My new hens are picking on my old hens!


In the Brooder
10 Years
Apr 27, 2009
Maple Ridge, B.C.
I just picked up 2 6 month old hens to replace the ones the darn racoons got and they are picking on my other chickens, (Younger and smaller) will this ease as they get to know each other or when the young'uns get full size or are my little ones doomed?
This will get better once the pecking order has been restablished. The little ones thought they were boss and then you confused them by throwing new ones in the cage.

Make sure there is plenty of places for them to hide, make sure there are extra waterers and feeders out so that nobody gets bullied away from the basics.

It should settle down within a week on two. You may find that they make two separate groups until the younger ones start laying eggs.

HOW MUCH YOUNGER are the smaller birds ? ? ? If they are way too young, you may not be able to mix them yet.
Watch them carefully - - - 5 weeks old chicks are small compared to the full grown ones.

If you do all I suggest - - - extra feeders, extra waters, plenty of hiding spaces, I even have a separate sleeping area for the smaller birds - - - you may be ok !

Sometimes if it does not go well - - - I put a separator up in the pen where they can see each put not get to each other. I do this for a month or two. Then when I take the divider down - - the chickens don't think it is a totally new stranger. There is still a little pecking discussion ( about a week or so), but then it settles down.
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I learned this by accident. But it sure has helped!!!

I've never added older birds to my flock, only younger/smaller ones, always felt for them as they learned how to fit into the pecking order...... a while back I was doing some repair in the coop and one evening I left some pieces of ply wood (about 2'x4') leaning up against the wall inside the coop. The next day I discovered the young/smaller bitties were using this newly created space, was a great place to be out of sight, and they seemed to feel more secure.........the bigger girls didn't make an effort to search them out to peck was only when the little ones would walk by or when they'd all meet up at the feeder/water. When I put extra feeders/water next to the newly created 'small spaces' (and the bitties didn't have to go out into the open middle of the coop) the bittes could have everything they needed without having to go far from their smaller/more secure/ spaces.
My coop repair did take a little longer, since the ply wood was serving a different purpose but it all worked out.
Now before I introduce new young ones to the coop, I look around the barn for some pieces of plywood to prop up against the coop wall for them to seek refuge behind.
I use pieces of wood leaning against the fencing / walls of the coop too. Additionally, I have found the BIG plastic flower pots with the bottoms cut out provide hiding spaces - - -kinda like a tunnel.

DON'T EVER make a hiding spot with only one way in - - make sure the little ones have two escape routes so that they don't get bullied by another bigger chick.

My a frame is made with a sheet of plywood cut in half and put together teppee style. This serves as a up high sleeping area.

Make sure you have many perches all over the place. I have put perches in every corner in the run. Since I divided a quarter of my pen into the "special" space for picked on birds (old or small) . . . I get about 7 perch spaces each a few feet long ! !
One neat idea I have seen was a friend had a coop set up with a divider that had openings big enough for the younger birds to get through but too small for the larger birds. She had used blocks in this set up and it allowed the littler ones to get away when things were getting too rough, but they got to intermingle when they felt comfortable doing so. She had food and water available on both sides of the divider.

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