Pecking Order

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by amity3520, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. amity3520

    amity3520 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 5, 2009
    New Hampshire
    Will hens pick out weaker ones to pick on? Just curious, probably about a year ago now one of our hens had a hurt leg for a bit, we thought she hurt it while jumping from a high roost or something, and while she was hurt she getting pecked very close to her death. We separated her from the flock, and she has since healed just fine and has become the boss of what we call the 'misfits.' Two more have been added to that group, all very clearly fitting into their own new pecking order. We let them all out to have the run of the yard when we get home from work and they do fine interacting with each other, except for the hen at the very very bottom of the totem pole who is a target despite the fact that she appears to have no outward weaknesses. We always keep her closer to us and she gets the extra privileges and loving the others don't get.

    What I want to know is, is this normal? They've all thrived under the separated coops, and it has been about a year, maybe less, and no new ones have been added to the mini coop. Is it normal for chickens to do this?

    The first one I'd separated with the hurt leg had been quite bloody and lethargic, but on her own and with a little hand feeding and help she bounced back rather quickly.

  2. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    One of my birds had a hurt leg but none of the other birds picked on her.

    When I integrated my pullets with my hens, I had a couple of bully hens. One hen was after blood so then I would squirt her with a hose I had handy when I saw her pouncing on one of the younger birds. Every time I saw her jump on and wail away on one of the pullets I squirted her with a hose. She eventually got the message or was getting tired of being squirted and decided it just wasn't worth it.
  3. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    Sometimes they do and sometimes they are fine...depends on that hens dominance I suppose. Mine have a fav to pick on but they are not that bad. They just don't want her in their space so they give her a peck on the head and she goes away. Put certain days they allow her over and are fine with her. Maybe some hens have PMS days. LOL My whole bunch is pretty dominant so I don't even bother adding newbies in there becasue I know they will be mean to them.

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