We bought two new Black rock chickens on 5th December 2011 and introduced them into the coop at night, fortunately when the other two had gone to bed. The next day, it wasn’t take long before a pecking order had been established with the two older ones at the top and the two newer ones at the bottom.
I thought that it would be only a matter of time before they all got on as one happy family but four weeks on, that doesn’t seem to have been the case. From reading about it on Internet, it seems that a pecking order is essential in a flock and each chicken needs to know its place. The bullying in our flock is not that bad – just an odd peck on passing sometimes preceded by a running attack but they can all get to the food eventually.
Some web sites talk about separating the biggest bully from the others and then reintroducing them after a period of time – possibly as long as a month. When they are reintroduced they apparently consider themselves to be the new chicken and at the bottom of the pecking order.
If they were moulting and being pecked enough to draw blood, that would warrant some sort of action but I think for the time being I will leave them to sort themselves out. In the meantime, I’m off to hang up some cabbage leaves and possibly a CD or two to distract them and keep them entertained.
P.S. The chickens showed absolutely no interest in the CD but loved the “pecking at cabbage hanging from a peg” game. Looked for all the world like some manic children’s party.