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Broody hens losing place in the pecking order?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by zebal, Oct 2, 2015.

  1. zebal

    zebal In the Brooder

    Sep 15, 2015
    At the moment some of my bantams are broody--2 silkies, a Dutch, and Mille de Fleur. Before getting broody I introduced about 10 4-week old chicks to my current flock of 10. Many were the same size as my full grown Dutch. I noticed she was more of a heifer than the other chickens in bullying the new chicks. I thought she just had to make more of a show because of how small she was. Now after being broody and sitting on eggs she cannot stay in the run long before getting pecked by someone--often looks like payback from the new crew of chicks.

    Same for my gray silkie (even before getting new chicks), the moment she comes out the look around in the run she gets shooed back in the coop like the others are saying "get back on your eggs where you belong you momma." as though being a momma isn't the popular thing. The black silkie has been on eggs and has not seen the run from what have observed and Mille de Fleur I have seen in the run enough but did not have much issues with getting pecked on. Although I can tell she acted a bit different because she would not chase treats like she used to. Almost like she knew she was "out of the game" of the pecking order and did not want to break the rules by eating treats first.

    So basically does being broody just put hens on the lowest spot of the totem pole? Wanting to be a mom and being isolated from the other ladies just breed contempt and drama to where they lose their place or something?

    Just feels like a little chicken soap opera. I call it "All My Chicks".
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015

  2. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I understand what you're talking about, but I've interpreted my flock's reaction to broodies presence among them differently.

    Broody hens are crabby, single-minded, and annoying to the rest of the flock. When they indulge in a demonstration of pique, they get it back in kind. However, once the hormones dissipate and the broody is back to her normal self, I've never seen her have any pecking order issues when she re-enters the flock.

    Quite the opposite is even apparent when the broody has chicks. The flock is usually respectful.
    1 person likes this.
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    I agree with azygous, and also think that a broody hens change in demeanor may cause the others to regard her as 'off' or a stranger.

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