Puffed up neck feathers

Asked August 26, 2016, 2:53 PM EDT

We noticed today that our 18 week old chickens are puffing out their neck feathers and sort of strutting around. Not sure if it's part of their preening behavior or pre-laying behavior, but haven's noticed it before. They look like some sort of exotic bird when they do it. Any Ideas? Thanks for any help! We have a buff orpington and a Rhode island red.

Berks County Pennsylvania

1 Response

what you are describing is normal fighting behavior. If you should introduce new or different birds to a flock, fights will happen as they sort out a new pecking order among themselves. To confirm what I think you are seeing see the following video:

The feathers on the neck are called hackles and both sexes at times will puff these feathers out to make themselves appear larger than they are. Watch the flock and isolate any bird that becomes injured. If beaks are properly trimmed you should not see any injuries. To beak trim, use nail clippers and remove 1/16" or less of the tip of the beak both upper and lower parts of the beak. This dulls the beak enough to prevent injury.