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About pecking order

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by tarragon, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. tarragon

    tarragon Chirping

    Mar 3, 2011
    Bothell, WA
    This is my first flock. I have 2 barred rocks, 2 red stars, that are 11 weeks old. I am wondering a few things about pecking order.

    1. If there is a rooster, do the girls still have a top girl?

    2. When do they form the order?

    3. Are you able to tell the order?

    I can't see any signs of a pecking order in my little flock. I have one BR that may not be a pullet, but it does not seem to act roo-ish. One of the girls I know will not be top girl because I'm not sure she's smart enough to know there is such a thing. So far they just all hang out together all the time, take turns sounding alerts when they are free ranging, no squabbles over food. They have good "team spirit".

  2. karimw

    karimw Songster

    Apr 7, 2010
    Eastern IA
    They start very young working out the order of dominance. At 11 weeks you should have seen plenty of little squabbles by now. If you don't have roosters it may not be as dramatic, but I've seen pullets flare up their neck feathers and face off in a disagreement. Usually one or the other will duck their head and submit pretty quickly. You may not be able to see who is boss except when you offer treats, then the top of the order will typically get in their first. Once they establish the order it should stay stable unless you add or subtract flock members. My guess is your little group got it figured out pretty early on and now that everyone knows their place it is peaceful [​IMG]

    These little guys are pretty serious about it!
  3. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I agree. They will establish a pecking order and there is usually an alpha pullet or hen even if you have a roo. Sometimes it isn't really obvious. My chicks start when they are about a month old. They will chest bump. When they are a couple of weeks old they don't do the chest bump yet but will run at each other. I love to watch them.
  4. Grand-hen-ma

    Grand-hen-ma Songster

    Apr 25, 2010
    Hudson Florida
    I was worried my girls would fight with the newer ones so I sectioned off a smaller part of the run and put the newbies in there. They could see the other girls and share food and water. I decided it was time to introduce everyone so I opened the door to the smaller section and tossed in a few handfuls of fresh fruit, veggies and cat food. I gently herded everyone together, into the smaller run, then closed the door. I cleaned the run, changed water and refilled food bins then reopened the large run. Everyone came out and have been fine. Once in a while someone will get a bit loud but for the most part, they all get along. I know I was lucky but I find if you keep things calm and speak gently, there is very little stress.

    Good luck
  5. MommaOrp

    MommaOrp Chirping

    Jun 6, 2011
    Derbyshire, England
    i have many roo's and hens all different ages who are running together free range and there forever squabbling about whose top dog. Its not nice however, on the several occasions, when i've had to resuce a beaten up roo whose had one to many squabbles in the bid for alpha male. I'm in the process of penning up for breeding so things will settle down. There is usually an alpha female hen even in the presence of roo's. My alpha hen is a blue orp named murtle, shes always getting her hair off at newcomers and even her closest companions but mostly the younger roo's who try to tread her, she's a real feisty one!! Even my little chicks beat on one another, its quite funny at that age though!
  6. flowergirl60

    flowergirl60 Songster

    Feb 13, 2011
    Austin Tx
    Sounds like you have a nice flock. Lucky you.

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