Older chick bullying younger chicks


In the Brooder
Aug 18, 2019
Suffolk, UK
Hi there, wondered if anybody had any advice on this.

We have 5x Brahma chicks that are 4 weeks old and 2x Orpington chicks that are 3 days old.

Initially we had them all together for the first day we got them. But the older chicks kept pecking the younger ones and 90% of the time it was the brown Brahma chick. We decided to separate the younger chicks from the older ones by adding a mesh divider in the brooder.

Separating them is fine for now but later down the line when they’re all older I will want to merge the flock again and I assume we we still have the same issues with the brown Brahma bullying. Is there a way I can try and fix this issue early-on?

Let them continue to see each other, but keep them separately until the youngest are at least 3-4 weeks before trying to combine them again. That's how I would do it.
Thanks for the tip, sounds sensible. The oldest will be old enough to be in the coop by then I assume, would you recommend keeping them all in the brooder until they can all go in the coop or bring the youngest to the coop earlier when the older ones move? Thanks.
Move each as necessary. Plan to keep them divided up in the coop for a bit if they don't go out there together. I don't know what kind of outside temperatures you currently have, so it's hard to give exact advice. I've moved chicks out as early as 4 weeks if the temperatures are high enough and they are weaned off extra heat.
I don't know about Brahmas or how they act but Orptingtons are pretty docile, the size difference is most likely cause of the Brahmas picking on the little guys, I personally keep each brooder separate that wasn't hatched at the same time they can be in same room but it's look and listen but no touching even if they are only a few days apart. Baby chicks grow really fast. If your going to have a mixed flock I would really research the breed temperaments to match up for less issues. And read up about integrating new members , you never just throw chickens together like that. There are a lot of great articles in the learning forum by some very knowledgeable authors here.
When is best and how should I bring my young chicks (5 weeks) into the coop with my 2 1/2 year old chickens. See pictures. The chicks are getting so big but worried about the older ones attacking the younger ones.


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View attachment 1886485 View attachment 1886486 When is best and how should I bring my young chicks (5 weeks) into the coop with my 2 1/2 year old chickens. See pictures. The chicks are getting so big but worried about the older ones attacking the younger ones.
You need to pen the chicks where the older ones can see them but not get to them for a week or two before starting supervised mingling. Integration takes time, generally a month or two depending on your flock and set up.
The initial pecking order is done by weight. The heaviest becomes boss initially.
As the hens compete for their place in the hierarchy some will fight and the success of the combatant goes towards her confidence points. The middle and lower order hens tend to fight more than the senior or top hen so the top hen doesn't generally get much fight experience.
When a junior hen gets to adult hen weight and has confidence through fighting in the lower order, that is when you may get a serious contest for top hen.
Why does this matter?
One method of integration some of the old school chicken keepers use here is to put a junior hen/s from the original flock in with the new hens when they've reached full bodyweight. The most confident of the new hens (the top hen in the new hens order) then becomes senior to the hens imported from the original flock. I am told that when the two are combined the integration process runs more smoothly because the original junior hens are known by the original flock while one of the strangers is already accepted as senior.
I've never tried this but it's an interesting idea.

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