Pecking Order

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by tazmarri, Mar 30, 2015.

  1. tazmarri

    tazmarri Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2015
    Wellsburg, WV
    Hello!

    I've had my 5 baby chicks for two weeks. I started them in a large tote which I slid into my extra large dog kennel to keep them safe from my two cats and two dogs. This worked extremely well...until Friday when they started to fly! They seemed too big to fit through the bars of the kennel, so I wasn't too worried. However, one managed to escape! So, I had to cover the entire dog cage in wire! Since theyhave double in size, I decided to remove the tote and just let them run around the cage. They love the extra room...BUT now seem to be fighting a lot and doing this thing where they stretch up real tall, flap their wings and "chest bump". Are they already trying to establish a pecking order? or do I need to be concerned about them not getting along?


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  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Gosh, they're cute! Did they get up on that perch on their own?

    You seem to understand chick behavior, and yes, it's normal for them to challenge one another. Have the chicks been sexed or are they straight run? While chest butting is common among pullets, it's even more common between two cockerels.

    Every single one of my baby chicks that displayed that behavior turned into roosters.
     
  3. tazmarri

    tazmarri Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 18, 2015
    Wellsburg, WV
    Yes, they got up on that perch all by themselves! I wasn't kidding when I said they are flying! LOL I bought them at tractor supply and was told that they were supposed to be sexed. I really hope they are just challenging eachother. How old before I will know, and what other signs should I look for to tell if they are roosters?
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    You won't know for many more weeks, but around four or five months, if you look under the feathers on the backs of the ones you suspect may be cockerels, you may see colorful pin feathers that will emerge later to become rooster saddle feathers. Look up what color feathers roosters of your breeds are supposed to have so you will recognize them.

    Also, around that age, the cockerels will have redder combs and wattles than the pullets, and longer, thicker legs.

    It's a very tense period from four to six months while you wait to see if they turn into roos or hens. Even though they've been sexed, it's not 100% accurate unless they are sex determinate breeds and the male chicks look different from the females when hatched.

    After four accidental roos over the years, I finally got smart and have ordered only those breed of chicks that can be 100% sexed at hatching such as Welsummers and Marans and Sex-links.
     

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