Why do chickens tolerate Pigeons?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Col1948, Sep 19, 2018.

  1. Col1948

    Col1948 Songster

    Sep 9, 2018
    Manchester UK
    The reason I ask is, I have 3 original hens and tried to introduce 2 new hens 4 days ago, the originals shifted the new ones away every time they got close plus chased them away sometimes.
    I have now separated them in a smaller coop for a few days.

    Now my question I get pigeons in the garden that wonder around pecking with the original chickens and they don't shift them away, they get close to them but don't bother.
    Yet they act differently to 2 of their own kind, so do they see the pigeons as no threat or what?

    FlappyFeathers and snow5164 like this.
  2. chuckachucka

    chuckachucka Crowing

    Mar 22, 2016
    That's interesting. My chickens loathe pigeons and sound an alert if they get too close or chase them away.

    With most new things they encounter in life I find chickens' first reaction is to consider if the thing is food or a threat. If it is not food, it is usually a threat (or so their thinking goes) until proven otherwise. So at first they are suspicious but if something keeps its distance and does not attack they learn it is not a threat after all. There are different kinds of threats though. Simple physical threats, and social threats.

    Pigeons and chickens do not speak the same language, so to speak, and so are only a potential physical threat not social. They do not recognise each other as similar at all and will usually have no interaction beside this threat/not threat balance. So once it is established that pigeons are not a physical threat, they are just part of the scenery.

    Fellow chickens are instantly recognised as kin to chickens and so are subject to their social rules and system. New chickens will always be treated as threats to the current flock dynamic until they learn that there is enough food and shelter etc to go around, after all.
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  3. JedJackson

    JedJackson Crossing the Road

    Jul 6, 2016
    NW Washington state
    It's all about the pecking order. Pigeons don't qualify, so they are either ignored by chickens or chased away. I have no proof, but I would guess that how a chicken treats another species of animal (like pigeons) depends on the food supply. If food is plentiful, the chickens will ignore other species, and if food is scarce, they will chase the other species away. Whereas chickens will attack new chickens to the flock seemingly for no reason at all, except to establish who's dominant and later to reinforce dominance.

    So it's really apples and oranges.
  4. Col1948

    Col1948 Songster

    Sep 9, 2018
    Manchester UK
    On that subject I had a squirrel in the garden the other day and they ignored it, after a short while it went away.
    JedJackson likes this.
  5. snow5164

    snow5164 Crowing

    May 16, 2015
    So they didn’t mesh together ?

    Do you have two different feed and water stations a ways apart so they could all eat in peace?

    How bad was it? If there’s no blood I would recommend letting them work it out , the longer you wait the harder it will be .

    Free ranging together is a nice safe place for them to get to know each other ( or remember each other)
    FlappyFeathers and JedJackson like this.

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