Pecking order in flocks

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bills, Feb 23, 2008.

  1. bills

    bills Chillin' With My Peeps

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    vancouver island
    I was told by a fellow who was raised on a chicken farm, about how the birds establish a pecking order. He claimed that the "head" chicken always roosts to the far left, with the lesser birds to the right of it. (this is with you facing the roost) If you have a two leval roost, some of the lesser birds will roost on the lower level. I got to see the behavior last evening, when the birds were going to roost, and have to believe he knows what he was talking about.

    Four of the birds were on the roost, and getting settled for the night. Two of them stayed in the run till almost dark, before heading in. When they tried to get up the ladder to the roost, there was quite a fuss, Some of the birds were on the roost directly above the ladder, and when the other two tired to get up on the roost, I suppose in the wrong order, the fun began. The birds on the roost kept pecking at the birds trying to get up, until they finally managed to walk there way down the dropping board and get on the roost. Something was still wrong in the line up, and one bird kept trying to climb over the backs of the others to get in it's proper position. The others all settled but this one bird got all antsy, and was chattering away. I finally picked her up, and moved it over two birds to the left, who begrudgingly made room. Once she was in that spot, they all settled right down, and went to sleep.

    The thing that suprises me the most is, the smallest bird of the flock is the head bird. I do notice though that it is the most people friendly, and bravest of the bunch. She always comes right over to me when I'm cleaning the coop, and picks at my boots, and generally stays under me. If I hold out a cutworm, or a caterpiller, she's the first to come over and grab it. First out into the run in the morning, and first to go back into the hen house at night. I guess size dosen't matter to chickens, it's all about attitude.[​IMG]

    Funny as heck, these little things that make up the social life of a chickens ..[​IMG]
     
  2. sunnysidecluckers

    sunnysidecluckers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hmmmm. I am going to have the check the coop tonight and see who is where!! Very interesting!!!!!
     
  3. Ericasl

    Ericasl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 21, 2008
    The Dalles OR
    Wow, that is so true!! I have only had my hens a week and last night I was in the barn at dusk and the hens were getting ready for bed haahah and my lead hen was the first to roost on the higher perch and she was the only on on that perch. All the others were on lower ones, and Judy my top hen was all they way over to the left she could not have got anymore left then what she was.

    She is also not the largest hen I have, but she runs the show, first one out and in the coop. They all seem to follow her lead. I just happened to be watching them and noticed last night when I read your post!! Learn somthing everyday!! Do your hens lay about the same time or is it alway different?? I have very late layers not till like 4 or 5 in the evening?? I thought they layed in the AM but I do not know much about that!
     
  4. bills

    bills Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I discovered another egg today while I was stirring up the chips. My third one layed on the floor. I hope there isn't others buried in the chips.[​IMG] At this point it appears only one bird is laying, as they are only 19 weeks approx.,and I have no idea when this bird lays. From what I have read the ISA Browns are early layers, but time will tell I guess.

    I put a box on the floor with some hay in it, hoping that the layer, may use it. So far the raised nest boxes, even with a golf ball in them, are being ignored.[​IMG]

    It is funny how they establish the pecking order, isn't it.[​IMG] The left end of my roost is actually cut off about a foot before the wall. I keep a bag of chips stored there. I guess the lead hen dosen't want another bird to get left of her, so she actually sleeps on the top of the bag of chips, to make sure of that.

    Anybody else observe this behaviour?
     
  5. Ericasl

    Ericasl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 21, 2008
    The Dalles OR
    hi I was just outside checking my girls, We put up some more perches and extended the yard today!! We are getting some more hens tommorow(here goes my pecking order). But my lead hen was the closest to the left again that is the way it seems to be working with my hens! All our snow is melting and we have lots of mud and muck and my hens love it walk all over in it play in the puddles it is crazy and they have a nice dry coop and they are out in the mud!?!!?Looking for worms! hahah
     
  6. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

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    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Quote:This doesn't hold true with my flocks.

    The lead hen always takes a position beside the rooster, but it varies from night to night where on the perch they roost.
     
  7. hensdeliverthegoods

    hensdeliverthegoods Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 18, 2007
    Catawba County, NC
    That's just how my new chickens were this evening. What a trip...[​IMG]
     

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