Can you influence the pecking order?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ridgefire, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. ridgefire

    ridgefire Songster

    Jan 8, 2008
    Northern Michigan
    Ok my brain was working overtime tonight. I was locking the coop up for the night. The birds were all settled in their respective spots on the roosts. I noticed that they slept pretty much in their pecking order, Penny (buff orpington) alpha hen, was in her top spot, followed by the roo. The rest were pretty much in the pecking order.

    Poor Eeyore (White Leg horn) who is the bottom of the order wasn't even allowed on the same roost as the rest.

    So again my brain working hard here, smoke rolling out the ears and everything.

    What if I took Eeyore and put her up top and moved Penny down to Eeyore's roost. Again while they are settled and wont put up a fuss about being picked up.

    What would happen in the morning?

    If I kept doing this every night would Eeyore some how move up in the world?
  2. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    Hmmmm.... I see a very carefully controlled scientific experiment here.... anyone need a 4-H project?? [​IMG]

    Give it a try and let us know what happens....
  3. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Songster

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    I don't think that would do anything. I know that if you remove the alpha for awhile, then reintroduce them, that will knock them down on the totem pole.
  4. mtnhomechick

    mtnhomechick Songster

    Jun 27, 2008
    Mountain Home, AR
    I had a red star that seemed to have nowhere to go at bedtime tonight. All the others were perched and the star seemed lost and it was dark except for the light in the coup. I finally just picked her up and put her in the middle of the perch. I turned the light out and stood outside by the window. All was quiet. I don't know if I can change the order but she got a place to sleep tonight ( I think ) [​IMG]
  5. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    My grandma thought that a ladder style perching system made the pecking worse. (where some perches are higher than others)

    She had lots of perches all at the same level.

    I agree with my grandma, but I haven't ever studied it.
  6. mtnhomechick

    mtnhomechick Songster

    Jun 27, 2008
    Mountain Home, AR
    Quote:I agree with your grandma too.
  7. Ugly Cowboy

    Ugly Cowboy Songster

    Apr 25, 2008
    Corn, OK
    Quote:I agree with your grandma too.

    Same here.
  8. ridgefire

    ridgefire Songster

    Jan 8, 2008
    Northern Michigan
    Here's my other thought in this. Do we unwittingly influence them by protecting the lower level birds from being picked on?

    Just curious to see others thoughts on it, by us being over protective are we changing their order?
  9. tomstephens

    tomstephens Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Charlotte NC
    A while ago, I was adding some pullets to our flock and one of our girls, Meg, was being particularly brutal. I gathered all the new girls and Meg into a small area. Everytime Meg pecked or tried to peck one of the new girls I gave her a light tap on the beak.

    I did this over and over until she stopped attack them.

    I don't know that it impacted the pecking order really but it did drastically reduce the amount of pecking that was happening to the new girls.
  10. ChixFlix

    ChixFlix In the Brooder

    May 13, 2008
    Lake Worth, FL
    I have one hen who sleeps in the nests; she doesn't even try to get on the perch.

    Remarkably, I don't think she is the last in the pecking order.

    I have 5 "top bananas" I call the Heathers. They are so mean, like old-fashioned nasty school-marms.

    The other birds just literally bow down and take the pecking - and all they were doing was picking grass! The Heather will come over and just start asserting herself.

    It's a wonderment. Amazing what you can learn from chickens.

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