Should I let them sort it out?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Twinklin, Aug 2, 2013.

  1. Twinklin

    Twinklin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The past week or so my 4 3 month old pullets have been starting to change in personality. I think they're in the process of sorting out the pecking order. Up until now they've all been very docile and nice to each other. I noticed in the past week whenever they go out to free range which is only about an hour a day, my EE will run up to the others with her beak open, puff up big and either chest bump or snap at the others and then walks away. My BSL has been getting defensive this week even with our dog who unfortunately got too close and got pecked in the face by her.

    Today they were out in the bushes and I heard a loud squawk and my EE came tearing out of the bushes running around frantically. After that she started doing the poof up pecking at our Welsummer. She doesn't continually peck, and doesn't pluck feathers that I've seen, just a poof up, peck and walk away. Then my BSL approached the EE and she cowered and ran. It was like my EE was afraid of the BSL. The EE kept ducking under the other 2 chickens in a weaving pattern trying to dodge or hide from her.

    I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye open for wounds of any kind. Is this behavior normal? One girl picks on the next girl and she picks on the next girl? Will they work this out or should I separate them now and let them cool off?
     
  2. buttercup95

    buttercup95 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would call it normal behavior. My chickens do it all the time I think of it more as a game between them. If you see any bad wounds I would separate them but for now they're fine in my opinion.
     
  3. Twinklin

    Twinklin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. These are my very first chickens so I don't really know what's normal and what is bad behavior. I'll definitely keep an eye on it.
     
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Pecking (and then stopping), feather pulling, screeching, chasing, all are part of the normal establishment AND continual "testing" of the pecking order.

    Unless there is actual blood drawn, I would not intervene. I would, however, provide more than one feeder and waterer, though, so bullies cannot starve out the lowest ranking birds.

    Just make sure the bottom ranking bird doesn't spend all its time hiding from the others without scratching in the dirt, enjoying sun and dust bathing because that is not much of a life for a backyard chicken.
     
  5. auburn

    auburn Out Of The Brooder

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    Typical pecking order behavior. As others have said, I agree that there's no need to intervene unless blood is drawn. It can be a little rough watching previously sweet babies going after each other, but it should sort out once they're older. Plus seeing them fluff up their neck feathers in an attempt to look intimidating can be pretty entertaining. [​IMG]
     
  6. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    You have all good answers already.

    Just like to add... at this age its also part 'play' to test out who is strongest or more dominant.

    I love when I have lots of chicks at that age and they all jump about at each other and chase each other around the garden. They have a great time.
     
  7. Twinklin

    Twinklin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all so much. They seem to be back to their normal selves. I haven't seen any pestering each other the past 2 days and no one seems to be afraid of anyone else right now. The first week of them doing it it seemed more like playing. I'd let them out and they'd start chest bumping, almost like a celebration. The cowering from one another was what had me worried. I'm super protective of all my animals. I'm lucky enough to work from home and can check on them a lot during the day. Probably check on them too much LOL Thanks again!
     

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