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Pecking Order Questions??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TwoCrows, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    I have 4 Australorp girls, no rooster, who are all going to be 6 months old tomorrow. At about 5 weeks old, I could see some sparring going on between the girls and by 12 weeks, I could tell who was the top bird in the order.

    Over the last several months I have seen the pecking order develop from light sparring to obvious, "Stay away from that piece of grass" pecking, normally from the head bird. However now I can see that each one of them uses their authority on the bird beneath them and I do understand that there is going to be a pecking order.

    But they have gotten aggressive with each other. And it is getting much more violent than it used to be. Will there come a point that it stops progressing in aggression, or will this behavior continue to grow to the point of blood shed? They seem so cranky toward each other and can sometimes barely tolerate each others company.

    I recently purchased some "pinless peepers" but have not used them yet. I did this because even the top order bird takes her aggression out on me and if she is this aggressive with me, how badly is she going to start treating the rest of them? All but the lowest ranking bird seems to bully the others.

    Thanks...Leyla [​IMG]
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    Anyone?
     
  3. nwfl

    nwfl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, Australorps being that aggressive. Can you do a time out period for day or two in a seperate pen or area where they still see each other. I've used time outs of different types and this usually has good results. I like harmony in my birds but usually end up doing time out isolation, speaking in disapproving tones and giving them something to do, like peck at granny smith apples or cabbage head. Good luck
     
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

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    I give them a lot of space to roam around in, 20x30 feet. They have things to nibble on, hay to scratch in, I have separate water and feed areas and still they bicker. I was under the impression also that Aussies were calm and cool birds. These girls are just so cranky lately. I don't know if it is the heat or what. But somebody is always being bitten or picked on all the time. And at the rate of progressive crankiness, they will be killing each other in a few weeks!

    Edit to add: I woudn't know who to quarantine! They are all aggressive with each other. Of course the top bird is the worst, but even the third in line won't let the last bird get a drink of water out of "HER" water font. How much further is this pecking order going to progress to?
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2011
  5. nwfl

    nwfl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In the past I have used Bitter Apple spray at night to discouraged pecking. It seems to wear off after a while so that during the day they can preen themselves. I'm sure someone can suggest something else. It is discouraging when you want a calm flock and they scrap like that. Hope its just atmospheric or moon time.
     
  6. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are you feeding them chicken feed or just letting them range for food? If they're primarily ranging, there might not be enough room for all of them to find enough food, hence the increased competition.
     

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