As it is in the wild, so it shall be in your backyard chicken coop.
The ‘pecking order’ is more than a trope– its a precautionary means by which chickens ensure safety to the entire flock. With a series of naturally orchestrated pecks and glares, chickens at the top of a pecking order direct feeding and drinking patterns, the loudest and strongest chicken the head coordinator at the ‘top.’
Historians and scientists claim chickens developed the pecking order from their East Asian ancestor, the Red Jungle Fowl. So as not to engage in regular fights during each feeding time, the Red Jungle Fowl naturally developed a biological hierarchy of feeding rights. This way, feeding is much less of a scene– predators would not be aware of a large flock of Fowl nearby– and on the off-chance that a predator did indeed stumble upon the chickens, the most fit and highest in the pecking order could best defend the food.
The hen (and sometimes cockerel) at the end of the pecking order has the last rights to all the food, water, and roosts. She or he must skirt the leftovers and remain farther away from the center of the feast.
The pecking order, once established, rarely adjusts itself. The entrance of new birds to your backyard chicken coop requires patience and understanding. Please see our additional post to learn why.
In the mean time, feel free to begin researching the many breeds of chickens to find out which one is best for you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to give us a call at (717) 205-2660!