When does the pecking order start?


In the Brooder
Feb 20, 2015
I had 10 chicks (down to 9 thanks to a Hawk). They are about 10 weeks and I've been watching for any kind of a pecking order. They are all very polite and sweet to each other. Just wondering if they will stay like this? And I'm thinking about getting a Buff Orpington rooster to guard them. Hoping that goes smoothly!
The pecking order starts when they are babies. They don't have to nice and kind to each other for the pecking order to start. They can always "talk" it out. And what breed are they? Some breeds are not as bossy.

P.S. Sorry about your 10th chick.
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Correct. The pecking order is in play from day one and is ongoing. You will notice one giving another a swift peck on the back as she passes by. That's one way they affirm their rank among each other. Sometimes, a lower rank hen will challenge one just above, and there might be a very brief altercation that is over so quickly you never see it take place. But in a few brief seconds, the pecking order just changed. It rarely involves prolonged fighting.

Are you sure you want to bring a rooster into this flock of peaceful pullets? Unless you want fertilized eggs, a rooster will upset the order, annoy and harass the pullets, and if you want a "guard" for the chickens, get a dog or llama. Roosters are just as vulnerable to attack as hens. In fact, the pullets will usually have one among them who is already assuming the role as "lookout" and will warn the rest of danger. Beyond that, it's a very, very rare roo that can fight off a predator, and he usually dies in the process.
Thanks for the info! And no, I'm not sure that I want a rooster. I've just been considering it. So far we have 3 Australorps, 2 Buff Orpingtons,2 Barred Rocks, and 2 EE's. Some friends are raising two Golden Sexlinks for us to replace the one we lost. I hope introducing them goes well! And We have a big dog but he is a terrible guard dog! He was outside when our chick got taken. And then the other day he did nothing to stop a neighbor dog from chasing them.

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