Alpha female

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by xcop, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. xcop

    xcop Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 5 Plymouth Barred Rock chickens who will be 23 weeks old next week. They are not laying yet. The largest one with the reddest face has just recently been chasing and pecking the other girls. Not enough to cause injury and only occasionally. Is this normal to establish dominance or is it something else?
     
  2. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is normal for hens to give an occasional peck and to get in little squabbles here and there. Typical pecking order behavior to sort out who is "top lady." You say the one with the reddest face. Does this bird also have larger combs and wattles? Chasing hens is also typical roo behavior. Not saying it is a roo, just another possibility.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
  3. xcop

    xcop Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes the comb and wattles are redder but she certainly doesn't look like a rooster. I should know by the time they reach this age, no?
     
  4. xcop

    xcop Out Of The Brooder

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    She is also the first to bully me when she doesn't get what she believes are enough treats
     
  5. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, you should. Especially with the single comb breeds. A roo's comb would be considerably larger than a female's. If the bird's comb is just redder and not much larger, you most likely have a pullet getting pretty close to laying. Sounds like they're figuring out who's boss. (And you too! [​IMG])
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
  6. xcop

    xcop Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks...I am a first time chicken owner facing my first winter. Perhaps it was stress-related as I brought in an electric steel water heater that looks like a UFO to them I suppose (let's hope the woman who sold it to me is right when she says this one is okay with a plastic water fount!) Perhaps she was frightened. Or maybe it's my stress which they are picking up! Heat lamp? Or no heat lamp? Straw? Or no straw? It's so confusing and I do worry! You are quite right - they have been sitting down recently and then standing up and investigating the nest boxes. Silly me I have 5 of them, not knowing at the start that they share! Pretty sure she's a hen. And quite the diva!!
     
  7. BeachMomma

    BeachMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They don't need heat lamps, they have built in feather blankets lol. They'll huddle together to keep warm. The biggest winter issue is to make sure there's proper ventilation.

    Make sure your top hen knows that you're the boss/rooster so later down the road she really doesn't get mean with you. Good luck [​IMG]
     
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    They can get pretty moody as they approach the point of lay so she's close, they will settle down again afterwards. No heat is required for chickens, keep a good layer of bedding, block prevailing winds, good ventilation, no drafts, unfrozen water, proper roosts good food with some scratch, especially in the afternoon to generate internal heat from digestion during the night.
     
  9. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like it! As the others said, no heat lamp is necessary. oldhenlikesdogs gave you a good checklist for prepping for winter. Learn as you go, try not to over-think things, and most importantly, enjoy your birds and have fun!
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
  10. xcop

    xcop Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks everyone! I have been relying on the advice of someone here for months and he has been spot on every time! I cannot thank him enough. I panicked a little this morning when I noticed some ice in the water fount and immediately changed it. I am in Ontario, Canada and it does get cold. I always give them a treat before they go to bed and now I worry they are too fat! I do have a heat lamp and it's nice to know it's there if I need it. I will avoid it whenever necessary. I just hope the water heater if okay with the plastic fount. It's supposed to be and cost me a fortune! I suspect they will lay in the Spring - it gets darker every day. The Diva has already schooled my Bull Mastiff pup with one stab to his nose through the wire! Needless to say, he now avoids them. She has also stabbed me a few times and loudly complained when the treats are gone....I have created a monster! Lol!
     

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