My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

chooks, hens or chickens?

Chicken pecking order challenge


I have read about pecking order challenges, particularly when there is a broody but I didn’t think one of my Barnevelders would do this.

Hannah Hen is being a good mum-to-be so far and is sitting very tightly on her eggs. She comes off her nest to drink, pooh and eat (in that order) about every 2 to 3 days. When she comes off, it is always early morning so the 3 chickens are let out at the same time.

Hannah Hen runs to the water and and has a massive drink. She then runs around a little and does her business and has a little flap of her wings and a preen, then she runs back towards the hen house and pecks a few grains from the feed bowl before hopping back on her nest. All of this usually takes about 5 minutes.

Hannah Hen is the matriarch and very much number one in the pecking order.
Hilda Hen is number two in the pecking order and can sometimes be allowed to feed from the same treat tin as Hannah Hen.
Helen Hen (the one in my blog header picture) is number three in the pecking order and because we only have three chickens, she is at the bottom of the heap.

The last two times that Hannah Hen has been out for her 5 minute break, Helen Hen has become vey aggressive towards her. She makes a running / flying leap at Hannah and then quickly runs a few metres away and then runs back at her and stands aggressively in a “face off”. They then both fly up at each other a couple of times before Helen gives up, or pretends to give up. If she sees another opportunity to “get” Hannah again before she goes back on the nest, Helen will take these opportunities with gusto.

What has happened to my harmony. I didn’t think my gentle Barnies would be so cruel. Other people’s chickens, yes! But not mine.


19 thoughts on “Chicken pecking order challenge

  1. So funny – I totally know this kind of situation!

  2. So proud of Hannah Hen being a good mum, but along with that mother instinct comes that fierce protectiveness over her little chicks to be, and eventually her little ones. It’s so normal, you know, even in us…we tend to get that mother bear ferociousness protecting our children against any perceived enemy. She’s being what she is meant to be… : )

  3. Naughty Helen Hen! Good girl Hannah Hen !!

  4. I know how it feels to be at the bottom of the pecking order!

  5. I’m having wonderful visions of a chicken-style Matrix scene.

  6. In our yard, the new birds know to never turn their back on Spice Girl. But, at least my new group of four isn’t getting as much harsh treatment as their predecessor, Goldie. They tormented and tortured her for her entire life because she was a different breed. Then she ended up getting eat by a fox. The farm isn’t always Peaceful Valley!

  7. I’ve never had a broody hen (and quite frankly, hope I never have one) so I have no idea how the dynamics of my girls will change if that happens, but that charging behaviour I found kind of funny and unsettling at the same time when it started in my backyard. It only lasted a few days and since then the pecking order is very stable. I wonder how things will change amongst the hen clan in the coming weeks.

    • It is a bit unsettling and I hope it doesn’t get more aggressive. I didn’t like my children arguing when they were growing up and I don’t like my chickens arguing much either. πŸ™‚

  8. Thanks for your comments everyone. I am realising this normal behaviour so I had better not get cross with the perpetrator.

  9. Poor Haitch!
    How lovely to have some little chicks to look forward to πŸ™‚

  10. Pingback: I hope Hannah Hen was just confused and not being malicious « My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

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