Can molting change the pecking order?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Petra Pancake, Nov 9, 2016.

  1. Petra Pancake

    Petra Pancake Chillin' With My Peeps

    My oldest (about 1.5 - 2 years) and most dominant hen (Mad-Eye "The Mean") has gone through a rather hard molt in recent weeks. When the molt began, she lost her bossy behavior and fighting spirit within a day or two. Now the feathers are almost all grown back, but she still is kind of meek and mellow and has clearly dropped to rank number two in her three hen group and she might drop even down to rank number three if she doesn't get her act together. Not that it really matters, but has anyone experienced something similar? Should I be worried? Just curious.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Anything can change the pecking order.
    Molting birds feel like crap and can't hold their place in the order like when they feel good.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Hi there Petra Pancake

    In our flock moulting, broodiness and hormones can cause them to become antsy and pick on each other at times but on the whole, they get along fine.

    Just the last couple of weeks, for no particular reason, bottom of the pecking order has decided that she wants up and has been picking fights with those above her; she managed to demote one and has the other one hiding in the coop [​IMG]

    My advice, give them lots of room and unless blood is drawn, leave them to it, they should work it out.

    They are probably just taking advantage of the fact that she had a mopey moult.

    Having said that, chickens are great at hiding illness from us but not their flock mates who will exploit it. Keep a close eye on the one that is being bullied for any health issues.
    1 person likes this.

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