do hens always have a pecking order?

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
8,844
10,980
636
western South Dakota
I have eight hens, and I think I have the perfect number for my space, because I did have nine, and they seem happier now. There does not appear to be a pecking order. I go in at night, and different hens are on the top roost. They do not chase each other away from feed, and I have seldom seen them peck at each other. If I let them out to range, they spread out into 3 groups, but the make up of the group changes back and forth.

I know many of you have had the problems associated with pecking orders, so I was wondering if I am just lucky, just have the right number and space, or just am not recognizing it?

mk
 

Imp

All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle
11 Years
Sep 7, 2008
14,453
175
318
The Emerald City
My Coop
My Coop
I only have 4 hens, one is an outsider, but I can't see any pecking order among the other 3. I think among healthy, happy, well adjusted hens the pecking order is sometimes subtle.

Imp
 

math ace

Crowing
10 Years
Dec 17, 2009
6,678
124
296
Jacksonville, FL
Having appropriate space for the hens makes a big difference.

Mine do not get nasty about the pecking order. There are 15 chickens together. I provide a feeder big enough that everybody can eat at one time and I provide two separate waters. The roost is long enough that they all sleep on the same roost.

I do have a few that I can tell are at the bottom of the pecking order and a couple that are at the top.
Everybody else is somewhere in the middle.
 
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gritsar

Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
13 Years
Nov 9, 2007
28,906
316
661
SW Arkansas
As Imp said, a good working pecking order can be very subtle. Mine were kind of funny tonight. The all roosted with their like colors, lights all lined up, then the buffs, then the darks. Birds of a feather really do flock together.
 

chookchick

Songster
11 Years
Aug 18, 2008
1,921
77
216
Olympia WA
I bet if you watched them long enough, you could make out the pecking order. Often my alpha hens will just give the others "the look" and that is enough. But I am curious how much space (coop and run) you now have for your eight hens? Mine get along great, but in classic BYC form, I would love to add a couple more.....
 

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