Last Sunday I got rid of the 3 cockerls, two of them bein the top 2 "dogs"...so now the 4 girls left (pullets), and a new pullet I added, are trying to figure out who's boss...but is getting old!!! lol How long does it take more less?
I agree. My seven hens get along very well, but they still will 'challenge' for the top position. Just tonight, Roxanne, one of my barred rocks, started pecking and pulling on the other chickens on the roost. I separated her, but she went right back and started being nasty to the others again. I pushed her off the roost, picked her up, and took her inside the house with me for awhile. I always do this when one gets mean to the others at bedtime. It really cools their jets. They are very used to being handled and held, so it's not traumatic; it just kind of puts them in their place. When I put her back, she sat far away from the others and behaved. During the day if they do that, I pick up the one being mean and carry her around for awhile, sometimes just sitting with them on my lap. I always stroke them and talk sweetly to them, because I don't want them to be afraid of me. I know this 'pecking order' thing is natural and will happen even when I'm not around, but I can't stand it happening in front of me!
As long as there is no blood and everyone is eating, nesting etc... it's best to let it sort itself out. Once it's firmly established things will settle down and that pecking order will likely stay in place until the top hen dies off. It's tough to watch but a part of what chickens do in their social system. A few missing feathers is not that big of a deal. I will say that a stern voice from me will often cool off a cranky hen, but then again our matron hen "Connie" is for the most part able to use her voices and the occasional peck or two to keep everyone in their place. She's actually very very patient and tolerant the majority of the time.
the pecking order isnt a "phase" its a lifestyle for these critters. one will give in and one will take over, its natural. EXCEPT when theres no where to run. thats when birds are pecked to death. Its a hard lesson to learn, and i know it from experience. always give them somewhere to run to!
It must always sort itself out.....unless there is blood.. Then all bets are off! I always had different stages of coops for awhile, before I could introduce new "blood to the fold" Beware.......and wait..... it will only save your chickens. Its best when they can live side by side, watching and seeing day by day. The established hens are always brutal!
i agree to the side by side route. i do that these days and never have any problems anymore. the BEST way to go is have a broody hatch your chicks and they'll be accepted by the flock pretty much on day one. nothing better than a week old chick running around doin whatever it wants in a flock of 20 birds.
Actually the new girl lived next to them in a cage for a few days before intruduction. She keeps her distance and they really don't pay atention to her unles she makes a sudden move....the "problem" is with the "big girls". There is no blood or really pecking...they just all seem to want to be the boss since the roos left and there is a lot of "heads high in the sky, neck feather puffed up, chest bumping and running/chasing". I actually find it funny, just wondering if things willl calm down a bit soon so they can actually enjoy free ranging (usually happens more often while free ranging for some reason....)