pecking order on the roost

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chookin, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. chookin

    chookin Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 14, 2013
    I have 3x 2yr old hens and 2x 6m old pullets who have just started laying. The pullets have been with the flock for a few months now and were always getting picked on by the older ones as I was expecting. Within the last week or so, the pullets are no longer getting pecked at. I'm thinking it is because they have started laying.

    Anyway, the roost in my coop is about 2m long and is the only one in there. the 3 older hens would always roost at one end (closest to the door) and the pullets at the far other end. Well tonight when I checked on them, there were 2 of the older hens in 'their' spot and the other older hen was snuggled up with the pullets at the other end. The one that changed positions was the one I thought was 'top hen'.

    Did the pullets move up to 2nd and 3rd spot? or was the one who moved not really #1?

    I know on a roost that has multi levels, the top spot really is the top spot, but what about a roost that is the same level throughout?
     
  2. Beekissed

    Beekissed True BYC Addict

    Top spot is wherever the top bird roosts on all one level roosts and pullets that have started laying become more assertive than they used to be at that time...they sort of gain rank. I've noticed over the years that any bird that is actively laying will usually outrank a bird that is not currently laying and younger, more fertile hens will outrank older ones and the bigger of those will outrank the smaller of the group.

    I'm not sure why or how they determine these things but I think it is an instinctual thing that is built in for flocks that have a rooster. I think this keeps his fertile, producing flock members near him more and they seem to have a little more bonding at that time, though he will also seem to pick out the bigger, more attractive hens of all those young and producing and that may be a survival of the fittest thing as well. This insures that his best females are under his close watch and it seems to increase their whole love thing they have going when they roost near one another.

    It's kind of sad but I've watched over the years as former queens were outranked by younger and more freshly fertile pullets, but I've also noticed that when the whole flock has slowed down on laying for winter or for molt, the old favorite hens will gain rank once again. It's an ebb and flow sort of thing that I'm constantly watching and observing over the years.
     
  3. chookin

    chookin Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 14, 2013
    Thanks. It's interesting to know and observe
     
  4. GPowell

    GPowell Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 17, 2014
    Eastern North Carolina
    I have 3 roosting bars set at all the same height. I was wanting to add 1 more roost bar and I think I might make it a bit higher and maybe make another one a little lower. I was under the assumption that if they were all the same height everyone would feel equal. Great post Thanx
     

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