Topic of the Week - Chicken behaviour and flock dynamics - Part 1 - The pecking order

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sumi, Oct 29, 2017.

  1. sumi

    sumi Égalité

    Jun 28, 2011
    Tipperary, Ireland
    Pic by @venetianblinds
    For chickens the pecking order is an important part of the flock dynamics and a way for the flock to establish and maintain order and look after the stronger members, while pushing out the weaker ones. Human flock owners are often included this order, especially when there are roosters in the flock and that can throw up some interesting challenges for especially new or inexperienced chicken owners. This week I would like to hear you all's thoughts and experiences with handling this interesting part of chicken keeping.

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  2. N F C

    N F C Marbles...I found mine!

    Dec 12, 2013
    To me, watching the flock dynamics is one of the most interesting parts of keeping chickens. They can be ruthless in their vying for top spot!

    Settling down for the night was always something to see. In my old coop, there was one roosting bar that went around the interior on 2 sides. Even though the bar was all the same height, they'd squabble for whatever was the "best" spot for the night. I thought having the roosting bar the same height all way around, would solve the "who's on top" argument, but those chickens proved me wrong.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2017
  3. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    This is a great topic....:frow
    So many variables as to pecking order or aggression in Chickens...
    Pecking order is natural in a Flock of Birds...First I will stick to pecking order...Age of Birds in the Flock is important then sex of the birds...
    I will discuss my Flock in a nutshell...
    I have a Huge Brahma/Ameruacana Rooster and 4 Orpington Hens, 1 silkie cross Hen and 2 young Pullets..
    My pecking order is very subtle and everyone gets along..My One Blue Orpington Hen is a bit more Bossy and gets to the feed first as the others wait their turn. I have a Buff also and she is second in line...My Rooster runs a tight ship and if squabbles happen he chases the problem Hen off..My Slikie hangs around the Rooster as he Tidbits to them or she is with her young pullet that was hatched in July...The other Pullet that was hatched in April hangs around her Mother..No real issues here...
    I think sometimes people get confused with pecking order and aggression amongst Chickens..Chickens are Flock Birds and fighting, pecking and feather eating is not common in healthy flocks..If Chickens have balanced nutrition, enough space and entertained...Pecking order should be subtle...Too many Roosters can upset a flocks dynamics..I raised Chicks in July again under my Silkie 3 were Cockerels and the one Pullet..The Cockerels are gone although as they were maturing my Rooster was not taking their young Cock fights too well..He would beat them up when they got out of line...The minute they were gone my flock was fantastic again...
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    The RoostTimeRumble is always amusing...once you understand it.
    Removing excess males(or problem females) is amazing as an instantaneous bringer of calm.
    Some chickens are just batcrap crazy....and can be vicious.
    Some birds will just never fit well into the flock and should be permanently removed.

    Biggest challenge for newbs is learning how chicken hierarchy works,
    and not comparing it to human behaviors....and realizing that space is of utmost importance when dealing with pecking order issues. The more space they have the easier they will settle out the pecking order.
  5. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    What breed is this?
  6. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    black_dove2 likes this.
  7. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    How did I picture a Red...Too much time taking up this thread..We can't talk about your Bird here..Start a thread or contact me..
    black_dove2, andreanar and aart like this.
  8. pamonarch

    pamonarch Songster

    Aug 19, 2017
    Wellsboro, PA
    have you tried picking her , beak away from you and holding her for a few minutes..then put her down..repeat this process until she stops being mean
    Dawnclucks22 likes this.
  9. andreanar

    andreanar Crowing

    May 16, 2014
    Finger Lakes, NY
    Watching the pecking order dynamics is fascinating to me. But confusing as well. I always wonder why the "top" hen feels the need to peck at the "lowest" hen. The order has been established, the lowest girl knows she's the lowest and respects that. Am I missing some kind of challenge from the lowest girl?
  10. pamonarch

    pamonarch Songster

    Aug 19, 2017
    Wellsboro, PA
    picking her up.. not picking her..

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