Normal pecking order issues or a problem?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by meganne79, Apr 26, 2017.

  1. meganne79

    meganne79 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 8, 2017
    Good evening! I'll preface this by saying this is my first flock since I was a kid so I'm basically new to chickens!

    This chick is a 7 week old australorp, not sure if it's a pullet or a cockerel yet. I noticed this red spot on its face today and am wondering if it's getting picked at. It's hard to tell in the pic but I feel like its face is redder and scraggly looking too. Last night I found him sleeping on the bar beneath all 15 of his same age buddies and tonight the other 15 are again in a warm pile while this one is 6" away alone. And it's chilly out. It's making me sad!

    Does that seem like normal pecking order dynamics or are they possibly sensing something wrong with this chick? I feel terrible for it. I haven't noticed any significant fighting between any of the birds though I do have a couple cockerels that can stir up the birds but it's usually over quick.

    Unfortunately we have a house sitter coming soon that isn't super comfortable with them and it's supposed to be in the low 20s at night. Should I separate this guy/girl and give it some heat or just let it be? Maybe it's normal but it seems way cold to be roosting alone. Thanks so much for any advice!

  2. Chicken Girl1

    Chicken Girl1 Queen of the Coop

    Mar 3, 2015
    Unless that red spot is tender, raw, or bleeding I don't think there is any problem with it. Also the Australorp does appear to be a pullet. Is there anymore room for this girl rooster with the rest?
    1 person likes this.
  3. meganne79

    meganne79 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 8, 2017

    Thank you so much for replying! I'm glad to hear it may be ok and that she's a pullet, I like her a great deal. I do have room to keep her, though I sure hope they start being nicer to her :( it's so sad to see them exclude her from warmth!

    Do you know if I should expect her to always be the odd one out?
  4. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Don't worry. The pecking order, while sometimes brutal, is fluid. The one at the bottom won't always be there.

    If your pullet, and that's what your little Australorp is, is behaving normally, is active, is eating and pooping, not standing around on the outskirts holding her tail down, it's not likely there's anything wrong with her other than she may be timid and the others are being hard on her because of it.

    You would learn more about her relationship with her peers by spending some time observing the flock. There is a normal amount of chasing and pecking to be expected. You'll know if this little one is being bullied to the extent she is chased away from food and water, cornered by more than one bully, and otherwise prevented from having any peace at all. If that's the case, you will probably need to intervene. Otherwise, things usually sort themselves out, and she should be fine.

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