Do Rhode Island Reds Get Along With Other Chickens
Yes, Rhode Island Reds can get along with other chicken varieties very smoothly. Many people have happy mixed flocks that include Rhode Island Reds.
But also… no, maybe not
Rhode Island Reds are known for their feisty demeanor, especially when younger than one year old. Some poultry farmers report that their Rhode Island Reds do not play very well with others– they may pull out their feathers or peck other birds, sometimes even causing serious injury.
Stressed and Depressed
Usually, this type of bullying and fighting in a chicken flock is the result of stress or pressure on the entire flock. Some birds, like Rhode Island Reds, seem to have less tolerance to outside stress than others. While it may seem like they are bullies, it’s probably a cry for help.
It is crucial for the physical and psychological health of the flock to offer enough space. Err on the side of more space, as long as you can make it predator-proof. Giving ample leg room allows lower tolerance birds like Rhode Island Reds a peaceful environment while allowing more timid birds spaces to retreat. It’s a win-win.
It’s important to understand bird psychology, or you may try to think of your flock too much like you think of humans. Flocking birds, like chickens, do need to establish a pecking order or social hierarchy. Maybe no one in your flock is being mean; maybe they are just participating in normal chicken culture by establishing leadership in the pecking order.
Food & Feeder Space
The fastest recipe for disaster in your flock is creating too much competition for food and resources. Not only do your birds need an adequate and balanced diet, they also need enough space at the feeders for everyone to access feed at the same time.
Timid birds go hungry and assertive birds overeat when there is not enough feeder space. If they feel they must compete for basic needs, all the birds suffer, and they may turn on each other. This is also true for water– clean fresh water must be available to all birds at all times, or they will fight for survival.
Queen Bee Complex
It may be a personality conflict. If you find one or a few individuals are more likely to cause trouble, it may not be due to their variety, but their personality.
Birds are individuals with wide differences in personality, even within the same variety. While there are some Rhode Island Red hens who rise to the top of the pecking order, other hens may do the same. Even age can play a role in determining who becomes the flock matriarch.
Rhode Island Red roosters also have a reputation for their antics. They are often lively and protective of their hens. Just like hens, though, roosters have individual personalities, and your Rhode Island Red rooster may end up being docile as a lamb.
Assertive. Not Aggressive
Overall, Rhode Island Reds are probably best described as assertive rather than aggressive. If you treat your birds well and give them everything they need, they tend to get along with everyone.