A flock with no pecking order?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Adalida, Oct 16, 2016.

  1. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I see a lot of threads where people talk about their flock's pecking order. I watch my chickens a lot, and I can't figure out what their pecking order is. I completely understand the concept, but I just don't see it in my flock. I see it with the ducks-my bossy Rouen is definitely in charge, she even pushes the drake around, and there's definitely a hierarchy among the ducks. But the chickens all coexist happily and except for chasing whoever found a worm, there's never squabbling. I've tried to figure out who is the dominant chicken by watching how they behave with treats, but it varies depending on what the treat is and how much they like it. Does everybody's flock have a pecking order except for mine?
     
  2. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Hi there Adalida

    Our flock has a pecking order .. we 5 x bantams, one is definitely the matriarch, we have a 2IC and a number 3, 4 and 5.

    Having said that, while no-one messes with the matriarch she does not do much of the flock management and this is left to the 2IC.

    Currently, #3 picks on #4 but not #5. #4 picks on #5 but #5 picks on #3 .. no one picks on #1 and #2

    So we have the two top hens and three wannabe’s [​IMG]
     
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    There will be a pecking order, but I'd suggest that in your case, the whole flock knows their place and does not challenge a higher ranking hen. I have had alpha hens that were not overtly assertive, and I would doubt that another person would have been able to tell who the alpha hen was, apart from myself.

    Hierarchies can be linear, i.e. top - down, but also some hens can be higher ranking than a sub-group of the flock, whilst not being an alpha hen.

    It seems that you have a peaceful flock, and thats a blessing.
     
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  4. tmarsh83

    tmarsh83 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think Ken nailed it. It's there, but the dynamic in your flock may just not make it visible.

    Are you really curious? Try integrating birds.

    When I had just three, a leghorn and two barred rocks, I was certain the leghorn was the boss. She was here the longest and when the BR were added, a now extricated Ancona was picking on them mercilessly, while the leghorn didn't pile on, she certainly asserted her place as well. Once the Ancona was gone, it seemed the leghorn took over as the boss.

    Until it was time to introduce new chicks to the flock. The crooked combed BR got her hackles up, (quite literally) and let everyone know she was ramrodding this outfit, even the cochin roo who was twice her size stood apart from her until a couple months ago, and there were some pretty serious domestic disputes about that change in ranking.

    The two BRs are now the alpha hens. The leghorn has basically taken over as their toadie, and the other ten hens have a remarkably (mostly) breed segregated structure from there down, but the roo has control over the whole mess.

    Pecking order is always in a state of flux at some level, but if you don't have birds challenging it, it is probably going to look like avian panacea, in reality, you just have birds that know their place.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Exactly!


    This too!^^^^
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Absolutely agree with the others who've commented. Chicken society is very well organized and every chicken knows the unwritten rules. What differs is individual temperament. You have a flock with benign temperaments.

    You would probably see a little conflict if you were to add a few of a breed known for assertive temperaments, such as Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds.
     
  7. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    You have pecking order...It just is subtle....Congrats your flock is running like a well oiled machine...My Birds are great also...little subgroups of buddy birds...

    So nice without issues...

    Cheers!
     
  8. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I did pick out all breeds known for good temperaments- that was my main priority when choosing chickens. I've been watching them this morning, mainly cause I'm curious who is the alpha hen. Still can't figure it out though! Not that it really matters, I'm glad they're harmonious.
     
  9. tmarsh83

    tmarsh83 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The other good time to watch them is when they start to roost.

    Who gets set first? Does someone move another bird out of their spot? Who wanders looking for a spot where they aren't pecked at?

    Out and about, my birds are tough to figure, when roosting time comes, you can see the top and bottom of the order on FULL display...
     
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  10. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    My two Top Pullets are my EEs....It is subtle but they do boss the others away...They chase my small Yorkie around, she is my Chicken wrangler when its time to go back to the coop after free ranging...Anyways...So glad to hear your flock is happy....I also have all docile breeds this year and I could not be happier with the ladies and my Rooster....

    Cheers!
     

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