In the last blog post, I did not write much about the observed behavior of chickens. What little I know from observation I will describe in this entry. I took this photo because it is a great example of pecking order within a flock of chickens. Chickens do not form friendships, they form flocks; which give rise to pecking orders and depending on the strength and durability of the chicken, sometimes death. Initially, the flock will ‘beat up’ on each other by “pecking” at each other to establish a leader, and an order from top chicken to lowest chicken. This is a great example of how the pecking order is a continuous flow of leader vs. lower flock members. Neither bird in this face-off is the leader of my flock of chickens, or at the top of the pecking order. Alas, that does not mean they do not try to ‘move up’ in the order. These two Welsummer hens were in the middle of a face-off when I took this photo. Eventually, the one on the left pecked the one on the right right on top of the head, and immediately, the pecking order was either rearranged, or stayed the same. I do not know the exact order of birds in this flock, as I have not paid as much attention as I should (guilty). However, I am currently trying to determine the flock leader.
If there was a rooster as part of this flock of chickens, then he would technically be the flock leader. However, I do not keep roosters because we live too close to the neighbors on one side of our property.
I believe if I had to choose a leader right now, I would bet that she is the leader (above). I am not 100% certain. However, I have not seen other chickens peck her, and she is always first to the food at the coop, gets first dibs at treats, and last into the coop at night if they are on free range time in the evening. Her feathers are always tidy, never out of place, and she is the cleanest of the whole flock.
This is one of the three Welsummer chickens that I own. Welsummers are the most familiar chicken to Americans who do not own chickens, or even know that there are different breeds. The Rooster on the front of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes is a Welsummer Rooster. Popular among chicken keepers, as they are generally quiet, keep well in confined spaces, and lay a darker egg with brown speckles.
More photos of chickens being chickens.
Chickens are omnivores like Humans (and their prehistoric ancestors). They will eat a variety of both vegetables and protein (even chicken!). They are also good for the garden, as they will naturally rid the garden of pests, and provide good fertilizer.
Depending on the breed, you will get a variety of different colored eggs, on the outside that is. The first egg in this photo is a blue green color from an Easter Egger.