Pecking Order Question

audra72

Chirping
7 Years
Mar 5, 2012
169
4
98
Lincolnton, North Carolina
We just brought home the final 4 of our first flock. The new ones are 6 weeks old and the other 6 are 9 weeks old. I was surprised at the size difference. My question is....what is normal "pecking order" stuff and what are red flag issues I should be concerned about? I wouldn't have thought merging these at 3 weeks age difference would be a big deal. Any help is appreciated.
 

Megs501

Songster
7 Years
Mar 2, 2012
135
2
111
Flint Hills KS
My Coop
Aaah- I just did the same thing! Haha only w 7wk olds and 12wk olds.. I think typically it's going to be some pecking, chasing, etc.

I have one of the older girls (barred rocks) picking on my baby RIRs. My poor RIRs are so sweet, and she chases them, keeps them from the feeders, etc. So I added another feeder and waterer. I also have been giving lots of treats! I think that keeps them busy.. I plan to add a hanging cabbage or two to help with boredom and pecking.

But, I do hope a more experienced chickeneer can help out, as I am new too! :D
 

Den in Penn

Songster
8 Years
Dec 15, 2011
3,418
213
216
SE Pa.
Normal pecking order behaviors are things like posturing, chest bumping, a little pecking. There is sometimes a little chasing of the one backing down. Bullying can also happen. The red flag is when there is blood. At six and nine weeks old there should be few problems, if they have enough room and distractions.
 

audra72

Chirping
7 Years
Mar 5, 2012
169
4
98
Lincolnton, North Carolina
Those are definitely signs I saw- the chasing, puffing up, some pecking. We decided to separate the little ones within the same run with their own temp food and water supply. That way the older ones can see the younger and get used to them. We put them together tonight in the coop. We'll split them again in the morning and do that schedule for a couple of days to get them integrated. Crossing my fingers.
 

Megs501

Songster
7 Years
Mar 2, 2012
135
2
111
Flint Hills KS
My Coop
How did they all do in the coop?

I have been keeping out my 12 wk olds because I'm afraid of them hurting the babies in the coop at night. Did it go well for you?
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
Sep 19, 2009
26,295
17,086
786
Holts Summit, Missouri
I have an idea. Keep groups separate. Introduce one of the larger juveniles in with the chicks. Wait a day or so, then add another juvenile. Then add another juvenile. My reasoning is that a single juvenile will not cause real harm to little guys and new social order will develop. Subsequent introductions will have the first juvenile(s) taking the brunt of the aggression from subsequent introductions and they will be as a result protecting the the smaller guys they merged with during the days before.
 

audra72

Chirping
7 Years
Mar 5, 2012
169
4
98
Lincolnton, North Carolina
How did they all do in the coop?
I have been keeping out my 12 wk olds because I'm afraid of them hurting the babies in the coop at night. Did it go well for you?

We put a temporary fence up inside the run. They can see each other. We've had them in the coop at night together with no issues. I think we'll merge them fully this weekend. That will be 6 days of separation but seeing each other with together in the coop. Surely that will work!
 

audra72

Chirping
7 Years
Mar 5, 2012
169
4
98
Lincolnton, North Carolina
I have an idea.  Keep groups separate.   Introduce one of the larger juveniles in with the chicks.  Wait a day or so, then add another juvenile.  Then add another juvenile.  My reasoning is that a single juvenile will not cause real harm to little guys and new social order will develop.  Subsequent introductions will have the first juvenile(s) taking the brunt of the aggression from subsequent introductions and they will be as a result protecting the the smaller guys they merged with during the days before.
That's an interesting and cool idea!
 

Den in Penn

Songster
8 Years
Dec 15, 2011
3,418
213
216
SE Pa.
I'm pretty sure the one by one method will work. I know it can be used when breaking up a gang of bullies. Be interesting, if you use it, how it works in your situation. One thing I might do would leave the top juvenile till last in the introductions.
 

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