Top chicken no more?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Flockofeleven, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. Flockofeleven

    Flockofeleven New Egg

    Nov 5, 2012
    I have a mixed flock of only hens who were all raised together and are almost two years old. There seems to be an upheaval in the pecking order and I'm trying to figure out why. The two hens that have been on the top of the pecking order have been fighting. The hen who I would have characterized as the one who picked on others the most is now looking roughed up! I've seen threads about chickens fighting when new hens are introduced to the flock, but I can't find anything to explain why my hens would start flighting for no apparent reason. At first I thought the fighting was due to the cold snowy weather when most of the hens opted to stay in the coop rather than go out into the run, but the weather has warmed and the behavior continues. Any idea as to why this happened and what I can do to get my hens to stop fighting?
  2. HS Pye

    HS Pye Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 13, 2013
    Many flocks go through this. It'll end when the new 'top' hen has won the fight. It's just pecking order problems :/.

    HS Pye
  3. pound4pound

    pound4pound Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 28, 2014
    watching, wild and free!
    how to deal with pecking order (my experience)

    the dominant hen has to be caged or else any hen who tries to challenge her will be beat up.

    same principle for roosters and stags.

    if the bird is beaten up, the bird will have stress and occurences of stunting will follow because they will be driven away by the dominant hen during feeding time.

    infection on wounds and will induce cannibalism.
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    The pecking order is always changing and evolving. It could be that the top hen is getting up there in age and another is seeking the opportunity to be in charge.
  5. flickerloo

    flickerloo Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 27, 2013
    NW Washington
    My top hen dropped in the pecking order when she went through her molt. She recently started laying again and is fighting her way back up to the top and won't take no for an answer! Have there been any changes in laying in your flock? Hens seem to get a lot more assertive or aggressive when they start laying.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by