The pecking order

The pecking order is never more noticeable than during the bedtime routine. Bluebell must show the little girls that they are below her and so roosts on the little chair to stop them from doing so.

Pepper and Dotty at the top of the pecking order have the most prestigious spot on the high perch.

Last night I was still doing my evening chores as they settled in their places. Pepper and Dotty settle together on the high perch. They sit next to each and often flutter their heads underneath each others wing like baby chicks do. I think this strengthens their bond with each other. They have been together since they were chicks and together with me from when Dotty was a month old and Pepper two months old and they have always been really close. I have never ever seen either of them peck each other.

Dotty doesn’t take any notice of any of the other girls and is happy with her place next to Pepper. Pepper has to show she is top girl and will not let either Bluebell or the little girls on to the perch with them. She leans forward and downwards and pecks the little girls away. Last night Bluebell tried to join them and she very firmly pecked at Bluebells head and would not allow her on the perch.

Bluebell settled on the little chair. Amber soon settled on the top of the store cabinet. Honey was still on the coop roof and suddenly flew to the high perch at the end near the gate out of reach of Pepper and Dotty. The look on Bluebells face was a picture! She did not like it at all that Honey had managed to secure a spot on the high perch when she herself hadn’t managed it.

The girls get to the high perch at the end Pepper and Dotty prefer by jumping from the coop roof, to the top of the cabinet, then to the perch. Honey had gone straight from the coop roof to the perch. Bluebell was besides herself at this outrage. She jumped down from the chair to the cabinet then back to the coop roof. She then launched herself from the coop roof to the perch where Honey was and dislodged her. Honey flew to the coop then to the little chair.

This explains why sometimes the little girls manage to get possession of the little chair. Bluebell was now the facing the wrong way, they prefer to face outwards with their backs to the solid fence, but no matter she had forced Honey from the perch.

Bluebell moves Honey from the high perch and has to remain facing the other way to Pepper and Dotty

Bluebell moves Honey from the high perch and has to remain facing the other way to Pepper and Dotty

Pepper is constantly looking down like this and will immediately peck at any of the girls that come within reach of her.

Honey moves to the little chair

Honey moves to the little chair

Dotty is nuzzling Pepper. Amber is looking up at Honey as if wondering how she came to be on the little chair.

Pepper and Amber are looking at each other

Pepper and Amber are looking at each other

I only went inside to grab my camera after Bluebell had chased Honey from the perch so am missing a shot of Honey on the high perch. I may manage to snap that another time. This routine always amuses me and maybe explains why Bluebell is so determined to keep her place above the little girls.

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2 Responses to The pecking order

  1. Jackie says:

    I was just wondering today about chickens thinking when my girls were doing their thing . ..I know it sounds daft but in your description there is a lot of thinking and plotting going on there.
    How do they think? obviously there are no words . is it in pictures ? They reckon that their memory is very short term .. I’m not so sure LOL … Now I’m rambling .

  2. Carol says:

    I know they don’t think in our words but I swear you can read my girls like a book. I can see what they are thinking in their expressions and their behaviour. I know some people may think it fanciful but I only managed those three photos last night yet even they are expressive. When the little girls or Bluebell get near Pepper she leans out and blocks and pecks and I can imagine “no, you are not coming up here with us”.

    Then the look of bewilderment and outrage on Bluebells face when Honey got on the perch followed by swift action to remove her and I imagine “I am not having that!”.

    The look between Dotty and Pepper is pure love and the look between Amber and Honey seems to say “how did you get up there!” then the look between Amber and Pepper is a sort of “I would like to come up there” and a “well you can’t”. It may not be in words but I swear I can see it.

    And now I am rambling!

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