LITTLE CHICKS CAN WHOOP BIG CHICKS WITH MOMMA'S HELP

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Sep 19, 2009
25,320
15,512
766
Holts Summit, Missouri
Earlier this spring we were collecting eggs from a group of gamehens. We collected about a dozen eggs per hen for incubation in an incubator and then allowed hens to set on clutches they produced thereafter. One of the hens is free ranged at the end of each day and all day on weekends while I am about. The incubator / brooder reared juveniles are free-ranged at same time. Their respective home ranges overlap somewhat. The incubator / brooder chicks are roughly three weeks ahead of the hen reared and thus 3X larger. The hen reared chicks number 14 and the brooder reared number 11. The two groups are out of the same mother and father but hen does not recognize older chicks as her own. Today the hen reared brood decided to invade the loafing area of their older siblings. Initially the hen launched an attack driving the older chicks from the loafing area and her younger chicks joined in on attacking thier elder siblings. The battle continued outside the loafing area into yard where the smaller guys pressed on attack even after mom was a good 20 feet behind. The little guys where not engaging the bigger chicks using the typical head on displays and chest bumbing. The little guys were attacking the bigger guys as a team with 3 little ones going after one big one. The little guys were whooping and driving off the bigger guys with ease. They (little guys) were also producing the growl sound associated with an aggressive dominant bird. Later I will post pictures showing how different in size the two groups are.






Following written by hen and some of her biddies when they jumped on keyboard while I composed this "O +i---zs4eqq2r2". Either I do not understand their written language or their spelling is pretty bad.
 
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centrarchid

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Sep 19, 2009
25,320
15,512
766
Holts Summit, Missouri
Photograph of repressentative combatants from two broods. Weights were 200 g and 430 g for chicks and juveniles, respectively. Both are male. During conflict both sexes were involved and targets did not appear to be resticted to the same gender.

 
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aoxa

Crowing
8 Years
Aug 8, 2011
19,042
1,173
421
Shediac Cape NB, Canada
My Coop
I've seen broody raised hens steal food right out of the mouths of full grown chickens. It's insane! Broody raised chicks integrate much more flawlessly. That's for sure.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Sep 19, 2009
25,320
15,512
766
Holts Summit, Missouri
I've seen broody raised hens steal food right out of the mouths of full grown chickens. It's insane! Broody raised chicks integrate much more flawlessly. That's for sure.
This not an issue of integration in an enclosed environment. It is territoriality and politics in truely free-range setting. The integration issue is much more artificial as realized in a coop or run. The two groups will not merge until adults and then as merger commences, some of the larger group will then splinter off into smaller groups with discrete ranges by late fall.
 

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