Pecking order starts at what age?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by teach1rusl, Oct 14, 2009.

  1. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    My chicks are only about 5 weeks old. I have five, all of different breeds (in my signature) who were sexed at the hatchery as female. They chest butt one another occasionally, but there is no clear top dog, nor a clear underdog. They all seem pretty equal at this time (although there are differences in levels of friendliness and in personality). At about what age will a dominant bird emerge??? Or do some flocks not have a dominant hen? I'm just curious for future reference.
  2. swimmom

    swimmom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2009
    I'm pretty sure mine started at a few weeks old. The one bossy chick stayed that way and now rules the roost.
  3. HBuehler

    HBuehler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2009
    Lebanon TN
    You will start seeing the pecking order right out of the may or may not stay that way though but there is a leader from day one.
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:I agree. It starts from day one in the brooder. By six to eight weeks the pecking order should be in good running order unless there are changes made (culls, deaths).
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    So then is my leader just really subtle??? I really can't see a bird that the others defer to... I spend a lot of time with them, but maybe I'm not looking for the right things???
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:Well the top chook may be going by the rule that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. [​IMG]
    Know how I could tell my one roo at three days old? He watched me non-stop when I was around the brooder. He never took his eyes off of me then and he doesn't now.
  7. SunnyDawn

    SunnyDawn Sun Lovin' Lizard

    Sep 12, 2009
    Nor Cal
    Yep, they show it right away. You probably won't see any huge agression unless an underling tries to grag a treat 1st. They all know who's boss and it rarely changes once established.
  8. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    With my buff orpingtons that i raised from 3 weeks to almost laying age, it seemed to me that top dog switched a lot. And i could never really tell who the definite leader was - or any order at all except for the bottom rung - until they were close to 15 weeks or so.

    Maybe i didn't know what i was looking for, but...

    I have new babies now, and i know they have pecking order going on, but i still can't really pick out who's who.
  9. rstampa

    rstampa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    Tampa, Florida
    Yes they do start when they hatch. Unless there is a real bully in your flock you may not notice who is the top of the pecking order. It's sometime unrecognizable and only the chickens know who's who in the hen house. If there are no real fights then I wouldn't worry too much. No one is going to starve and they usually all roost together. [​IMG]
  10. farmergirl@heart

    [email protected] New Egg

    Jun 26, 2009
    Ashtabula County, OH
    i knew the top hen right off the bat....she sorta of acts like a roo and watches me every moment I'm with them. I had 6 RIR and after today I am down to 5. I lost one to the other hens, not sure which one or all of them. She was pecked to death. The one I lost was smaller and really never matured like the rest of them. She never grew a comb or the flaps on the side of her face(not sure what they are called).I don't know if this is normal or not...I am new to raising chickens. But I picked RIR's because everything I read about them stated that they were docile birds and good layers...well, mine aren't so docile. The only one that was nice and didn't peck at me was the little one they killed. Is this normal? Did I get a bad batch of birds? They were all raised together from 2 weeks on and never seen a problem of this coming. I did favor her over the other birds because she was the only docile one. Did I do something wrong? [​IMG]

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