Chicken Politics

RedDrgn

Anachronistic Anomaly
9 Years
May 11, 2011
1,318
93
211
West Virginia
My Coop
My Coop
Prior to adding a rooster to the flock, I couldn't have even taken an educated guess at what our flock's pecking order was. After adding the roo (2 months ago), the extreme ends of the pecking order became very clear within about a week: The roo was #1 (of course) and his co-commander was our wellie hen. Our BA was the bottom as she got pecked by the wellie more often, tended to stay at the rear of the flock's movements, and was easily pushed away from a treat by any other flock member.

Over the past month, though, our BA has attached herself to the roo (and the roo accepts as she is his favorite by a long shot). However, she' still seems to be at the bottom of the pecking order and is frequently bullied by the wellie. Last night, I saw our BR have a go at her, too! She never pecks anyone else, though, and if anyone tries to give her more than just one peck, the roo intervenes and ends the disagreement immediately.

But I thought the roos favorite was usually the #1 hen...or at least not the least link in the chain of command?
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chicmom

Dances with Chickens
10 Years
Feb 24, 2009
8,696
294
316
Strasburg Ohio
I have a similiar situation. I have a wonderful Buckey rooster, and his favorite lady is my EE hen. This EE is very shy, often going off alone or staying in the background, but she's his favorite, and her back feathers are very messy looking--the feathers look worn off.

She's clearly his favorite, but she doesn't even stay with him much. So your observation is correct. The head hen isn't always the roo's favorite. Mine likes my little wallflower hen the best too.
 

RedDrgn

Anachronistic Anomaly
9 Years
May 11, 2011
1,318
93
211
West Virginia
My Coop
My Coop
I have a similiar situation. I have a wonderful Buckey rooster, and his favorite lady is my EE hen. This EE is very shy, often going off alone or staying in the background, but she's his favorite, and her back feathers are very messy looking--the feathers look worn off.

She's clearly his favorite, but she doesn't even stay with him much. So your observation is correct. The head hen isn't always the roo's favorite. Mine likes my little wallflower hen the best too.

Maybe our guys just like shy girls.
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Yeah, our BA's feathers are a mess. The back of her head is bald (but no skin damage) and her back is a fluffy nightmare because of the broken feathers. Thankfully, it's a long way from being bare, but our doesn't even have spurs yet.
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I'd worry more about her looking like a rumpled feather pillow, but it doesn't seem to bother her and I've caught her running up to him and squatting in front of him without him "asking" for it at least a dozen times now...so she's not THAT shy and apparently knows what she wants when she wants it!
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Happy Chooks

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Jul 9, 2009
40,417
3,577
626
Northern CA
My Coop
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My roosters favorites are usually the girls in the middle of the pecking order. Not the top of the pecking order. They do protect their girls from the higher ranking hens though (like by roosting between them and the higher girls). And they don't allow fighting between the hens either.
 

Den in Penn

Songster
8 Years
Dec 15, 2011
3,418
217
216
SE Pa.
Protection is the name of the game for some. My EE is in the lower ranks and she is always around the rooster or by herself. She was the first one to have a messed up back. When she is with the rooster none of the others pick on her. When she is one or two she can get pecked.
 

RedDrgn

Anachronistic Anomaly
9 Years
May 11, 2011
1,318
93
211
West Virginia
My Coop
My Coop
Protection is the name of the game for some. My EE is in the lower ranks and she is always around the rooster or by herself. She was the first one to have a messed up back. When she is with the rooster none of the others pick on her. When she is one or two she can get pecked.

I think that you may have nailed it with our flock, because my DH got home several hours early yesterday and witnessed some behavior we had not seen before; our BR beating the crap out of our BA....going out of her way to chase and chase and chase her until she caught her and pecked the back of her head (HARD and as many times as she could).

When we got the roo, our wellie was quick to put all of the other hens in their place, but she wasn't brutal about. Our BR has never displayed an aggressive tendency ever, and we're out with our birds every evening and a majority of weekends days. So my DH said it was nuts in the run with these two running like idiots and our poor roo running after them (breaking them up when he could catch them and crowing and bagoking his head off in between).

...and here we thought the bald spot on the back of the BA head was solely our roo's fault. So he removed the BR from the flock and put her in the quarantine/time out crate in the garage. How long should we leave her there? Does a pecking order reset usually work for aggressive hens? We've been talking about trying out some meat birds, but she's had me so mad last night that I was thinking she might be pretty tasty herself.
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