TIP OF THE MONTH
Poultry start working out the pecking order in a flock on Day 3 of a chick’s life and it takes about 10-15 weeks to sort itself out (males take longer). Chicks will jostle for position, squawk and push over other chicks at feeding time, progressing to feather pecking fights by Day 16. The pecking order is an instinctive behaviour, mostly related to feed but also water, nest boxes, perches and dust baths which is why it’s important to always have plenty of well-spaced feeders and waterers, and an ad lib supply of both food and water so birds lower in the pecking order don’t miss out. Bigger chicks have an advantage, some individual birds and breeds are more naturally aggressive than others, and if you have mixed breeds or birds of different colours, you may find you have ongoing issues as poultry can be ‘racist’.