Pecking order questions

Henry&Friends

Songster
May 6, 2018
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Integrating birds into an established flock causes mayhem in the pecking order. Whether you’re adding one lonely hen, or combining whole flocks, an addition to your flock brings changes to your chickens lives.

I’ve added hens and have had hens leave. Hens who are added seem to start from the bottom, and fight their way up the order. But when hens and roosters are removed from the flock, I’ve noticed a lack of the bickering, bullying and general mayhem that occurs when a new face is around.

If you take a hen out for a prolonged period of time, then add them back into the flock, they start from the bottom again.

why does an addition to the flock cause such an uproar, when a removal goes seemingly unnoticed?
 

Shadrach

Roosterist
Jul 31, 2018
10,013
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Catalonia, Spain
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If you take a hen out for a prolonged period of time, then add them back into the flock, they start from the bottom again.
I don't think this is so. At least it hasn't been my experience and some thought and observation might prove differently.
If a hen here goes to sit on a clutch of eggs away from her tribes coop, she may not encounter members of her tribe for three or four weeks. It may take up to three months in total before such a hen returns to her tribe with her chicks. None of the hens I've had do this lost there place in the hierarchy. This isn't a view taken from one or two instances. In ten years of having broody hens sit and hatch away from their tribe, not once has a hen returned and been relegated to lowest rank.
The removal or loss of a tribe or flock member is something that happens in the normal course of events in chicken life. Predation and progeny leaving a group are two examples.
In the 'natural' course of events strange chickens do not just turn up and move in. It's the unnatural introduction that causes the problem of hierarchy changes. It's not something chickens deal with without human intervention in general.
There have been a very few occasions here when a hen has moved to a different group but it's been by invitation.
 

Peepsi

Songster
Apr 1, 2017
439
1,504
222
Utah
[QUOTE="Henry&Friends"

why does an addition to the flock cause such an uproar, when a removal goes seemingly unnoticed?[/QUOTE]

Because an addition is another drain on the flock's resources, while a removal means more resources for the flock. More resources equals a greater chance of survival, so there is no fuss in the flock.

Adding another chicken means less resources (including space) to the flock, so additions are infinitely more stessful to the flock as a whole, which affects pecking order.
 

Soy Milano

Chirping
Jun 19, 2017
153
172
94
When you take a child out of school for a couple weeks, do the children care very much? Not really. But when they come back to school after being out, do the other kids sometimes give them a hard time and do they have to try to catch up on everything they missed?
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
71,156
72,224
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SW Michigan
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Because an addition is another drain on the flock's resources, while a removal means more resources for the flock. More resources equals a greater chance of survival, so there is no fuss in the flock.

Adding another chicken means less resources (including space) to the flock, so additions are infinitely more stessful to the flock as a whole, which affects pecking order.
This sums it up pretty well.

It also might matter which bird was removed, depending on their ranking.
 

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