older than the 3 in the top pic...by maybe a week or two.
    I'd keep them separate but within sight of each other

    I had this same problem this spring...3 age groups, week age span....had to keep them in 3 separate brooders then slowly integrated the 2 older groups(1-2 week span) in a day pen.
    Once they were OK I put all of them in a coop with a wire crate with a small entrance for the youngest group, and they spent the days in 2 day pens until the youngest had out grown the crate and could hold their own with the older chicks...then I opened the run to them. That was back in May and I've just integrated that junior flock into my adult flock 2 weeks ago and now they are squabbling it out. Adding chickens to the flock is not often easy.

    Here's some tips on integration, check out what might apply to your situation

    :
    Integration of new chickens to flock.

    Consider medical quarantine.

    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. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    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 blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, 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 to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from bully birds.


    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by