Will chickens that grow up together still bully each other?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kianoosh, Feb 18, 2019.

  1. kianoosh

    kianoosh In the Brooder

    Jul 6, 2018
    I have a small urban coop with 4 chickens (4'x3' coop + 4'x10' run, no free ranging), so chickens fighting and bullying has been a real problem. I had two of a breed called Red Cross (cross of Rhode Island Red with Columbian Rock), and then I added two Columbian Rock Crosses - through proper introduction procedure (split the coop etc).

    I was hoping the community would help me with this problem: I plan on getting new chicks and replace my flock of 4. I'd love to have a Silky, but they are know to be push overs and getting bullied by others, especially the Red Crosses that I'm also getting. Q: would chickens that grow up together still bully each other? (I understand pecking order, but I'm talking about bullying.)

    The reason I'm being particular about "grown up together" is the following two observations. (1) Currently the two Red Crosses I have (having had a Rhode Island Red mother!) bully the two Columbian Rocks Crosses very bad, even after almost a year; one jumps over the other and keep pecking angrily hard until the poor girl below manages to get out. But then they were not grown up together, the Columbian were added later. Would they still fight if they were grown up together? (2) I also once had a flock of the same mix, grown up together, tough until only a few month of age, during which they did NOT fight at all, but I didn't have them long enough to be conclusive.

    So, do I get that silky chick, hoping that her Red Cross sibling won't harm her? (like my current chickens are doing - hence being replaced)

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    DobieLover likes this.
  2. kianoosh

    kianoosh In the Brooder

    Jul 6, 2018
    By the way, let me share my experience for whoever interested in those breeds I mentioned.

    the Red Cross chickens are egg laying machines, superb quality and quantity - each laying ~6 per week in summer, ~4 per week in winter with no artificial light, in southern Ontario. They are a bit tempered, but not aggressive to humans or flighty at all.

    The Columbian rocks are the most beautiful chickens I have seen. They also lay well - slightly smaller and less frequently than the red cross. They are very flighty, I can't catch them.

    They all eat their own eggs --well they got not much else to do in that small space-- so I had to build a trap. Plastic eggs, hot sauce, ... didn't work.
    DobieLover likes this.
  3. DobieLover

    DobieLover Easily distracted by chickens

    Jul 23, 2018
    Apalachin, NY
    My Coop
    With such a limited amount of space available to your birds, I don't think it will matter if they are raised together or not. They need more space!

    I love my DH dearly but if I had to live with him in a 400 sq ft house that we could never leave, I would probably strangle him after a week.
    aart, staceyj, Chick-N-Fun and 3 others like this.
  4. CoopintheWoods

    CoopintheWoods Songster

    Dec 27, 2016
    I have found that of the first 14 chicks I bought a few years ago, even though they were raised together, still bully the others relentlessly. However, when I added a new hen to the flock about a year ago, they mostly stopped picking on one another, and constantly harass her instead.
    I should also mention that until march 2017, I had a Faverolle hen, Lucy, with my flock, whom she grew up with. Like Silkies, Faverolles are known to be at the bottom of the pecking order. She also has a permanent, severe, limp, which definitely contributed to the relentless bullying. She was constantly picked on, to the point that in march 2017, I had to remove her from the flock. She was later joined by a Buff Orpington, who was also raised with the flock, who the other hens seemed to want to kill. The Orpington, Pumpkin, and Lucy were very sweet with one another until Pumpkin passed away, although I don't think Lucy was eating her fair share of the food.
    So, to conclude, hens that are raised together will still bully the hens who are lower on the pecking order, in my experience.
    Good luck with your flock!
    DobieLover and Chick-N-Fun like this.
  5. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    If you can expand your set up, do so... it'll help with bullying issues as you're right around the minimum recommended amount of space per bird.

    That said, yes chickens will bully other chickens they grow up with, especially when they hit that young adult stage where some are maturing a little faster than others.

    Since you already have bullying issues and your set up is small, I would not add a Silkie to a mix of larger breeds. If you really want some Silkies I'd consider a second coop and run, or perhaps you can use the one you currently have for Silkies only and make a larger enclosure for bigger birds.
    DobieLover and Chick-N-Fun like this.
  6. Chick-N-Fun

    Chick-N-Fun Almy Acres Farm

    Jun 26, 2014
    Corning, NY
    Limited spacing is definitely the issue.....
    DobieLover likes this.
  7. kianoosh

    kianoosh In the Brooder

    Jul 6, 2018
    Thanks for your inputs. We only have a small yard. I'll see what I can do to expand the run area for the chickens - maybe make it 2 story.

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