Pecking order

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SammileeChickie, Oct 31, 2015.

  1. SammileeChickie

    SammileeChickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2015
    Southern California
    I recently got a new chicken that is 3 months old. I have two chickens that are 8 months old and they are kinda mean to her. This is the first day they are all together and I know they will peck at her but they pull her feathers and chase her. She doesn't want to get close to them and she's kinda weird in a way that she just lays down all the time. Right now my two chickens are on the roosting bars and she is sleeping in the nesting boxes. I noticed her feathers were ripped when I got her so I know she was bullied and she was living in a cage filled with guinea foul. Will my chickens always be this way with her.? Or will they eventually let up and let her join the two of them :( I feel so bad for her, but I'm sure this is how she was at her old crowded place
  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......
    ......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.
    See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens into flock.

    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    It's about territory and resources(food/water/space). Existing birds will almost always attack new ones.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    The more space, the better.
    Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best of mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders. If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
    1 person likes this.
  3. SammileeChickie

    SammileeChickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2015
    Southern California
    Thank you so much, I'm currently using the see but not touch method and I let them sleep together at night. The baby seems like she was bullied a lot and a little malnutrioned. She's very skinny and her feathers are ripped. So I'm going to keep her separated for a month and let her have a chance to relax and bulk up. Thank you so much for all the links.

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