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Lap-time Affects Pecking Order?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

We have pretty cuddly girls-- 10 in all, some more tame and affectionate than others. Due to some recent injuries, there's been a bit of turbulence in the ladies' hierarchy lately. I'm noticing that the more I hold certain chickens (even ones that don't really want to be held in the first place), the higher they ascend in the pecking order. I know we humans sometimes take the place of a rooster for a flock of hens, thus, our attention becomes a resource, of sorts. Do others with mellow lap chickens notice the same thing? If I have a certain girl who is having a bit of trouble way down at the bottom of the pecking order... do you think holding her more and treating her a bit like a queen will inspire the others to respect her more? Interested to hear your thoughts... Has anyone else managed some bullying with "rooster" favoritism?

post #2 of 7
Yes just leave them alone for a while and let them duke it out as soon as they do thing will get back to order.
post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickensDance View Post

We have pretty cuddly girls-- 10 in all, some more tame and affectionate than others. Due to some recent injuries, there's been a bit of turbulence in the ladies' hierarchy lately. I'm noticing that the more I hold certain chickens (even ones that don't really want to be held in the first place), the higher they ascend in the pecking order. I know we humans sometimes take the place of a rooster for a flock of hens, thus, our attention becomes a resource, of sorts. Do others with mellow lap chickens notice the same thing? If I have a certain girl who is having a bit of trouble way down at the bottom of the pecking order... do you think holding her more and treating her a bit like a queen will inspire the others to respect her more? Interested to hear your thoughts... Has anyone else managed some bullying with "rooster" favoritism?

I like this theory and am very interested to see what others have to say. smile.png

Throw me to the wolves, and I'll come back. Leading the pack.....

 

~ Jeremiah 29:11 ~ 

 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

 

*~*Jennifer*~*

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Throw me to the wolves, and I'll come back. Leading the pack.....

 

~ Jeremiah 29:11 ~ 

 "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

 

*~*Jennifer*~*

Reply
post #4 of 7

Well, someone always has to be the Omega. I guess you could try to see if you could change that, but then it would simply be another hen at the bottom. I'm not seeing the point?

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm all for letting them "duke it out," and, having had a backyard flock for ten years now, I understand that some birds are simply gonna live at the bottom of the totem pole, that's just the way flocks work. But there's been a change lately, and my current bottom-ranked girl has gone from simply being the lowest member of the pecking order to being quite severely picked on and beat up. She doesn't have aspirations to be in charge, but it would be nice for her to get her feathers back-- she's going bald! And I don't want her to get hurt. If she were afforded a bit more respect, maybe she'd be left alone, content to be the lowly omega who stays out of trouble and at least lives in peace. I wonder if holding her a lot, talking to her and giving her special treats in my lap, would encourage the others see her in a bit of a different light. I propose this because I feel like I may have unwittingly changed the pecking order in the past when I "picked favorites" and then noticed that those "favored" birds rose in the ranks!


Edited by ChickensDance - 5/10/16 at 11:14pm
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickensDance View Post
 

I'm all for letting them "duke it out," and, having had a backyard flock for ten years now, I understand that some birds are simply gonna live at the bottom of the totem pole, that's just the way flocks work. But there's been a change lately, and my current bottom-ranked girl has gone from simply being the lowest member of the pecking order to being quite severely picked on and beat up. She doesn't have aspirations to be in charge, but it would be nice for her to get her feathers back-- she's going bald! And I don't want her to get hurt. If she were afforded a bit more respect, maybe she'd be left alone, content to be the lowly omega who stays out of trouble and at least lives in peace. I wonder if holding her a lot, talking to her and giving her special treats in my lap, would encourage the others see her in a bit of a different light. I propose this because I feel like I may have unwittingly changed the pecking order in the past when I "picked favorites" and then noticed that those "favored" birds rose in the ranks!

Try it and see, interesting theory and experiment for a seasoned keeper....I would be curious to know your results and observations.

 

It could be that the low girl is ill and the others are trying to eliminate a weak link. 

 

I've also read a couple stories where isolating a beaten down low bird for a few days gives her a chance to heal, recoup and she comes back out with confidence restored.

Course isolating and reintegrating a single low bird can also go the opposite way.

 

ETA: I don't hold/handle my chooks much, but when I do....I have had the held chook attacked upon putting her down.


Edited by aart - 5/11/16 at 10:10am

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #7 of 7
@ChickensDance you might be on to something. Let us know if holding your lower on the pecking order girl changes anything.

I've noticed that as long as none of the others see me put one back on the ground, there isn't a problem. If they do see, they will sometimes attack. That's especially true if they see me put a higher-order girl back on the ground. I haven't paid attention to their reaction to me just holding any one of them. I'll definitely see what happens now.

My lap can become like a game of musical chairs. The highest bird in the pecking order ends up with first choice of position. They take turns chasing one another off until they are situated in order. The lowest won't even attempt to sit on me unless none of the other girls are around.
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