Chicken behaviors, pecking order, etc....

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ccabal, Nov 9, 2013.

  1. ccabal

    ccabal In the Brooder

    Aug 1, 2013
    Here are my chickens. I took a picture of them while sleeping tonight. The black one is named "Black Beauty", and she's a black sex-link. The one next to her is an Americauna (Stinkerpot). Then next to her I think is a Rhode Island Red (Goldie) , and next to her a white EasterEgger (Angel)

    We got them all when they were tiny chicks this spring. BlackBeauty and Stinkerpot started laying the past two weeks, but Goldie and Angel have not yet.

    Being a newbie, I just wanted to understand their pecking order, and some behaviors I see. They have gotten along real well since they were babies, although as they got older I would see some chest bumping and other "stand-offs", which are hilarious. But I think BlackBeauty has emerged as the dominant one. She is the biggest hen. and she has the biggest red wattle/comb.

    What is strange is that she does not seem to like Angel very much. I have noticed recently that Angel avoids her as much as she can, and BlackBeauty sometimes pecks her, and she just runs away and squacks. BlackBeauty doesn't seem to mind the other chickens at all and they aren't scared of her, but when Angel gets to close, she will peck at her and scare her off.
    Is this normal that the alpha hen would tolerate some hens and dislike others? Angel gets along with the other hens without any problems and they are nice to her too.

    Looking forward to hearing what you guys think.

    Last edited: Nov 9, 2013

  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I know there are sure some people I'd like to peck sometimes [​IMG] I'm sure chickens are the same. If I had a little less social inhibitions, I might chase them around some, too [​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  3. ccabal

    ccabal In the Brooder

    Aug 1, 2013
  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011

    Some chickens just don't like each other, personality/temperament clash. In cases like this I sometimes wonder, ie if it is because Beauty sees Angel as the biggest threat to her position as top bird and wants to make very sure Angel stays properly cowed. The other thing that makes me wonder is because Angel is solid white and the others are black/brown colored, I swear some of mine like/dislike birds of certain feather colors.
  5. ccabal

    ccabal In the Brooder

    Aug 1, 2013
    Thanks Kelsie for the interesting reply.

    So I might have a "racist" chicken? Oh no!!

  6. jtakacs

    jtakacs In the Brooder

    Oct 21, 2013
    I put two 2.5 yos in with two 4 month olds.

    The barred rock immediately set the pecking order. I now have the boss, the I could GAF (she's an awesome americauana) and two gold sex lunks that are on the bottom, one in particular.

    Mostly they get along but the fat old one will chase the youngins off the treat... I make sure they get some.

    The pecking order has been fun to watch. So far I think I'm lucky that the bitchy one doesn't peck more than to just move them out of her way.
  7. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Kelsie has pretty much nailed it. Black sees something in the attitude of Angel that tells her she may challenge her for rank at some point, and she's making sure she keeps the upper hand, so to speak. You may not be able to see it, but Black can. The others that are "tolerated", have given no indication to Black that they may be challenging the pecking order and thus are safe.

    Pecking order is a very fluid thing. I've seen the most dominant, bullying, belligerent hen go from being the alpha and most feared to the lowest and most picked on. This one hen of whom I speak, Irene, a flawless Golden Wyandotte, was a lot like the little girl Nelly on Little House on the Prairie. Now I tell her, "How the mighty have fallen!" when she gets sniped and pecked and chased.

    It may just be coincidental, but Irene had a brief bout of being a feather picker and had to wear pinless peepers for a while. Her rank started to be challenged, and when the peepers came off, she has been on the receiving end of aggression ever since.

    Chickens have such different personalities, just like people, it's only natural that there are clashes, whether they're from being the "wrong" color, age, or temperament.
  8. Sandstorm495

    Sandstorm495 Songster

    Dec 2, 2012
    Darwin, Australia
    The pecking order is completely natural to chickens. There is always one hen who will emerge dominant in the end, and that hen will keep the other hens in submission to it. There will always be a couple of fights, but generally once the pecking order is established, the hens know where they stand and won't be so aggressive. Hope this clears things up a bit!

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