Silkies Getting Picked On

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by PTFowl, Sep 17, 2011.

  1. PTFowl

    PTFowl Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 16, 2011
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    Why is this Cuckoo Maran being so mean and how best do I get her to behave better toward the Silkies? One of the two 10-day-old Cucoo Marans will go over and peck at a Silkie and force the Silkie to move to a different spot of the brooder. I just introduced the Silkies and the 5 mixed bunch into the same brooder today (they came from 2 different hatcheries). They are not overcrowded or over/under heated and there is no shortage of food or water in their brooder. The Cuckoo Marans is part of a batch of 5 (2 CM’s, 1 Barred Rock, and 2 Welsummers) that came from a different hatchery from 4 Silkies and 6 Polish (the Polish are currently in a separate brooder due to space issues). I thought that by introducing the 2 different batches of chicks at such a young age things would go more smoothly. It’s not going terrible, they’re not killing each other, but the two batches are staying mostly separate in the brooder area and the younger bigger birds are sometimes going after the funny looking feathers on the Silkies. The Polish that were with the Silkies from day one don't have the same kind of annoying behavior toward the Silkies as the new bigger younger birds do.
     
  2. AngelzFyre

    AngelzFyre Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 18, 2007
    Pell City, Alabama
    They'll have to establish a pecking order, even as chicks they do it.
    Try adding another small feeder and waterer for a couple weeks til everyone settles in and decides they can share.
    You may still have to referee, my Marans babies are way more active and aggressive/pushy than any of the Orpingtons or EEs I've ever had.
    Silkies and Polish seem to be more mild mannered though I'm sure there are some that aren't. I just read something about Polish chickens that said because their feathers sometimes cover part of their eyes that they cannot tell as well as other chickens how to behave. They don't see the differences in aggression or warnings from other chickens because of that and get picked on more. Silkies may be that way too??? I don't know.
     
  3. PTFowl

    PTFowl Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 16, 2011
    WA
    Thanks AngelzFyre. Yeah, I didn't realize the pecking order thing would get started so early on. Glad I didn't wait longer to introduce them. Aggressive/pushy is a good way to describe these Marans! And mild mannered for the Polish and Silkies too. Also the Polish seem exceptionally curious and comical. I've read what you described about the Polish feathers interfering with vision but right now their vision is not impaired as they don't have those feathers in yet. Same with the Silkies. Watching the different personalities and behaviors emerge is pretty cool.
     
  4. AngelzFyre

    AngelzFyre Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 18, 2007
    Pell City, Alabama
    I have a group of 15 BCM chicks right now that are hilarious to watch. They are learning how to roost and perch on literally everything! Even when I am replacing food and water and grit they are up on my arms and hands and I have to shake the little pests right off! They're only about 24 days old and already trying to vy for who roosts where and who eats first and there are 2 feeders in there with them. I was surprised to see them so pushy this young [​IMG].

    I'm just keeping my fingers crossed I've more pullets than cockerals right now. [​IMG]
    The last time I got 25 straight run, 17 were cockerals! ARGH!!!!!! [​IMG]
     
  5. DanyyChicken

    DanyyChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 30, 2011
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    Yes it's amazing how quickly they form a tight knit flock. I bought all my birds in the course of one week and could definitely see how quickly they form cliques. The original nine I had the first weekend. On that Thursday I added three more birds and to this day almost 5 months later those three still mostly hang out together. Don't get me wrong they do mix in with they other remaining birds from the original nine but seem most comfortable amongst themselves.
    The pecking order will change with the addition or subtraction of any members of the flock. Out of my 12 birds purchased 5 were roosters. After the removal of four roosters the dynamic of flock changed again with some of the lesser hens moving up in the ranks.
    Don't worry they will work it out. I wouldn't intervene unless they are drawing blood.
    Good luck [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2011
  6. PTFowl

    PTFowl Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 16, 2011
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    Quote:I tend to want to intervene to shape the behavior that I want (plus i hate to see creatures getting pushed around) rather than use this just-let-them-work-it-out-themselves approach. But I'm new to chickens and realize i've got a lot to learn. So i did some searching on pecking order. According to Wikipedia, the pecking order is believed to "reduce the incidence of intense conflicts that incur a greater expenditure of energy. The dominance level determines which individual gets preferential access to resources such as food and mates." Okay, so maybe by letting the chicks work out their conflicts without my refereeing, it's actually going to help things go more smoothly later on when it comes to more intense spats. Is this why you let them work it out themselves?
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2011

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