Pecking Order Behavior Help needed

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chickchat, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. chickchat

    chickchat Hatching

    Apr 18, 2010
    Hello there. I have 3 chickens, a year and 3 months old, all raised together (Americauna, Rhode Island Red, and Black Australorpe). There has never been an apparent pecking order. They have a large coop with a sheltered perch area 2 perches--but they all use the top perch), as well as a run, but spend most of their day free-ranging (eating my garden!). Their personalities are all very different, but I have never witnessed any of them assert dominance--they seemed like a happy family. Early this week I heard a ruckus in the evening in their coop, thought perhaps a raccoon had entered. The Americauna, Chirper, was attacking the Australorp, Chiquita (not just pecking her but biting/grabbing her wing feathers with her beak.) The Australorp was clearly upset; I let her out, she roamed a bit, re-entered and things seemed normal. The next day they all, seemingly equitably, roamed the yard. Well, tonight was a repeat--this time she pecked and took out some chest feathers. The Australorpe was really upset. The strange thing is that they are all still on the perch together. I assume this is pecking order stuff but am not sure why just now when it hasn't been a problem in the past, and, most importantly, what can I do about it? Advice would be much appreciated! Thank you.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2010
  2. math ace

    math ace Crowing

    Dec 17, 2009
    Jacksonville, FL
    Sounds more serious than pecking order. My 3 months all that should of been established already - - - so if there have been no changes - - additions or deletions to the flock - - - it sounds like something more than pecking order.

    Here is your bump - - let's see what others have to say [​IMG]
  3. SmittenChicken

    SmittenChicken Songster

    Apr 23, 2010
    I don't really have any experience with this, but here's another *bump* hoping someone else will chime in.

    I've heard that birds can start feather-picking when they aren't getting enough protein, could this be stemming from a dietary deficiency? You might try giving them some canned catfood, tuna or salmon a couple times a week to see if that helps. What kind of feed are you using? If you're using a soy-based feed you might consider using one that contains animal protein, I've seen other posts where that's done the trick.

    Good luck, hope you figure it out!

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