Alpha Hen?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ddmiddle7, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. ddmiddle7

    ddmiddle7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2011
    Indianapolis, IN
    Hey there! I have what may be a silly question, but I understand chickens establish a pecking order. My question is...How do I know what the order is? Is there a way to tell? I can't even figure out which one of my hens is the Leader... I know it isn't that big of a deal but I was kinda curious just so I know.

    Anything I can do is particular to find out?

  2. Lollipop

    Lollipop Chillin' With My Peeps

    The only way to tell is by observation. Pull up a chair or a bucket and observe..........Pop
  3. wenlo

    wenlo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 27, 2010
    Usually, she's the first one to eat or defend against a threat. She will display dominance over the other hens by head pecking or mounting should the others get uppity and she may even attempt to crow, which sounds pretty pathetic. My girls in general are pretty well behaved, it would be hard to tell without observation, but if you spend enough time with them you will see, not only who is first, but second and so on.
  4. N&MSchroeder

    N&MSchroeder Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2011
    SE Idaho
    Hi! Sometimes it is difficult to tell. From what I have observed, once the alpha hen has established herself, she doesn't have to exhibit dominant behavior, the others just know who is in charge. This is often very subtle and it sometimes comes as a surprise when you find out who the alpha hen actually is. I find most of the action comes from the middle of the group. They are still trying to establish their order. Here are my observations:

    The top hens will roost on the highest perch. My head hen makes it to the top of the door frame.
    The top hen will be able to move any other chicken out of their way, whether it be out of a prime spot on the perch or a perfectly prepared place on the ground.
    She can also move others out of her way if she decides that she prefers to eat from the other side of the feeder. [​IMG] This is usually accomplished with forward movement and no pecking.

    Like Lollipop wrote, pull up a chair and watch. You will see her. [​IMG]
  5. wrldlygrrl

    wrldlygrrl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2011
    Decatur, GA
    I knew who was dominant when she pecked the heck out of me while I was trying to move one of her "sisters" into a carrying case for a vet appointment!
  6. ddmiddle7

    ddmiddle7 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2011
    Indianapolis, IN
    Yeah, I have had them for 10 weeks now, and have been watching them everyday since...I believe I know which one is in charge (one of my two EEs). They always seem to be the first to the food and they both seem to be pretty protective. I guess I just need to tell the wife that I need to spend MORE time with the chickens, so I can figure all this out....LOL that should go over well....thanks for the advice.

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