What's the pecking order like without a rooster?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by wordgirl, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. wordgirl

    wordgirl One of the Shire-folk

    Apr 14, 2009
    Hello everybody! [​IMG]

    With my last flock, I had about eighteen hens and one rooster. He was big (and mean to people [​IMG] ) and took pretty good care of his girls. He was rough on them (treading), but he wasn't mean to them at all. The girls only had little squabbles occasionally and there wasn't a whole lot of picking on one another, except for when they were roosting. Then some of them had pretty strong opinions about who was with them on a roost. [​IMG] They seemed to all get along pretty well, although there was a little bit of dominance-showing by some of the girls to the lower-ranking hens.

    So I'm wondering now, with my second flock, will there be much of a change? I'm hoping to get all females (that's what I'll be buying) and so there won't be a rooster, at least for a while. I may end up buying an *adult* proven-friendly cock sometime, but at least at the beginning it will be all girls. What will the atmosphere be like among the flock? Will there be a top hen that sort of takes the place of the rooster, or will they sort of have several dominant ones and then ones that are more submissive? Will there be a lot of picking on each other, because there will be no rooster to settle things down?

    Thanks for your help! [​IMG]
  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    There is ALWAYS somebody at the top of the pecking order. If there is a mature rooster, it's him. That's just nature. If there is more than one rooster, there will be a dominant one. In the gallus gallus domesticus world, the males ARE at the top.

    Without a rooster, there will be a Top Hen. She may or may not take over the rooster's role of protection and breaking up hen-fights, or she may just be the one who gets to eat first and choose the preferred roosting spot.
  3. MarieNC

    MarieNC Songster

    May 10, 2010
    I have 6 hens and there is definitely a dominant one. In fact I can pretty much rank their "pecking order" from 1-6. Somebody is always in charge with chickens!
  4. Uzuri

    Uzuri Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    My top lady does pretty much all the social mediation that a roo does. She's nowhere near as watchful as one would be, so she's of no value there, but she does knock the stuffing out of anyone who feels like picking on anyone else.
  5. In my experience there is more pecking without the Cock bird. I even found a need for some "Stockholm tar" to stop some of the plucking a few years back. Got a Cock bird and it stopped.
  6. dandelionheart

    dandelionheart Songster

    Sep 15, 2010
    Lafayette, Indiana
    Yeah, there will be a Top Hen... we have eleven pullets and hens... and there is definate order. Gloria (the biggest BO we have) is the Top Hen and the other two BOs are her side-kicks. The white EE and the RIR kinda spar for #4 - a lot. The BOs prefer the white EE and the RIR is the tougher and older of the two. [​IMG] Then the other EEs... and at the bottom are the Marans (they are the youngest) and the youngest of the three Marans is the bottom of the pecking order. All of them are "adult" size. Only ones who aren't laying are the Top Hen (Gloria) and the Bottom Pullet (Xena). [​IMG] But I don't know if that has anything to do with anything. Gloria is more protective, but she does make sure she gets to eat before others and doesn't bust up fights. I'd say the EEs are more likely to bust up a disagreement/bullying situation.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by