Can pecking order change?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by deweyprimjosiedelilah, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. deweyprimjosiedelilah

    deweyprimjosiedelilah In the Brooder

    Aug 15, 2011
    As older chicks, the pecking order of our flock of four hens was very apparent. Lately, however, it's not so clear. The pullets are now 16 weeks old. The old "alpha" is now very sweet and another hen seems to be the bossy one. Is it possible for the pecking order to change this late?
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011

  2. GuineaLady93

    GuineaLady93 Songster

    Aug 7, 2011
    Cameron, NC
    My Coop
    I'm not sure about chickens but the pecking order changed with my guineas...probably can with chickens too.
  3. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member 9 Years

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    The pecking order is a constantly changing condition. Everyone on the bottom is plotting as to how to make their way to the top. This is why chickens react so quickly to weakness real or perceived.
  4. wood&feathers

    wood&feathers Songster

    Dec 22, 2009
    E. KY
    Yes. Pecking order can change at any time for a great many reasons. If the boss hen gets sick, or goes broody and "leaves" the flock for a while, losing one flock member for any reason...

    Pecking order is part of what makes "chicken TV" fascinating. It is a soap opera.

  5. Amethyste

    Amethyste For Love of Boo... is in a constant state of flux.

    The chickens are constantly trying to jockey around for position to get better food/roosts any sign of weakness at all makes the bird fair game to the others.
  6. deweyprimjosiedelilah

    deweyprimjosiedelilah In the Brooder

    Aug 15, 2011
    Thanks! I heard somewhere that the pecking order is set from the first week of their lives together. Apparently that source was wrong! This explains a lot [​IMG]
  7. Jeffross1968

    Jeffross1968 Songster

    May 14, 2011
    Smoky Mountains
    Quote:Well, pecking order can 'begin' to start occurring that early, but it just never ends after that. As said before, it's a constantly evolving thing. Any time a chicken gets ill, or new chickens are introduced, or many other things, there is a shake up. Sometimes it can be a little rough to watch...

  8. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

    Aug 13, 2007
    North/Central Florida
    The pecking order is seldom stable for long if there is any size to the flock at all. Sometimes it changes slowly as new birds grow up or older, dominant ones age and grow weaker. Some times it can change in the blink of an eye if lower birds realize a dominant bird is now sick or injured.

    I have an EE cockerel just now about six months old. He's a pretty boy but mean as all get out (to other birds). I had another rooster knock himself senseless on the side of the roost house not long ago and the EE jumped him then and there and really began tearing him up. This made me mad because he did this as I was reaching to pick the injured one up so I gave him a swift kick which slammed him into the fence and he fell down stunned. Three other roosters jumped him on the spot and I had to go rescue him too!

    It seems to have changed the pecking order though as I now watch two younger cockerels that he used to torment daily chase him up the Time Out tree every morning.

    Temperament is one of the qualities I select for so he's shipping out this weekend.
  9. CKC Coop

    CKC Coop In the Brooder

    Oct 18, 2014
    Haha, I just told someone today the same thing. It is high drama, just like a soap opera!!!

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