Birds separated for a while, new pecking order behavior. Please read all of it.


8 Years
Mar 25, 2015
So, I have a flock of 15 birds; 13 hens and 2 roosters. I have two 4-year-old Barred Rock hens, four 2-year-old White Leghorn hens, and then nine 25-week-old birds, 3 Partridge Rock and 4 Light Brahma hens, and 2 Light Brahma roosters. At first, the pecking order was by age, the younger birds at the bottom with my larger rooster the dominant one over the smaller, more submissive one. I recently brought 4 of the new hens (2 PR and 2 LB) and the dominant rooster to show at the fair. They were there for 4 days. I just brought them home today, and they seem to be resorting the pecking order. My dominant roo easily took over from the submissive one, like before, but I saw him fighting with one of my Barred Rocks and two of my Leghorns. Not sure who won though. When I left, he was crowing. Not sure if that means he won, because he did it before I brought him to the fair too.

Do they even remember each other? Treating each other like new birds? How should I expect it to turn out, the way it was before, or my dominant rooster in charge? I've only done this with hens before, and nothing has ever changed.
They are probably asserting their dominance and reminding everyone where they belonged. Do you quarantine them after being at the fair? I would be afraid of bringing home diseases.
Of course they remember each other. They catalog up to 100 different faces of their own species as well as others, including us humans and dogs and cats, and they remember these faces for a year or longer.

The pecking order is a very fluid thing, always changing, and especially so when there are environmental stressors such as your flock experienced with the four being at the fair for several days.

Oldhen is astute to point out the need for quarantine after your chickens were exposed to other humans and chickens at the fair.

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