Thursday, 13 September 2012

The Pecking Order

The pecking order for chickens is exactly as it sounds. The hen at the top is allowed to peck and bully all of the others, the next hen down is allowed to peck and bully all except the top hen. This continues all the way down to the poor little thing at the bottom who is bullied and pecked by every other hen in the flock. The books all say that when a group of hens is first put together they'll take a week, or maybe two, to work out their pecking order. Then they'll all get on fairly amiably, knowing their place, until something happens to throw everything up in the air.

Of our brood, I'd say that Pepper seems to be top dog (is that an appropriate expression?!), with Fizzy next in line. Frog and Lemon are bringing up the rear. However, our girls seem to be of the opinion that the pecking order needs to be reasserted first thing each morning. Maybe they're all a bit tetchy before they've had breakfast. Take this morning for example.

They all came flying out of the coop as normal. Frog decided that it was her turn to be a bully. So far she has seemed to be a fairly placid gentle hen so she'd clearly got off the perch the wrong side today. She had her sights set on Lemon, so wherever Lemon went, Frog went too. If Lemon went to the feeder, Frog would be there to chase her away. If Lemon was pottering around minding her own business, Frog would flap her way over and attempt a short sharp peck causing Lemon to move along. The funniest bit about watching all this is that Lemon is our biggest bird, and Frog the smallest. Apparently size has no effect on matters of the pecking order.

However, Frog only has permission to behave like this towards Lemon. At one point she crossed Pepper's path instead, and had the same treatment dished out to her. Justice.

No comments:

Post a Comment