Nature or nurture?


10 Years
May 31, 2009
I have a seven week old Blue Andalusian that I love dearly but she's a cripple; she limps and has done so starting about 24 hours after I got her home. As a novice, I didn't interfere, thinking that: a) she'll get over it and b) she was eating, drinking and limping around actively. So now she's outside with 10 other litter mates, she still limps but she's bright, active and gets her share of food and treats. She's a bit of a solitary bird and seems to prefer to be by herself often but comes in with the flock to roost.

However, there seems to be some sparring for position but they are in a big run 10 x 16 and all seem to get along. I spend quite a bit of time watching them and she's not being picked on but they're young and I was afraid that it could get nasty for her when peck order fighting really starts. One of my chicken mentors told me that she didn't think it would get ugly because these chicks were raised in the house until five weeks old with lots of interaction and a fair amount of room and entertainment. She said that she thought that chickens left to their own devices seem to be the nastiest.

Has anyone had any experience with this or thoughts about this? Is it nature or nurture that determines the ferocity of peck order sparring?



Dec 27, 2008
Pasadena, CA
I'm sure others with more experience will chime in, but I suspect that it's more nature than nurture with chickens; I don't think how we raise them really could have much influence on how they treat each other. If you've observed her with the other chicks and they seem to be getting along ok she's probably going to be fine. It might be a different story if you were trying to integrate her into another flock, or introduce another bird to your group - then the order would have to be re-established. But if she's accepted in the current order and is holding her own she's probably going to do fine. Especially with you there keeping a vigilant chickie-mom eye on her!

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