Why can't they all just get along?


8 Years
Aug 4, 2011
Lowellville, Ohio
A few weeks ago I took in some 16 week old mutt chickens (leghorn/bantam cochin X): six roosters and 1 hen, as well as one "special needs" hen whose legs and toes are so malformed that she cannot walk (she is our adorable little lap chicken, thoroughly spoiled even more than the others are, and lives in her own coop). They were in deplorable conditions when I picked them up. To say that overcrowding was an issue is an understatement. They were kept in a small hutch all day with a grated bottom, no roosts, and never any ranging time. Sigh. Anyway...

I rehomed five of the roosters with a wonderful lady a few streets away who already has a very large flock, since I only had four hens prior to the rooster influx (not nearly enough girls to supply the demand!). I had kept the new ones in the chicken tractor for a quarantine period, but now I let the only remaining rooster, Hagrid, free-range with his lady love, Dobby. They love it, but the only problem is that my four other girls that I had before, Black Australorps, are totally put out by this. They have been ranging in the same area for a few days now, but the BA hens run for it anytime Hagrid and Dobby come around. The BA girls are 12 weeks and absolutely massive compared to the roo because of his half-bantam genes, but it doesn't seem to matter: they hate his guts.

Will this ever improve? He isn't mean to them at all, and seems rather confused and concerned because the BA's won't indulge his protective mannerisms! Last night the new ones went into the BA's coop, and the BAs just about had a cow. I had to remove Hagrid and Dobby from the perch and move them to the chicken tractor so that the BAs would go in and go to bed.

Sigh. Tell me that they will all love each other eventually!
My limited experience says, they won't love each other, but they will get more tolerant. I have 17 of various ages and breeds in one coop and large yard or turned loose. They have definite groups, but these groups change over time, and loners eventually take up with one group or another. I have one pullet, about 7 months old, who has no age mates. She slept off by herself most of her life, but has begun hanging around with the oldest flock members during the day, and is finally beginning to roost with the flock.

Two of my oldest hens have competed for top of the pecking order for a couple of years. The other afternoon I was amazed to see them on the roost together, one with her wing over the other like a mama hen, the covered one laid flat on the roost, asleep. I thought she might be sick, but she is fine.

They will work it out.
Thanks so much for your reply. It's encouraging that they will at least tolerate each other eventually, even if they don't become BFFs!
Awww...that's really sweet. Like two old ladies who've bickered back and forth through the years, but deep down truly like one another...lol.

ETA: And sorry OP - I didn't respond to you...lol. Some seem to have quick luck with everyone living in harmony. My birds have always taken MONTHS (like 4-6) to really accept newbies, and even then, it's not as close as the original flock, which makes sense if you think about it, even combined families are usually like that.
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Flockwatcher is right. Just like other animals or even people, you can't force them to like each other, but they will eventually learn to live with each other.

Just give it time.
I've had lots of integrations, and I promise, it will get better!
Just give them time to work things out. They'll be upset at sure, which is totally normal, but as the days progress, things will calm down and pretty soon, they'll all be doing just fine together.

Now, tonight, at bedtime, let them go in together, and let them fuss. They might have a few rough nights, but that's natural, and ya just gotta let 'em hash it out.

That's just so nice of you to rescue those chickens and your little handicapped hen! They probably all feel like they're in heaven!

Take care,
My RSL hens still seem to be the top hens and attack the EE hens.They have been together for a year now.I had hoped the EEs would stand up to the RSL hens,but they just run or take the abuse.

When I added a 1yo roo to the flock I think ALL the hens attacked him,and he had to fight for the right to be the top chicken.No one messes with him anymore,but the hens still fight.

Either the roo needs to put the others in place or there will always be pecking.Hopefully over time it will be less harsh. I have an EE hen with a deformed foot.We call her broken toe though I don't think her toe was ever actually broken just crooked.
Our special needs chicken is a bantam cochin (white)that the breeder couldn't sell, and we call her Buttons. Everyone loves her, and she is most content when someone is holding her. One touch with a finger to her leetle head and she is fast asleep. DH says that she's the ugliest chicken he's ever seen, but what does he know?

Really, I think chickens feel more of a bond with one another than the periodic pecking and squawking would seem to indicate. I see one make another squawk over a handful of BOSS, then immediately walk off together, or begin eating side by side. And the groups intermingle and switch around, and sometimes all stay together, especially if they see a shadow fly over, or the cat pretend-stalks them.
I have 8 birds of different breeds and they never came to an agreement. It's too confusing to to go into the dynamics but at this point I'm maintaining 6 areas for them. They free range in shifts. My guys don't bicker -well, some of them do, but others are aggressive enough to kill. It works for me 'cause they're pretty much just pets. Yours sound only freaked out and irritated; no lengthy bloody battles. I think they will eventually calm down and tolerate each other.

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