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Young vs. Old (sad face)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Sneaky Chicken, Oct 7, 2016.

  1. Sneaky Chicken

    Sneaky Chicken Out Of The Brooder

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    About a month ago, I opened up the caged-in part of the coop to let my younger chickens officially move in with my older chickens (all are under 6 months old).

    Before that, I followed all the steps to properly incorporate the younger ones in with the older ones (range together, caged-off corner of the coop, feed and water all around, etc)..

    But its been a month, maybe more, and the babies are still a little frightened of the bigger chickens because the bigger ones are still pecking at them and chasing them away from food. One of my younger chickens is a rooster and he will fight back, another one finds a way to get in with the flock, but the last one is SOOO scared. She was once the cuddliest chicken I had and now shes frightened of me! I usually let the chickens range in our back yard all day but if I leave, I put them back in their coop since Im not there to keep an eye on them (we have a neighborhood cat or two and a couple of hawks that keep their eye on our chickens), and the babies HATE going in the coop and hide in the nesting box if its not bed time.

    Is this normal? Should it really be taking this long for them to get along? What can I do to make them all feel happier/safer?

    *No one has pulled out feathers or injured anyone.
     
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    How many chickens do you have altogether? What are the ages of the two separate groups? Do you only have the one cockerel? How big are your coop and run (in feet by feet)? Do you have more than one feeding and watering station? How about places for hideouts? What you are seeing is normal pecking order. Older chickens tend to put younger chickens "in their place", and the younger chickens either learn to deal with it, or get "thumped" now and again. If there is no blood being drawn, and no injuries happening, I would let them sort it out. But answering the questions I have asked will help us help you figure things out a little better.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Until the pullets lay, they are a sub flock of the older birds. That is what I have found, even with birds raised in the flock by a broody hen.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. goalaimethic

    goalaimethic Just Hatched

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    Sounds like a typical pecking order. Introductions usually start with wary looks and running around. The rough socializing is normal and you'll notice a lot of fearful cheeping, pecks to the head, fighting for food, and the list goes on. Try not to coddle the young ones; they need to integrate with the flock. This will involve the young finding their place and the older ones putting them in their place. The young ones will start learning the social norms of the flock such as mealtime etiquette, what's considered personal space, how to communicate food, danger, and where to walk. A lot of this interaction is with body language and occasional vocal sounds. Older hens will usually peck at heads if someone is standing a bit too close for comfort or is pecking at a food spot that isn't theirs. Make sure you have plenty of food available so everyone has something to eat they're not wanted at the feeding area until a few have had their fill. Also, keep food in multiple areas so the hens can spread out. As long as there is no serious injuries then there shouldn't be reason to reseparate the chickens again. Separating the younger chickens again and again might cause constant disruptions in the establishment of pecking order. Watch the live in real time chicken reality tv show unfold. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
    2 people like this.
  5. newchicks5

    newchicks5 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    yes it takes time,mine are getting there ,even my rooster still runs from the older ones,
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Sneaky Chicken

    Sneaky Chicken Out Of The Brooder

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    The Garden State
    I have 8 altogether: 5 older (still pullets), 3 younger. The older ones are about 4-4.5 months old. The younger ones are about 3 months old. I only have one cockerel and he is one of the younger chickens. He actually just started crowing so I will have to take him to a farm (I cant have roosters). I have about 4 feeding stations laid out when they range and 2 in the coop. There are plenty of hideouts in the yard and in the coop, the babies will hide in the nesting box. My coop is about 10 feet long and 3 feet deep.. and maybe 4 feet high. I don't have a run bc of my dog. She would just destroy it. So the chickens just range all day unless Im not home.
     
  7. Sneaky Chicken

    Sneaky Chicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 12, 2016
    The Garden State
    Sometimes it breaks my heart to watch the younger ones have to wait or get pecked/chased away.

    But youre so right.. it is SUCH a reality show!!! [​IMG]
     
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    On the MN prairie.

    Believe me - it bothers you way more than it does them. They are chickens and are used to how chicken society works.
     
    1 person likes this.

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