Our 6 hens live in a 6 x 14 tractor coop and get along marvelously. I let them out in the morning and again in the evening. I really try to give them 2 - 4 hours of free range time a day. More on the weekends when I am home working in the backyard. I spend a lot of time observing them in and out of the coop, but have a question for my own knowledge. When I let them out, the first few minutes they all run around and have stand offs. They bump chests and their neck feathers stand up like they are going to tangle with each other. They never actually fight. Its a very short lived stand off, but they all do it, and just go from bird to bird repeating it. Its not one hen starting it. It's all of them, doing this to all of them. WHY do they do this? If they can tolerate each other in a confined pen, why all the drama under an unlimited sky ? Even when I drop treats into their confined coop, they are very cordial of each other. The first two minutes outside is the most aggressive I ever see them. I'm not worried about the hens...I'm curious for my own knowledge. Is it just the excitement of being "free" or are they actually accomplishing something with this behavior? I see pecking order being played out in the hen house when they roost, but it's still pretty respectful overall. Just wondering why they go momentarily spastic when I swing the door open to the outside world? I do not have a rooster if that is at all relevant to my question. After a few minutes, they mellow, and move around as a pack looking for insects and such.