Pecking order

Discussion in 'Behavior & Flock Management' started by Rachael, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. Rachael

    Rachael New Member

    38
    0
    0
    Hi all :)

    I have recently inherited 6 chickens (all hens) who have been with together since 2008. I have noticed that they tend to pick on the youngest hen and peck her every now and again (not too badly - she is never injured), usually when I feed them. I have tried spraying her with Johnsons Anti Pecking spray but it doesn't seem to work. Is there anything I can do to stop them pecking her?

    Thanks in advance
    Rachael
     
  2. cindy

    cindy New Member

    139
    0
    0
    how long has the youngest one been with the others?
     

  3. UncleJoe

    UncleJoe New Member

    139
    0
    0
    They'll work it out and it's pretty rare that anyone gets really hurt in the process.
     
  4. Apyl

    Apyl New Member

    3,157
    0
    0
    They'r just showing her who the top dogs are and who eats first. I wouldnt waste money on " no pick" spray, it't not going to stop nature.
     
  5. Rachael

    Rachael New Member

    38
    0
    0
    Hi Cindy - They have all been together since 2008 and the youngest chicken was introduced to the group in 2009.
    Uncle Joe and Apyl - Many thanks for your advise. I guess its like a family domestic. I shall just keep an eye on it.
     
  6. Riverdale

    Riverdale New Member

    116
    0
    0
    This is what the term 'pecking order' came from. No different than lions. There is a certain social order that animals eat/breed/roost in.

    When we had a dairy herd, there was always a boss cow. She was the queen of the pasture, and when a new cow was introduce (even if it was her daughter) she took a few moments to show she was the boss.
     
  7. Roslyn

    Roslyn A Round American Woman

    735
    0
    0
    Yes, if they have been together they may just remind her who is who. If any of the lower orders try to change their place, well, then it can get down right nasty. Even hens will play the "stare at each other and then jump and scratch, run around and jump on each other" game.

    That's why you have to very slowly introduce new chickens to an established flock.
     
  8. 7chicks

    7chicks New Member

    3,192
    0
    0
    I slowly introduced my australorp last summer to my then 1 yr old group of 5. It took me 6 months to get her in with them no matter what I tried. Finally had to get her a buddy and within an month I was able to get the 2 of them in with the other girls. (Had to give them their own perch though and feed dish at their perch which Lilah still uses.) The original 5 were raised together as day old chicks. I will never again try to blend in a single chicken. They still pick on Lilah (australorp). Her head is continuously bald from them pecking at her. Last week she hurt her leg somehow and that brought on the vicious pecking attacks like when she was little (a month old when I got her). Had to dig out the old tractor coop and put her in with her buddy. Just like last summer for a few days during the day while I was gone for work. Kept in her the main coop at night. Now that her leg is doing better, she can run away from them if she has to again. She is so docile and mild mannered that she won't stand up to them. Her buddy will. Course they can't catch her either. She runs to fast. :D I was wondering if that no pecking spray would work. Glad to know now not to waste my $ on it. Thank you Apyl for that info. :)
     
  9. grow_your_brew

    grow_your_brew I sell chicken aprons!

    15
    0
    0
    Definitely only introduce new chickens AFTER they are big and old enough to defend themselves. Introducing babies without a hen protecting them could spell death for the new chicks.
    Because our coop is bigger, we do have an 'injured box' in the coop, it's a fenced off box in the coop where hens that are bleeding go into to heal. We've found that it also gives to coop time to reorder the pecking order while still knowing the injured is part of the coop. When the chicken is released, it is less picked on. I've found it also works with introducing younger chicks into the coop. It gives them a bit of time to grow a bit more and for everyone to get used to each other.
     
  10. grow_your_brew

    grow_your_brew I sell chicken aprons!

    15
    0
    0
    If you have a smaller coop, what we did was put the new chickens in a free-range area (outside the coop) and take out one or two of the nicer hens to interact with them over a few days (just an hour or so each time is more than sufficient). That too seems to make the transition better for the new chickens.
    If it still persists, you can consider getting one of my chicken aprons! ;) :D