Weird pecking?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by suchanoob, Oct 28, 2016.

  1. suchanoob

    suchanoob Just Hatched

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    Hi folks, brand new here, brand new to chickens. I had 21 chicks sort of fall into my lap a few months ago. We've been figuring things out together as we go along. Up til now I've been able to google for most of what I needed to know, but the last two days I've noticed a couple of my chickens doing the weirdest thing!

    One chicken will stand perfectly still while another pecks at its beak and face repeatedly. The one being pecked doesn't react at all. I just noticed it last night between 2 of them, and tonight 2 of them stood still while a third pecked both of them, alternating between them. I tried to google it but I just get a bunch of "pecking order" results, but this is not that kind of pecking. What on earth are they doing??
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I'm honestly not sure, but its perfectly normal. There may be some kind of bonding / reaffirming flock order stuff going on, but if you ever have a rooster, you will see the girls preferentially do this to him. It could simply be seeing a few tasty morsels on another bird and deciding to eat them - I don't know.
     
  3. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    Most likely a tasty morsel got stuck on ones beak or face and the other one is helping themselves to cleaning it off, or like Ken said, a bonding thing.

    I've seen my hens do it, usually when someone gets feed or treat bits on their face, but I've also seen my turkeys doing it, and they're a mating pair and it seems more out of affection or comraderie in that case. They wouldn't be the first species to display this behavior; monkeys and apes do it for both, eating bugs and bonding at the same time.

    I wonder if you follow up on the one doing the cleaning/pecking and find that it grows up to be a cockerel or a lead hen. They have so many little strange ways of communication that we still don't fully understand. They're very social birds, so anything is possible ;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2016
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I've seen this too, can be a morsel of food but I have a few that stand and let another bird pick beard/muff feathers off their faces...SMH, crazy.
     
  5. suchanoob

    suchanoob Just Hatched

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    Oct 24, 2016
    Aaawwww. If it's a bonding thing that's so adorable! The ones being pecked definitely don't seem to mind it. I wasn't so much worried as bewildered, lol. Nice to know I don't need to worry though! Thx for the replies. :)
     
  6. shortgrass

    shortgrass Overrun With Chickens

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    No problem! Oh, and since I didn't say it before...Welcome to BYC! I'd put up the fancy emoji, but I dint know how ha-ha ;)

    Make sure you stick around and read up on those mysterious birds; seriously, chickens are so much more than just birds. You'll be amazed at what you can find out on here ;)
     
  7. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Is this Behaviour being done in the run or free ranging? After dust bathing, feeding?
    Sometimes it can be the onset of boredom...Not enough things to keep them busy....Chickens do not do bonding rituals with one another....They have pecking order...Love to peck for seeds, bugs and dirt....

    I just say keep an eye on the new situation and stop it before it goes too far....

    Cheers!
     

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