Tag Archives: Pecking order

How to introduce new chickens to my existing flock?

I have read much about the topic of introducing new chickens to an existing flock and there are several schools of thought out there on how to approach this. One is to ‘introduce’ the new chickens during the night while the others are sleeping. When they wake up in the morning they’ll be less aware of new chickens on the premises. Some suggest hang a treat (like a head lettuce) in the chicken coop — just above the reach of the chickens — and that distraction helps […]

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What are the causes of feather pecking and what can I do to stop feather pecking and cannibalism in my flock?

Severe feather pecking can lead to skin and tissue damage, and cannibalism. No one knows exactly what causes feather pecking and cannibalism, but most likely causes are: Stress Boredom Overcrowding Overheating Excessive light Nutrient deficiencies Insufficient feed or water Inadequate nest boxes Adding birds to your existing flock Failure to remove injured or dead birds in the flock in a timely manner Sometimes you have a chicken who is a bully to everyone Abrupt changes in care management practices or the environment Genetically fast-feathering and slow-feathering chickens […]

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Why and when do chickens molt and how you can help them?

Molting or moulting (British English) is a natural, periodic process of shedding feathers and regrowing them that all chickens (hens and roosters) go through. Humans do molt, too. We shed hairs and skin cells. A chicken starts dropping feathers in late summer to early fall, but some won’t even start molting until early winter. Molt’s purpose is to supply chickens with fresh, new feathers — the best defense against skin infections, and the cold and precipitation of winter. Chickens molt in a predictable order beginning at the […]

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What is pecking order?

All social animals are ‘status seekers’, and chickens are no exception. Many times you’ll see hens pecking or bullying other chickens in their flock. This is a natural occurrence and is a way that chickens establish their pecking order. Pecking order, and as the term implies, is established by using their beaks. Pecking order rank determines the order in which chickens are ‘allowed’ to eat, drink, roost, choose nest boxes to lay eggs, dust bathe, crow and even mate. Each flock of chickens has their own established […]

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If chickens are so bad at flying, why do they have wings?

There are many fossil evidence supporting the theory that all modern-day birds, including chickens, are descended from dinosaurs, and may even be the closest living relative to the T-rex. Protein resembling that found in chicken has been extracted from a 68-million-year-old T-rex bone, providing further evidence of the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and chickens. The fossils of the Gobi Desert have also provided critical supportive information linking dinosaurs and their direct descendants, the birds. Over time, these ‘chickenosaurus’ had to adapt to their changing environments and resulted […]

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