I have talked before of the groups within our flock. As time goes on it is still quite obvious that the flock is made up of groups of girls.
I have come to realise a few things since we have had chickens. Time in the flock is very important. The girls that have been together the longest have the strongest bonds and the other thing is that the girls that come into the flock together also usually have the strongest bonds.
In the afternoons I put some apple and melon on the patio area. The pecking order is such that it will be the three bigger girls plus Dandelion and Cinnamon that will get the first go at the treats. Speckles is happy to have Dandelion and Cinnamon pecking at some apple alongside her and she never chases them away.
They have been together the longest and she seems to consider them her girls. In the same way she is happy to have them perch next to her at bedtime. The next boldest girls are the two silky girls but Speckles will chase them from the apple. In the same way she won’t tolerate them perching next to her at bedtime.
Dandelion and Cinnamon also chase the silky girls from the apples. The five amigos don’t even venture to the apple until the first girls have moved away. They have to wait their turn and they are not tolerated perching with the rest of the girls at bedtime either. The amigos stick to their own perch.
Although this is all quite obvious there is still harmony within the flock. There is no bullying it is just the normal pecking order. The entire flock are happy to dust bath together, to scratch and peck in the run together and preen together. Sometimes during the day they will all perch together too but there are often times when you can see the flock in their separate groups too.
The five amigos perching together
These girls are never far from each other. Sometimes they will all be on top of the shelter and sometimes they will all be on top of the metal table. They move around the run together and group together to preen at the end of the day. They go into the shed together after the other girls have gone in.
Dandelion and Cinnamon
Dandelion and Cinnamon are always the first two to go into the shed at bedtime. Dandelion likes this corner by the gate. She can often be found in this corner or in the little shelter and Cinnamon will join her to keep her company. These two will also quite easily perch with Speckles and the other two bigger girls.
They have been around Speckles the longest and as Speckles accepted the other two bigger girls these two are happy to accept them too. By bringing in Ebony first and Flame five days later they haven’t become a bonded pair and are happy to be part of Speckles team.
The silky girls
Jasmine and Sienna are always together
When two girls come into together they seem to have the closest bond. These two are inseparable and wherever one goes the other follows.
Three bigger girls
These three girls have easily accepted each other. I definitely made the right decision to bring Ebony and Flame in five days apart. Had they come in together I feel sure that they would have been a bonded pair and Speckles wouldn’t be a part of this group.
When we added Ebony to the flock Speckles instantly accepted her. She had been used to having a companion of her own size. When we added Flame Speckles just as easily accepted her too. Ebony took a few days of chasing her away before she too accepted her.
They have now become a comfortable group of three and at times are joined by Dandelion and Cinnamon and are an equally comfortable group of five.
I sometimes feel sorry for the silky girls when they are not allowed to be part of this group but they have each other and I guess over a longer time they may get promoted to become part of the top group or maybe they will just stay in between the top group and the amigos. Time will tell.