Pecking order swap?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Audie80, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. Audie80

    Audie80 New Egg

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    Nov 4, 2013
    Northern NJ/Metro NYC
    Hi All -

    Anyone out there well versed in pecking order? I've got two hens, born and raised together from early-mid August of 2013. Hen #1 (Nugget) has always been alpha to hen #2 (Ms. Fuzzy Cheeks). Nugget was so alpha to Cheeks that she'd eat all the food to the point of gorging herself. Last week she ate a sub sandwich and stretched out her crop. I had her out at the vet half the day to make sure it wasn't something more serious. She's rec'd a clean bill of health and is acting like her usual healthy energetic self. However, when we got home from the vet and I put her back in the coop I noticed that Ms. Cheeks is acting very much like the new alpha. Cheeks won't let Nugget eat and won't let Nugget on the wooden bar they both used to share. Nugget's been keeping her head down and won't make eye contact with Cheeks. Prior to this afternoon's vet visit I tried to restrict Nugget's food intake a bit and fed Cheeks in a separate area. Any idea what may have caused this alpha position swap and if there's anything I should do. Poor Nugget has already had a rough day...I feel badly that she's come home to the usually sweet and docile Cheeks who's now the new bully in town.
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Well, chicken society is a lot like 'mean girls' in high school. One day you are a princess and the next day you are a peasant. They will work things out.
     
  3. Audie80

    Audie80 New Egg

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    Nov 4, 2013
    Northern NJ/Metro NYC
    Thanks for your reply - you're spot on, it is definitely a "mean girls" type situation! Hopefully the new alpha will cool down a bit once they reach some sort of pack homeostasis. Right now she's being very unpleasant.
     

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