How do u know your chickens pecking order

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chiefslogan, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. chiefslogan

    chiefslogan In the Brooder

    Dec 23, 2012
    How do u know your chickens pecking order. By that I mean which hen is the boss, and which is the one on the bottom of the totem pole.

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Observation. After a while you can see who mostly pecks others and who mostly gets pecked, or runs from an attack. Sometimes the ones on the lower end are not allowed to eat as often, or when a "top" hen wants to eat.
  3. Nutcase

    Nutcase Songster

    Dec 2, 2012
    My Coop
    It's quite easy working out the various ranks and who slots in where - I find observing my chickens therapeutic in a way
    1 person likes this.
  4. cary 1973

    cary 1973 Songster

    oh ya I have 4 chickens my Lilly is top no one ? her at all you see they know she is boss but my Pheonix is second in comand both are leg horns and then my bo Cherrios in next in line and my poor little bit is at the bottom they used ot pic on her relentlessly (one reason she will not lay egg in coop but only in my room when i am there as she know i wont let anyone mess with her) they were really bad with her but i steped in and cut that right out by when it came to treat time littel bit i put on my lap she always gets treats first and when i throw out treats if any of them chased her off I would pick them up and let her back in and they would have to wait till she was done so she is still at bottom of pecking order but the ones on top know I will NOT put up with them bulling her.
  5. Nutcase

    Nutcase Songster

    Dec 2, 2012
    My Coop
    Same here Cary, sounds like you have a similar pecking order and bully issues too!
  6. PaulaSB12

    PaulaSB12 Songster

    Dec 6, 2010
    Watching the order they eat in the smallest of the hybrids is boss and the smallest of th silkies is second. One evening one of the other hens went into the coop first and the boss made sure she got out so she could go in first. Mind you the funniest thing and I wish I had my phone to take a picture was opening the back to count them, my cream legbar wasn't perching in her usual place. No she decided a nice feather pillow was wanted so she was asleep on te backs of the buff orpingtons!
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2012
  7. Spikes Chooks

    Spikes Chooks Songster

    Sep 10, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    If it's hard to tell - and that is a good thing! - then they are not cramped for space or ruled by a bully. I can only tell by who does things first. Of my four chickens and over 4 months I've had them I have only seen pecking twice. And believe me, I spend hours watching them!!!

    Maybe you are like me - I think I am lucky to have a dominant chicken who is bold, authoritative but not at all aggressive. She is the first to try everything. The other 3 wait for her to do/try something before they do. The second one is always right behind her - and the only one I see pecking the others. The top chook steps in if it goes too far. She just stands in the way and the second tier chook defers to her.

    The pecking order does not always mean you see aggressive and nasty behaviour. If it is subtle, as in my little flock of four, you can pick up signals . And be very happy you have such a good group. IMHO a sign that your dominant one is a really nice chicken, with no nastiness in her. That's a great thing

  8. RhodeIslandRedFan

    RhodeIslandRedFan Songster

    Dec 10, 2009
    Central PA
    Well said :)
  9. spotsplus

    spotsplus Songster

    Sep 29, 2008
    Franklin, MA
    My Rhode Island Red girls are the boss with the oldest of the three being "top boss". The ones that are less dominant get out of the way of the more dominant and if they dont' get out of thier way they may be chased or pecked or have a feather or two yanked. One way I can tell the pecking order is the order they come out of the coop in the morning- although "Rukia" my D'Anvers young hen always tries to sneak through the middle of the pack and she's at the bottom of the totem pole in my 16 hen flock.
  10. dirtsaver

    dirtsaver Songster

    Mar 20, 2010
    Northern Kentucky
    When we had a mixed flock it was really easy to see the pecking order. The Australorps were the top dogs and always had the top two roost poles .All the others found a place where they could. The Aussies always ate first,got treats first and the others stepped aside when they passed.

    Now that we have an all Buff Brahma flock it's not so easy. About the only sign you see is that Blondie and Speckles,our first Brahmas always eat first and go to roost first,taking the top"window seat" roost. The younger girls and Henpecked(our roo)fall in behind them. Other than that,the eating and roosting seems to vary day to day.

    Spike stated it very well that no drama is a good thing in the henhouse!

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