Threatening Sounds? While Introducting 6 week old and 3 week old chicks to each other

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by GreyhoundGrrrl, May 25, 2012.

  1. GreyhoundGrrrl

    GreyhoundGrrrl In the Brooder

    May 5, 2012
    Madrid, NM
    I have (3) 7 week old barred Plymouth Rocks, (4) 6 week old Buff Orpingtons, (3) 3 week old EE's, and (5) 1 week old Cochin bantams. The 3 week olds are house with the 1 week olds and they get along fine. The first day was a little rough and the "big" babies picked on the little babies but I figured out that they were being possessive over their food and put little cups of food all over their brooder. Once there was food everywhere everyone got along fine. No problems since then.

    Until now...

    Although we are still a few weeks away from merging the two different age groups: the 6 & 7 week olds and the 3 & 1 week olds I am starting to think about getting them used to each other. Not the tiny babies but the EE's and the bigger birds. All of my older birds are hens and I see no signs of the EE's being Roo's but that could change of course.

    My Barred Rocks didn't seem to mind the EE chick I showed them but one of my Buff Orpingtons made this low whistling sound I have never heard from any of my birds before. I am gathering that this sound is a threat because the little EE chick started screaming and got away as fast as possible. She was okay with the bigger birds up until that point. The Buff girl also tried to peck the baby which just furthered my assumption that she was being aggressive towards her.

    I am new to this and obviously I don't want my birds to be aggressive towards each other as eventually they will all live together in one big coop. Is there a specific meaning to this sound and how can I get the two groups used to one another?

    Any suggestions? Advice? Please tell me if I am doing anything wrong. I want everyone to eventually live together happily.
    Last edited: May 25, 2012
  2. GreyhoundGrrrl

    GreyhoundGrrrl In the Brooder

    May 5, 2012
    Madrid, NM
    I just tried again but removed the Buff Orpington who was making the low whistling sounds. The larger hens were cautiously curious about the new baby but there were no problems. When I brought back my aggressor she went straight for the baby making those same whistling sounds again. She is even acting confrontational and the little one is taking it as a clear sign to get out of her way! I guess this is my alpha hen?

    I hear so much about how people just adore their Buff Orpingtons but I'm not terribly impressed so far. My Barred Rocks are sweeter. The Buff Orpingtons peck EVERYTHING. When I go to open their cage the 2 larger ones peck at my fingers relentlessly. I don't wear nail polish and I never have my rings on when I am dealing with them so there are no bright colors for them to be entranced by. They peck before they even know what something is. The Barred Rocks seem sweeter and smarter. They take the time to investigate and examine things before they go for it and they don't peck at my fingers.

    Anyway... thoughts on my low whistling Buff? Is there a name for this sound?
    Last edited: May 25, 2012
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Cool observation!

    I think you are hearing a vocaliziation that is both a threat and a call to arms.

    I keep my young birds in groups / cohorts that are either from a single hens reproductive effort or a batch made of one to several hens eggs that were run together through incubator and brooder. The groups / cohorts remain intact and do not mix even when released together in a free-range setting all summer. When two groups / cohorts come together there is always conflict. Being larger in terms of individual size does not ensure dominance when groups come together. It is a numbers game. When the groups come together around a feeding station the rivals either stay on opposite side of feeding station when individuals within groups / cohorts are of similar number, or the larger group runs the smaller group off. The whistling-growl is a threat directed by one bird at another and it appears to attract friends to your aid. When two groups are approaching each other, multiple members of each group make sound and the makers of a given group cohort tend to bunch up and approach they other group. Usually one group backs down pretty quickly but on occasion fights do break out and more often then not it is a numbers game determining who remains at feeding or loafing station.

    I really want to record the sound.
  4. KimKimWilliamso

    KimKimWilliamso Chirping

    Mar 11, 2012
    Nanton, AB, Canada
    My Roo makes a similar noise when i try to introduce the younger chicks to him. The babies appear to be oblivious in my case though.
    But its funny what you say about the Buff Orp pecking everything, mine does this too!!! My hands with no rings also! LOL But, she is the only one who can catch her own bugs/worms, LOL But she is not a bully, in fact Im having trouble with her being attacked by the rest, she is the weakest chicks I have.

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