Pecking Order with Age Differences

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by broadwing, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. broadwing

    broadwing Chirping

    Oct 3, 2007
    Greetings, all --

    I won't go into all the details as it's quite the soap opera, but suffice it to say I have two hens of 7-8 months old (both laying), and one pullet that I'm introducing to the flock that is about 2-3 months. The two older are Dahlia, the Gold-Laced Wyandotte and boss hen, and Holly, an Easter Egger that I'm positive is Ameracauna x NH Red (bright red hen with muffs/beard laying pink). The little one is Pinot, a Houdan. Dahlia and Holly lived together for awhile but I had to replace the third hen with Pinot, who has been very high strung and I originally thought she wouldn't assimilate at all. I removed Holly when I saw she was harassing Pinot mercilessly (pecked her butt to shreds), so for several weeks, Holly has been living in a huge SkyKennel near the coop (indoors) where she can see the other two but not interact. Pinot has settled down significantly with Dahlia, and while Dahlia will occasionally give Pinot a good little whack to the crown, she is normally very gentle and they sleep together.

    The breeder I got Pinot from said I should keep them where they can see each other but to keep Holly separate until Pinot grows up and then reintroduce her. I tried a reintroduction a week or two ago and put Holly into the coop for about an hour. Pinot actually did stand up to her (even though she had to hop to get taller than Holly!), but after about an hour, I could see Pinot's confidence eroding. The breeder said he'd only heard bad things about Ameracauna aggression and that Holly might not ever leave Pinot alone. Worst case scenario is that I sell Holly and pick up a young Welsummer from this breeder once Pinot grows up around March, and then we should have a clean pecking order.

    Any thoughts?

    Also, I've been concerned about it getting cold and having Holly by herself. Her SkyKennel is suitable for a Great Dane, so she has plenty of room (I let her out in the yard during good weather so she can see the girls on the other side of the fence). I put deep shavings in her box, and she mounds them all up in the back, where she snuggles down at night. I raised the kennel on blocks about 4" off the concrete floor, thinking the airflow might insulate it a little more. I also toss a blanket over the top to reduce drafts that might come in through the windows/door. Next weekend it's supposed to drop to 21-24 overnight.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: