how long will it take for them to figure out the pecking order

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by stone_family3, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. stone_family3

    stone_family3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,926
    23
    163
    Apr 11, 2011
    Ohio
    I have spent days correctimg Mei (17 week barred cross) she has been picking on Luna (3 month white cochin). Phoebe another 3 month old stood up to Mei, but Luna will not. How long before Mei figures out she is being bad?
     
  2. so lucky

    so lucky Chillin' With My Peeps

    470
    4
    111
    Jan 31, 2011
    SE Missouri
    I don't think you can influence the pecking order the way you are wanting to. They are not being bad, just being chickens. And the pecking order is changeable. Illness, additions, deaths, many things will affect the order. If you can provide a place for the little chicken to get away from the big one, and make sure they are getting enough food, you may just have to let nature take it's course. I said you can't influence the pecking order, but some very observant chicken keepers say the more you mess with and try to protect the low girl, the more she will be picked on. The chickens do notice if you coddle one of them. So be careful you don't make the problem last longer than it needs to.
     
  3. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    28,907
    119
    408
    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:Agreed. The pecking order should be up and running well by age six weeks or so. It starts getting sorted out from day one together in the brooder. The thing is, it's best to let them sort it out. No blood being drawn? Leave them to handle it.
     
  4. stone_family3

    stone_family3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,926
    23
    163
    Apr 11, 2011
    Ohio
    Well the problem is none of these chicks were raised together, I got Mei and Bruno first (Bruno was rehomed due to being very mean). Then I got the three chicks (who are still in a cage in the coop) and finally I got Luna and Phoebe.

    I do spend time out there about 2-3 hours a day so I know Luna is eating and drinking. Today she got mad at me because I forced her outside to eat the treats with the other girls. Luna is very shy and timid around the other chickens and seems to get along the best with our rabbit and me.
     
  5. CarolynF

    CarolynF Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,306
    143
    216
    May 11, 2011
    Puget Sound
    My Coop
    I recently added a 12 week girl to my other older 2. At first I put up a fence within the run so she would be close and visible, but she had her own food and water. Within a few days she really seemed to want to be with the others, and managed to escape at night to join them in the coop. When I let her in with the others during the day they were pretty rough on her, but no actual injuries. But she seemed MORE distressed to be fenced off. It bothered me enough I took a friend's suggestion and got a spray bottle. When I was around and the older girls got too brutal I squirted them. They'd scurry off. Of course they would repeat the process later, but it made me feel better and gave her a short respite. I also put a big plastic box (a recycle box) in one corner that she could dart behind, too. She used it, but not too often. After 3 weeks I took it out. She's still at the bottom of the pecking order and gives a wide berth to the older ones, especially when food is involved!

    Good Luck!
     
  6. stone_family3

    stone_family3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,926
    23
    163
    Apr 11, 2011
    Ohio
    Thanks, I'll try that.
     
  7. Help_battery_hens

    Help_battery_hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    183
    9
    93
    May 24, 2011
    Northamptonshire
    have you thought about keeping her as a house chicken if she doesnt like being with other chickens. you can always give the dominant hen a time out
     
  8. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    65,304
    13,491
    786
    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    She won't figure out she's being 'bad' because she's only being normal. The pecking order is an integral of poultry dynamics and is never 'figured out'. It is an everchanging process where those on the bottom are continually hoping to improve their position. Lower ranked hens and roosters are continually on the look out for weakness in those above them. Those on top are continually reinforcing their dominance. It's the way that it is--normal.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by