Pecking Behavior

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by capebird, Aug 17, 2011.

  1. capebird

    capebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2011
    Cape Cod
    My 4 barred rocks are now 14 weeks old. Last week we had 5.... but one
    was killed by one of the other 4 at night. Since they were young (I've had them since a
    couple of days old) there's always been the chest bumping thing and pecking order
    activity. But lately it seems to be getting really rough.... and thus the murder
    in the coop. My question is.... does this die down after a while.... are they
    at a stage (14 weeks old now) where the pecking thing is at a final stage to
    establish dominance? I don't think it's a boredom thing... or being cramped.
    the coop is 20 square feet and their run is 8 x 12.... so almost 100 square feet.
    The other thing I noticed is when I look at them in the run... there is really no
    chest bumping to speak of.... it only seems to be intense when I let them out
    of the run for a little free ranging... it really gets wild then..I try and break them
    up with my small rake (my shepherd's pole)....

    any help here would really be appreciated. Thanks.
  2. suki'smom

    suki'smom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2011
    Central Wisconsin
    Mine always go nuts when let out to free range.
  3. Mommy 2 Wee Ones

    Mommy 2 Wee Ones Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2011
    North Texas
    My BR have always been more of the bullies. Mine are 16 weeks & would pick on the 3 - 14 weeks old & 2 - 12 week old pullets from time to time, now the BO are the ones who pick on the younger ones.

    The 5 younger stay away from the older 10. I notice in the coop, the younger 5 put themselves to bed early in the roost. But they are all huddled on one corner, and our roo places himself between the younger 5 & older 9. But everyone is still huddled on one side of the shelf. I plan to build another roost on the other wall of the coop, to see if I can get the younger 5 to roost there.

    My run is about a 10 x 10, and everyone has their own area, the 5 like to hang out in the coop. I use to see the older ones chest bump from time to time, and will see the younger 5 do it on occasion.

    Do you have a rooster? My older 9 like to lay down with the roo during the afternoon, he does seem to keep the picking/pecking at a minimum. How are they at feeding time, is there any fighting?
  4. capebird

    capebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2011
    Cape Cod
    thanks for the replies. No... don't have a rooster. Not sure I'd want one
    with the noise and special permit needed here.... but I have read about the
    benefits of having one. I'm really trying to get a feel if this pecking activity,
    the aggressive behavior, is just a temporary thing. I just don't get why it's so
    active when I let them out of the run into the yard.... like kids on the playground,
    all would up.
  5. Jloeffler

    Jloeffler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 22, 2011
    Northeast NC
    I'm glad you posted this. Mine are twenty weeks old and one hen in particular has begun pecking another hen enough to draw blood and chasing several others. She is a BO. I cleaned up the bleeding hen and released her back. I thought at first the roo was doing it as he has been getting impatient with the girls to "group" since the only laying hen went broody and is sitting on eggs. Could this be a pecking order change as they prepare to lay? Combs have begun sprouting and reddening as well on all the hens.

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