Time and Temp

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Blooming-May

• African daisies
• California Poppy
• Calendula
• Calla Lily
• Narcissus
• Lavander
• Ivy geranium
• Mexican Sage
• Pride of Madera
• Lantana
• Society garlic
• Wild geranium

Harvesting-May

• Baby arugula
• Onion and garlic greens
• Thyme
• Rhubarb
• Parsley
• Strawberries

           

Observing the Pecking Order

It has been fun observing the development of our hens, and yes, it appears a pecking order has been established. The one we used to call the “mean one”, Poppy, has settled down into a really rather pleasant hen. She would probably be considered the dominate one in our little flock. See her story: Poppy-A Problem Chicken. She was such a trouble-maker in the beginning. We  almost culled her from the flock. She is no longer a “pecker” now and was the first to bravely confront the two small dogs that came into our yard the other day. Although she was safely behind a fence, she came out scolding and cackling, ready to fight. Since there is no rooster in the henhouse to protect the girls, often the dominate hen will fill the role.

Rosie has a piece missing from her comb.

At the bottom of the pecking order is Rosie. She is chased away from food and is pecked when she gets too close to one of her flockmates. Rosie loves to sit on our laps but when another hen wants to join her, she is chased off. Every night when the hens go inside to roost, the others get on the top roost first (the most desirable location) then try to keep Rosie from finding a place next to them. It is painful for us to watch as she desperately tries to fit in. As you can see, her comb shows evidence of her abuse. A piece is missing.

Now, in defense of Poppy, Daisy, Tulip, Sweetpea, and Petunia, Rosie can be very annoying!  She is an absolute glutton! She runs to the treats first and hogs whatever is in the bowl before the others get their fair share. If I find a snail in the garden and throw it into the run, she ALWAYS gets it first. If I have something in my hand and she thinks it might be something to eat, she will fly (I do mean fly) 4 feet into the air to get it. I’ve had more than one welt on my hand inflicted by Rosie’s beak in search of a treat.

There doesn’t seem to be any physical characteristics that establish the pecking order in our six hens. It’s all in their personality.

2 comments to Observing the Pecking Order

  • Melissa

    Hi,

    I have the same problem with my Rhode Island Red hen – Red. She was always the head of the flock until we got a rooster (Rocky). He really tore into her and cut up her head badly. She is now banished from the flock (Rocky and 3 other hens) and will not go back into the coop. She is a sweet, loving chicken that will let us hold her – she even got between me and Rocky when he was starting to get aggressive towards me – this was before he attacked her. She is now staying in our garage – which is not the best thing for us but the safest for her. Everytime I try to reintroduce her to the flock, they attack her – even her old hen mate who was with her before we got Rocky. Any suggestions? I thought if we got rid of Rocky she may be okay – it breaks my heart to see her without a place in her flock.

  • Lee

    Hi Melissa,
    There is a part of me that thinks our Rosie just got tired and gave up and died. I’d hate to see that happen with Red. How attached are you to Rocky? Maybe he should be “rehomed” or perhaps your Red would be happier somewhere else. It seems that with those of us who keep our hens in pens and they can’t free range, it is a constant challenge to have a flock that is balanced. Good luck! Lee

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