Establising Pecking Order

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by FloridaChickenChick, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. FloridaChickenChick

    FloridaChickenChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have to laugh at my 2 week old EE and 1 week old wyandotte...this one little wyandotte is convinced that the sun rises and sets on her. So she and Janice (EE) have been doing the chest butting thing all morning. Hysterical!

    But on the whole pecking order thing, I've noticed the girls sort of pecking on each other in a very tentative way...like "what will you do if I do this? Ok, what if I do this HERE?" Is this just them starting to work things out amongst themselves?

    How will it work with Amy in a separate brooder (visible to them)? When she's ready to go back will it be like introducting an entirely new chick?
     
  2. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Leesville, SC
    But on the whole pecking order thing, I've noticed the girls sort of pecking on each other in a very tentative way...like "what will you do if I do this? Ok, what if I do this HERE?" Is this just them starting to work things out amongst themselves?

    "Sampling" has to do with pecking order, yes. But it has another more sinister element. It uncovers weakness.
    Chickens peck at everything that catches their attention, mostly to test for edibilty. This pecking is instinctive and extends to members of the flock, where it appears to our sensibilties as play or teasing.
    But, when a chick is weaker than the others, it cannot defend itself against this and soon is picked on, sometimes mercilessly. In advanced cases, it can lead to the death of the "pickee." I was shocked the first time I saw them kill... and then eat, one of their own this way. Probably why you never hear me call them 'babies.' Buggers or devils, yes - babies, no.

    How will it work with Amy in a separate brooder (visible to them)? When she's ready to go back will it be like introducting an entirely new chick?

    Not an entirely a new one, no. But close to it. The physical bond between them will have to be (re)established and this is done through - you guessed it -pecking.​
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 19, 2008
  3. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

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    Nature is fascinating. Mine have been chest bumping since about 2 weeks old - maybe even before that, but I really started noticing it at 2 weeks. They pretty much just bump and then run. But the little runt I have doesn't put up with it. She doesn't run. When she gets bumped she pecks the crap out of the bumper. I guess she's letting them know she may be little, but she's tough enough to handle them. Fortunately, none of mine seem to be getting picked on - but they all get pecked on! And they peck on me all the time.

    They can seem really mean to each other and it's hard not to intervene. But I agree with Elderoo - it's nature and they need to work it out. Although I would probably still rescue one being picked on excessively. I just couldn't stand to let them hurt each like that. I hope I never have to deal with it......
     
  4. Mom 2em All

    Mom 2em All Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Southeast Michigan
    Of mine, I had seven that picked on the others mercilessly- they were like a chicken gang-so they were moved out of the brooder and into the yard at 2 1/2 weeks with the three older chicks. (older by about a month). My chicken yard is completely closed off with 1/4 inch hardware cloth, except two sides-which is my outer house walls. I kept close watch, made sure they knew where food and water was. I also have a heat lamp in the coop, and made sure at night or foul weather that they knew where to go.
    They were then the ones that were picked at. It has been a couple weeks now, and pecking order is established by the two groups. The only chest-butting that goes on is between two of those seven now.
     
  5. FloridaChickenChick

    FloridaChickenChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been watching them all very closely because of Amy's tail incident. No one else appears to be having any problems. This is nothing excessive, I just wanted to make sure that's what it is and not something abnormal...still learning my way around these little birdies!

    I don't really see probing for weakness as "sinister", and I don't think that it makes my babies buggers or devils any more than poopy diapers make a human baby a bugger or devil. Baby chickens peck, baby people poop diapers.

    Now, if there was any hope of toilet training the chicks, I'd be one happy woman!
     
  6. cthrash1

    cthrash1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Somerset, KY
    I have a frizzle and of course it can't fly up onto the top of the feeder bottle so it grabs everyone else by the tail who sits on it and pulls them off...Like it's letting them know if he/she can't get up there then they can't either...It's so funny.
     
  7. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

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    Now, if there was any hope of toilet training the chicks, I'd be one happy woman!

    Much as I hate to say it, there is - well, sort of.
    Theyre called "chicken diapers" and some people actually use thm on their birds. I know, it's hard to believe, but it's true.
    Talk about sinister.​
     
  8. FloridaChickenChick

    FloridaChickenChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG] Elderroo, we are in TOTAL agreement about the chicken diapers. [​IMG] I baby my babies but uh uh, no way, they ain't living in my house! (Well, maybe if one was really sick...)

    Anyway, teaching a parent to change diapers does not equal potty trained children!

    I was thinking about your first message on the way home and wanted to tell you that even though I don't find pecking sinister, I might have different feelings after watching cannibal chicks, so I can understand why you used that word. Although I still like peacocks after a flock of them ran off with our fried chicken lunch at DeLeon Springs one afternoon. That was ODD! [​IMG]
     

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