What Is A Pecking Order?

What Is A Pecking Order?

You might be wondering what a pecking order is and how to avoid it in your flock. You've heard the term pecking order before, whether that be in life, at work or in any other situation, but it's very real with chickens so we wanted to take the term back to its roots and explain what it means!

What Is A Pecking Order?

A pecking order is how your chickens define their rank within their flock. Higher ranked birds get food, water and other things first before the others. Chickens do this to avoid squabbles between each other and it's a social order. They understand it and they know that there's a head rooster at the top of the ladder. Weaker birds are usually at the bottom of the ladder.

How Do Problems Occur?

Sometimes issues arise with the pecking order and you need to know what to look out for in order to keep things running smoothly. Here are some things that can cause problems within the pecking order

1. Introducing new birds to your flock

This can always cause a big shift in the pecking order, especially if your pecking order has been settled for a long period of time. Check our blog post on how to introduce new chickens to your flock for more information on that. Just remember to introduce new chickens slowly and give your old flock plenty of time to get used to the new chickens before putting them in the same coop.

2. Sick chickens

If a chicken is sick or falls ill, the other chickens might kill the sick chicken or drive them away from the flock and isolate them. A flock is only as strong as its weakest link, so they do this as a survival technique.

3. Bullies

Have you ever had a hen that bullies all of the other chickens? It happens. In order to get your hen to relax, maybe separate her from the flock for a few days to get her to calm down. However, it's rare that hens are at the top of the pecking order, more often than not, they are somewhere in the middle.

How to Avoid Problems

The best way to avoid problems within your flock is to make sure they all have their own personal space. We have a blog post all about chicken coops where we talk about how much space your chickens need. If you have free range chickens, you won't have as many problems or squabbles. Don't forget to make sure you have many different roosting spots for your hens to get away and be alone if they need to.

Check back next week for another fun blog post!