What are the chances they will never get along?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by nuttyredhead, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. nuttyredhead

    nuttyredhead Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2010
    Southern NH
    I moved my 4 little girls (11 -13 week old Bantam Brahma/Silkies) into the big coop last week, with my 23 week old Amberlinks. They are in a cage so everyone can get used to each other. I have been letting the little ones out to free range with 1 or 2 of the big girls. So far ok, one of the Girls is nasty with them, but i have heard here that is normal.

    I let one of the little ones in the run today with 6 of the nicer girls to see how they would do....they chased this poor girl around grabbing her neck and yanking out her feathers. she just about jumped into my arms to get away, the poor thing. She was with them no more than a minute, I was so scared for her. I really think if i had left her in there they would have killed her. Oh and I had put out snacks too, to try to keep them busy.

    Help!!!!!! Will this get better with time? Do i need to think about them living seperate??? Im not sure how that would work with our coop.... I can't rehome them, we are way to in love with them!!!
  2. Lbrad7

    Lbrad7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2010
    Ringgold, GA
    They are creating a new pecking order. Anytime you put new birds (especially younger birds in with older) in with an extablished flock the established birds will try and dominate the new birds. It will usually calm down in a couple days but you can make it easier by providing extra feeders and waterers so they will be able to eat and drink and try putting objects in the run for the younger birds can get out of sight of an aggressive bird. (out of site, out of mind)

    It's stressful but it will work out fine. Just keep an eye on them to make sure they are getting food and water.

    Good luck to you!
  3. ChickieBooBoo

    ChickieBooBoo Cold Canadian Chick

    Dec 2, 2009
    I small tub or something with a hole cut in the side so that the smaller birds can only fit though sometimes helps then have a break from the bigger birds.
  4. nuttyredhead

    nuttyredhead Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 3, 2010
    Southern NH
    Thanks for your info. It all sounds so simple, and I know this is the way for animals.... but i thought my poor little Cider girl was going to be killed or have a heart attack. [​IMG]
  5. Blue

    Blue Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2010
    It also might work better to put several or all of them in with the big girls instead of just one. That way there's less chance of one being ganged up on by the bigger ones; strength in numbers is the way to go. [​IMG]
  6. Tigerjane

    Tigerjane Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2010
    Pflugerville, TX
    Yea, definitely don't do just one little one at a time - strength in numbers
  7. donnavee

    donnavee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2009
    Central NC
    I have gone through the same thing introducing 5 young ones to 7 hens. But as others have said, I would intro all to the big girls at one time. If you free range at all, that is an excellent time to let the 2 flocks mingle - plenty of room and all those bugs and dirt to dig up. I have also noticed that snack time can be the most stressful - those at the top of the pecking order want to make sure they get first chance at the goodies - at least it seems to work that way with my flock. My younger ones are now 23wks old and as they are now starting to lay eggs seem to be more accepted by the older girls. Of course, bed time still sounds like an all bar fight going on inside the coop. I have learned to just walk away.[​IMG]
  8. superchemicalgirl

    superchemicalgirl HEN PECKED

    Jan 10, 2010
    Vacationland, Maine
    I'd also put some things in the run if you can to distract the older girls. I used a woodpecker block (like a small flock block but TSC was out of stock on the real thing) with some black oil sunflower seeds thrown into a flake of hay.
  9. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Be extra careful with your little Silkies- if they are pecked on the head just once in the wrong spot really hard it can kill them or leave them with a brain injury. Their skulls are built with a hole in them- a soft spot.

    I have older girls that I just decided to keep separate. They kept pulling the feathers out of my littler ones and ganging up on them as if to kill them. I feel sure they would have. Blood would have been drawn.

    They always say, "if no blood is being drawn, then it is just the chickens figuring out the pecking order." And that is true.
  10. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    I didn't see mention of how long you have had the little girls in their cage in the run near the big girls. If not very long (less than a few days), I'd give it a week or so before introducing them in the confinement of the run/coop. While they are still separate but visible, put their feeders near each other so that they can eat near each other while protecting the little ones. Free range may be a different story, it is easier because space is a major factor. In addition to adding extra food/water once you do integrate them, if you can put a feeder/waterer in a less visible and less used place - like inside the coop, it can help. Once they are sharing the same space together, I have found that the ones at the top of the pecking order don't get as disturbed if they don't SEE the underlings eating "their" food.

    Also if you have one big girl who does most of the bullying, you should separate her and keep her in isolation with no visibility of the rest of the flock for about a week and then put her back in, this can move her down a notch in the pecking order and reduce some of the aggression.

    Good luck - I have had similar challenges and it is not fun.

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