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Older girls blocking new ones from food

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jlholm, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. jlholm

    jlholm Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 12, 2013
    Western New York
    My Coop
    I just added my spring chicks to the main coop and run. I went through the get to know you phase with a temp coop next to the main coop where they could see each other and slowly added time together in the run until I finally moved them in permanately. The first two days seemed to go pretty well other than the normal skirmish of roost position. Last night, the skirmish was worse and the big girls truer to block the newbies from the roost and push them off when they did make it up. And they are getting more serious about blocking them from the feeders. I have placed extra feed and water containers at different ends of the run, but the big girls are still blocking them. As soon as they see the newbies attempting to eat they rush over and keep the newbies cowering in their "safe place". Is it normal for things to get worse before it gets better and this too will pass?? Help!
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    It's normal, especially when they are confined and possibly bored. Free ranging seems to eliminate problems like that. You may have to add a few more feeders and another roost if possible, but eventually it should lessen. I wouldn't intervene unless blood is being drawn. Sometimes it can be hard to watch your kids get beat up.
     
  3. jlholm

    jlholm Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 12, 2013
    Western New York
    My Coop
    Thanks! I sure hope it gets better! I do let the big girls out for couple hours because they are used to free ranging several hours a day, and to give them a break from each other, but thought it would be good to keep them together more while they get used to each other. I haven't let the newbies out to free range yet, because they are still smaller and we have hawks around. Plus I'm not sure if they will stick close and go back inside at dusk. I thought they should get used to their new home and roost for a while.
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    I keep my young ones penned for a week or two before I start letting them out. It's usually enough time to bond them to their coop. I have no run for my large flock so they are free ranging from the start. They tend to hang close initially and don't go to far.

    You could let the big girls out to range than close the gate so the young ones have some stress free time to explore and eat, and your big birds can burn off some excess energy free ranging. I personally have never had a young bird wander off, though I do some initial chronic checking on them, but after a bit they are on their own.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. jlholm

    jlholm Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 12, 2013
    Western New York
    My Coop
    Thanks! I plan to let them out all together in another week or so...the newbies haven't been in a full week yet. And I let the big girls out for a couple hours in the evening alone, but they're used to being out most of the day. Of course, like you said, I'm sure the first time I let the newbies out I'll be a basket case, lol!
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    Mine are going out to the shed tonight, so I'm already worried, so it's normal, I raised them so they are like my kids and I have to protect them. My husband just sees potential dinners when he looks at them. I get too involved sometimes. Good luck to both of us.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I had some interesting success with using a smaller access bin feeder with this springs batch of chicks.....most the big girls can't get their heads in there.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. jlholm

    jlholm Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 12, 2013
    Western New York
    My Coop
    That's a great idea!
     

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