Since Emerald and Speckles have become the only, bigger girls, amongst five little girls, Speckles has taken on the role of mother hen. She is often sat in the run surrounded by all the little girls with Emerald sat a little in front of them.
It’s very difficult to get a photo of this because as soon as I open the gate to the run the little girls run to me. I am an even bigger mother hen and there is always the possibility that I may be bearing treats!
I decided to take a shot through the wire and even then Freckles and Emerald immediately stood up.
As expected, once I was through the gate, the little girls ran to me. Apricot and Freckles first followed by Rusty.
The other bit of mother hen behaviour is that Speckles calls the little girls to the treats or any titbits. At the end of the day if there is some cabbage left, as it’s too tough for the girls, I will break off little bits and drop them on to the patio.
Speckles will make the sound to tell them there is a treat and then will pick up the bits of cabbage and drop them in front of the little girls. She doesn’t eat them herself but will repeatedly pick up the bits and drop them in front of the little girls.
My husband says that he thinks the white pins on her head have entered her brain. It will be interesting to see if this behaviour is permanent or if it just because she is moulting which does seem to effect their behaviour.
Emerald is also continuing to make a sound like a cockerel crowing in the mornings when the automatic door opens. With our bedroom window open I hear her some mornings at about quarter past five.
It seems that these two bigger girls are still acting like parent birds to the five little girls as they have done since they have became the last two. It will be interesting to see if this continues. I wonder if it will change next spring when they start laying again or if it would change if we added new girls to the flock.
For now though it is pretty cute to see, Speckles the mother hen, surrounded by her little girls and Emerald near by on guard.