Did I mess up the pecking order?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by silentrunning, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. silentrunning

    silentrunning Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2009
    Venice, Florida
    Last Saturday I got rid of our 3 roosters that were about 3 months old. I kept the 3 pullets the same age. The roosters were always the agressive ones and picked on the younger chicks ( 8 young pullets about 6 weeks old). All the chickens freerange together and I never had trouble with the pullets, only the roosters. Now the older hens are picking on the younger ones and doing it agressively. I have had to seperate them in the yard for the last 2 days. Did I upset the balance by getting rid of the roosters? Will the older hens quit messing with the younger ones once they all reach the same size? Any insight will be appreciated.

  2. chickensioux

    chickensioux Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2009
    Western North Carolina
    You altered the pecking order and they are reestablishing it. Most altercations look worse than they are. Just keep a close eye on them and they should do fine.
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:I agree.
  4. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I agree with the other posts. They are re-establishing their pecking order. The older ones will be bullies. How old are your hens? My hens were about 1 1/2 yrs old when I first put my 16 week pullets in the yard to let them range together. I put plenty of treats out so that hopefully they would be more interested in the treats than killing each other. I had two hens that were exceptionally aggressive. I separated them for another month but they were in adjacent runs so they could see each other. There are pictures on my BYC Page.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2009
  5. Jennie5193

    Jennie5193 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2009
    South East TN
    I don't know if this is helpful at all, but I've noticed that my "head rooster" keeps the peace.

    If any of the hens (or one of the other two roosters) squawks because it is getting pecked on, he'll run over and put an end to the dispute. The flock does have its pecking order, but Spider Catcher keeps an eye on it. I have a frizzle bantam pullet that is in the pen and the older RIR hens will mercilessly peck at her if he is not around, but if she yells just right, he will "rescue" her and the hens will leave her alone.

    So, yes, it may be that your roosters were keeping the girls in line. [​IMG] Just a thought... I could be wrong though.

    I introduced a new hen (Balli) to my flock not too long ago. Of course there was the usual sparring that they have to do to estabilsh the pecking order, but Spider Catcher seemed to keep a close eye on it and if Balli got too aggressive he would jump in and pull her off of whoever she was going at. As soon as she would "learn her place" he would leave her alone.... until the next time. Interestingly enough, though, if one of "his" girls started messing with Balli, he would watch, but not intervene. It was almost as if he was making sure she was on the bottom of the pecking order... where she still is.

    Those chickens are *way* smarter than I ever knew. LOL

    Good luck! I hope you don't have to keep them separated for too long!

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