When the chicks grow up...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SilkiesRcool, Jan 25, 2017.

  1. SilkiesRcool

    SilkiesRcool Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was wondering whenever my EE's grow up if they would pick on my silkie hen. There are only two silkies my hen and rooster and will be no EE rooster. I was wondering if the EE,s would pick on the hen or if the rooster being silkie would help with them not. There is 5 EE chicks. They are getting along fine now but I didn't know about the future. (They've started joining the silkies on the floor instead of the perches).
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  2. lovelyduckling

    lovelyduckling Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How old are they? They could, but it depends on the pecking order. If your silkie hen is at the top along with the rooster the chicks may challenge her or the rooster. They could kill her or him in doing so. If they are old enough to lay or crow then they are old enough to fight for the top. I'd just keep an eye on them if you can. Good luck
     
  3. SilkiesRcool

    SilkiesRcool Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The big ones are 18 weeks and he young ones are 6-7 weeks old.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    No one can tell you what will happen. It works that way with chickens’ behaviors. They are living animals, about anything could possibly happen. There are a lot of people on this forum that have Silkies mixed in with their flocks and have absolutely no problems because of that. A lot of people. Don’t let one person frighten you by giving you one possible outcome. There are a lot of possible outcomes, most of them good.

    I don’t know how it is going to work with your EE’s and roosting. Since Silkies can’t fly some don’t roost. Some will hop up on low roosts or might climb a ramp to get to roosts, but some don’t do that even if they could get up higher. With your ladder roost they should be able to hop up if they want to. As always there are different possible outcomes. I’d expect your EE’s to eventually start roosting but they might form a bond with the Silkies and stay with them on the floor. It’s even possible when your EE’s start roosting the Silkies will decide to join them.

    My brooder raised chicks normally start roosting overnight somewhere around 10 to 12 weeks. I’ve had some roost at 5 weeks, some take longer, but for most it’s around 10 to 12. That’s with no adults around. I don’t know how your Silkies are going to affect that.

    Right now the pecking order is determined by maturity. Your older Silkies are at the top, the immature EE’s at the bottom. Normally the immature ones would form a sub-flock and try to avoid the older ones. The older ones often or even usually don’t tolerate having the younger ones around and will peck them if they invade personal space. It sounds like yours may not be doing that, at least at night. If that is the case, you are doing great.

    At 18 weeks your Silkies are not totally mature, but your cockerel may be old enough to assume some or most of a dominant rooster’s duties. One of those is to protect all members of his flock, including chicks. That might be part of what is going on, why they are sleeping together. Dominant roosters sometimes help take care of the chicks during the day. The Silkie pullet may be along for the ride. Your set-up is pretty unusual with those breeds and those ages. A lot of different things could be going on.

    I hope you are right, that all five EE’s are pullets. Sometimes mistakes are made on sexing chicks. If one or more is a cockerel instead of a pullet your chances of problems go up. I’m not going to guarantee disaster if one is a cockerel, but it is something you will need to watch.

    If they are all pullets I’d expect that Silkie cockerel to be the dominant chicken, even after they all grow up. Some roosters are more dominant than others, but even if he is a bantam and the EE’s are quite a bit larger, he should still dominate them. When the EE’s mature enough to challenge for pecking order rights they will determine which one is top hen and the others will sort out the rank behind them. That’s normally about the time they start to lay in my flock but yours is unusual. I don’t know when that will happen with yours. Until that happens your Silkie pullet will be the dominant hen but I’d expect her to lose that position when the others mature.

    Usually this goes pretty smoothly. I hardly ever see any fighting between the pullets and hens when they go through this process. Sometimes there is but usually there is not. My dominant roosters usually, not always but usually, break up what few fights there are. That’s part of a dominant rooster’s job, to keep peace in his flock. Some roosters are better than others. I have pullets growing up in my flock all the time. This transition into the pecking order usually goes extremely smoothly.

    In my opinion, one big factor in all this is room. The more room you have the smoother this usually goes. I don’t know how much room you have, either in the coop or outside. Another factor is that mine grow up together as part of the flock. I think that tremendously helps and you are doing that.

    In my opinion I seriously doubt your Silkie pullet will be picked on because she is a Silkie and thus “different”. They are growing up with her, they are used to her and how she looks.

    I will never say you will never have problems. Even if every one were an EE or if they were all Silkies you still need to watch them as they go through the maturity process. But with the Silkies being the older ones and them growing up together, I think your chances of problems because she is a Silkie are pretty small, especially if you have lots of room.

    Good luck!
     
  5. SilkiesRcool

    SilkiesRcool Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok thank you very much for all of your input and with the roosting part the EE's were roosting but have stopped and started sleeping with the silkies on the floor. I'm also pretty sure they're all pullets there is six but I know one is a roo and am getting rid of him Friday. Also if you're still here could you say why my setup is unusual because I'm not sure. I'm newer to chickens so I'm still learning. The reason I was concerned with my silkie hen is because I heard someone say birds of the same feather flock together. That had me worried they might pick on the silkies another reason I'm keeping the rooster as a silkie and getting rid of the EE rooster.
    Thank you
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    To me your set-up is unusual because you have two older Silkies, one a pullet and one a cockerel, and several younger pullets of a different breed. To me Silkies are “special needs” chickens because they can’t fly. That affects a lot of behaviors. You have an immature cockerel that sounds like he is “parenting” the chicks, especially with your new post when you say they left the roosts to sleep with the adults. That’s highly unusual. Both the ages and the breeds of your chickens will affect their behaviors.

    There ae many ways to go with the birds of a feather thing. To start with, breeds are a manmade thing. Chickens do not recognize “breed”. A starling knows it is a different species than a crow and will not live with them or try to mate with them. Chickens are all the same species. Any rooster will probably try to mate any hen. There are a lot of people on this forum where chickens of different breeds live together extremely peacefully.

    Different breeds tend to have specific personalities. Some tend to be more inquisitive, bolder, or more curious than others. From what I’ve seen, feather color does not seem to be as important in which chickens form bonds as personality. It’s not unusual in larger flocks for certain hens to sort of form a sub-flock and spend time together more than hanging out with the main flock. I’ve seen a Black Australorp and two Delaware (white chickens) hens form one of these sub-flocks while other BA’s and Delaware stayed with the main flock of red and buff birds. Those three liked to roam great distances while the rest hung out in home territory. But since specific breeds tend to have similar personalities it’s not surprising that these sub-flocks are often the same color.

    There is something else working here too. Chickens raised in broods together tend to form lifelong bonds. Regardless of color or even breed, they often form a sub-flock even when totally integrated into the flock, these bonds often lasting for years. Since people tend to get chicks of the same breed when they add chicks, like you got all EE’s, it’s not unusual for these birds of a feather to flock together.

    Chickens can recognize differences. I once tried to add some black and red chicks to a broody hen that already had a couple of newly hatched red chicks. She accepted the reds but I had to brood the black ones myself. She did not try to kill the black ones, just would not accept them and ran them off. Sometimes people have problems with Polish and their crests or Silkies with their weird feathers of the other chickens pecking at them because of the differences. Sometimes people have problems with just feather picking even if the chickens are the same breed and color. Chickens can be cold, ruthless, heartless brutes toward one another. Dogs check out new or different things by sniffing or licking, chickens do it by pecking. They are satisfying their curiosity and sometimes it gets out of hand.

    It’s just as possible your Silkies will peck at the EE’s because their feathers are weird to the Silkies as the other way around, especially with the age differences. That type of stuff happens but it doesn’t happen very often. As I’ve said before, a lot of people have these types of mixed flocks and do not have these problems at all. It’s also my belief that the tighter they are packed together the more likely this type of behavior is to occur. I keep going back to room because I think that is a huge contributor to most behavioral problems.
     
  7. SilkiesRcool

    SilkiesRcool Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok thank you I understand about the age thing now I didn't think that would matter. The hen and rooster do seem to kind of "parent" the chicks like at night he makes sure everyone goes in and in the morning everyone goes out. I am expanding the run whenever they get bigger and adding more perches in the coop so size shouldn't be a problem.
     

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