I've been trying to research and watch videos on chicken behavior but am not finding my exact answers, so any help would be appreciated. We've never had chickens before and we have 15 hens that are 5 months old, we've had them a week so I know they are still settling in.
The first question is about pecking behavior, I know chickens have a hierarchy, and will peck each other, but when is it too much? There are a few of the bigger ones, about three, that are mean. They always bother hens that try to sit down, they come stand on them/scratch them/peck them, etc. There are also two that get into scuffles quite often, I thought maybe they were roosters since they were prancing around and fluffing up at each other and everyone, but I'm still pretty sure they are hens, just acting more like roosters.
They definitely make it harder for the less developed hens. None of them are losing feathers that I can tell, just lots of pecking/squawking.
Is all of that okay, just leave them to settle things on their own?
We have gotten 5 random eggs while they were in the chicken tractor, and I was trying to figure out which one was laying, and noticed some sitting/scratching and wondered if they were laying, but maybe they were just trying to dustbathe? I didn't know if they were trying to lay because the meaner ones make them move and then sniff around/scratch where they were laying? If some were trying to lay out in the grass I wanted to pick them up and put them in the nesting boxes (which they haven't used yet).
Do you all provide sand/dust for dust bathing? They haven't scratched all the ground up yet in their run so maybe I should add sand?
Thanks for the help!