I grew up around chickens so I know that every time you add to the flock, the chickens must re-establish the pecking order (the social hierarchy for chickens). You know, who’s the boss and who’s definitely not. It’s like any group situation.
Several weeks ago, we expanded our flock. First we added a little adopted Banty hen named Chick Chick. We kept her separate from our lone 3-year-old hen, Helen, while completing appropriate housing.
When the new coop was ready, we purchased a 3-month-old Rhode Island Red pullet (Red). After giving the 2 new arrivals a night alone in the coop, we added our Helen to the mix. We saw a little bullying, but no injuries and the bullying was definitely not constant. So far, so good. Over the next week, we added a 3-month Black Australorp (Cleo) and a 1-year-old Light Sussex (Oreo). Still calmish.
Yesterday was a lovely day and I was unwillingly Unwired so I took the opportunity to skip about the yard, joyfully inspecting my Queendom and even sowing a few seeds. Along the way I began to notice a flap in the coop. It sounded bad. Miss Oreo was on the war path and this was a new development. Up until then, I had not seen her bother anyone. Helen had been the only aggressor. I guess Oreo must have become comfortable in her new home and the poor little girls were catching it good! A few minutes later, Oreo went off to scratch about and Helen replaced her in tormenting the pullets.
There have been no visible injuries nor has the bullying been constant. The pullets are eating and drinking, though the big girls will run them off the food and water when the mood strikes. So, I am left questioning. At what point should we separate them? Should we add a second feed and water station? Or should we just let them work it through as long as there are no injuries and the pullets are able to eat and drink?
What do you think?