Pecking order roosting issues?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by peacefulbean, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. peacefulbean

    peacefulbean In the Brooder

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    Brand new to chickens here. I got 5 pullets from a farm two days ago. The Ameraucana is, I believe, about 6 months old. The rest are about 3 months. Within their first 20 minutes in my coop/run, it was clear that the Ameraucana was staking her claim at the top of the pecking order. Or that's what I'm assuming. She pecks and pushes others away from the food. She doesn't seem to attack anybody just out of the blue though. The first day & night, I noticed she was the only one up on the roost in the coop. the other 4 crammed themselves into one nesting box to sleep. At first I figured they just weren't into the whole roosting thing yet, since they were younger. But then last night (day 2) I watched as both my Dominique and Orpington tried to hop onto a roost, just to have the Ameraucana peck at them and bully them off.

    So my questions... is this just temporary while they figure out their pecking order? Will they eventually roost together? Does it maybe not have to do with that and have to do with the age difference instead?

    Any thoughts or advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm feeling totally baffled by these peculiar creatures I've come to own. Halp.
     
  2. chfite

    chfite Songster

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    Establishing dominance is not pretty, but it will work itself out.

    Chris
     
  3. QChickieMama

    QChickieMama Songster

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    I have a similar issue going on. I have 2 bossy Ameracauna (sp?) hens giving major grief to 3 younger, more docile hens. I'm wondering if I should separate them or just wait.

    What's odd to me is that the 2 Ameracauna hens were being mistreated by 4 other larger, more dominant hens. Their backs are completely lacking feathers for all the harassment. And now they're the ones being difficult. Hmph.
     
  4. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

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    That is pretty normal behavior with older vs younger birds and while establishing pecking order in general. It should diminish as the younger ones get older and closer in size, a younger one may even eventually take over. If you have the room, you can make separate roosts for now so the bossy one can't guard all the roosts all the time, or she should at least get tired of trying, she will still dominate the best or favorite one but at least the younger ones will have a place.
     
  5. peacefulbean

    peacefulbean In the Brooder

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    Night #3 and as I was coming back to the house, I saw the bossy Ameraucana had let two others on the roost and they were all doing fine. That made me unbelievably happy. [​IMG]

    Similarly, QChickieMama, our Ameraucana is missing half her feathers from the rooster at her previous farm. I guess she's decided she's done taking crap from anybody.
     
  6. QChickieMama

    QChickieMama Songster

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    Haha. I guess that's what's going on at our farm. Kinda funny. But frustrating, too. My 3 docile pullets are SO sweet, and if I keep them with these 2 bossy, featherless hens, I can hold and pet my sweet pullets. Sigh.
     
  7. aggiemae

    aggiemae Songster

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    It's normal but in the end it is often one of the hens that is not bossy or confrontational, because she doesn't need to be, that ends up being top hen.
     
  8. peacefulbean

    peacefulbean In the Brooder

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    Well! Perhaps she was testy because she was fixin' to lay an egg. We got our first egg today! [​IMG] And she seems less crabby now.

    Obligatory First Egg Picture. From Hilda, the bossy Ameraucana.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. heybarb

    heybarb Songster

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    As my 4 month old pullets begin to mature, I have definitely seen a change in the roosting at night. My top roost used to only have my established white leghorn hen. She pushed or chased everyone else off the roost, until last night, when I noticed that my black sex link pullet was hanging out on the top roost with her. :)
     

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