Chicken Wisdom

By sue giebler · Aug 28, 2017 · ·
  1. sue giebler


    This journey with chickens began as a surprise really. My neighbors built a house the next field over and soon had chickens free-ranging in their yard. After observing them for a winter, one day I asked my neighbor if I could hold one. They seemed surprised since they never picked up their chickens, but said I could. She was a beautiful Brahma hen who allowed me to stroke her and cuddle.

    After that I was hooked! I began looking in poultry catalogs at all the breeds I could own. WOW! It was so hard to make a decision, but once I received those first little peeps, I was captivated.

    From the time of their hatching and growing they all have different ways of approaching the world around them. Some are aggressive, timid, bossy, followers, whiners, fast, flighty, slow, etc. The flock I own now is fifteen strong and a total delight. Along the way I have had laughter, heartache, good times, predators, sickness, and always contentment. If you take time to watch a flock of chickens, you will soon find yourself fascinated with their antics and forget about your stresses. Here is a little insight from these fascinating creatures.

    There is a pecking order….from birth to death. The higher a chicken’s status, the higher they sleep on the roost at night. Changes confuse them….no one knows where they fall in the order if a new chicken is introduced, and they have to start all over deciding where they belong. “Earn the privilege of moving up, don’t just expect it.”

    Chickens usually stay together in at least groups of three. Predators from the sky always look for that lone chicken to attack. “Be part of a network of friends who have the same values as you.”

    Sometimes a hen will go off by herself and do as she pleases. She is a loner and has confidence in herself. She is the “diva hen” who is above it all. She answers to no other chicken or rooster and does not get involved in the drama inside or outside the coop. If a hen wants to move up the pecking order, it will serve her well to follow the diva hen around. She is fearless but not entirely unapproachable. Even the rooster doesn’t mess with her. “To thine own self be true.” (William Shakespeare)

    When hens lay their eggs (usually once a day), they sing “the egg song” to let others know they have done. “Always be proud of your accomplishments”

    Roosters are entirely different and can become aggressive as they age unless handled. As soon as they become chicken teenagers, hold them, stroke them, carry them around, and give them special treats. Pet them and talk to them every night while they rest on their roost so they know you for them. “Knowing you are loved makes a difference in your trust of others.”

    A teenager rooster is overcome by hormones and may need a little scolding when getting overzealous with the hens. His hormones rage and he loses his good sense. He can be carried around under your arm for a while so he gets the message. “A teen needs consistent supervision.”

    When a rooster gets past this stage, he learns his job as the protector of the group. The rooster is always murmuring and talking as he scratches and looks around outside, letting the hens know he is there and all is okay. A good rooster does a little dance around a hen indicating he is interested in her. If she doesn’t respond, he leaves her alone. He is looks out for the welfare of his hens. If he gets a treat before they do, he drops it and keeps dropping them until all hens have been given the treat. Then he will gladly eat some himself. “Guys, respect the women!”

    Hens follow with him because he is the first line of defense. If there is an imminent threat, the hens all go into the coop while he waits at the door. He is twice the size of the hens and this is his most important job. “A man always protects the women!”

    Chickens work very hard during their time outdoors….always looking, always scratching, and trying to steal other chicken’s goodies. Then they all stop, go to their roosts, groom, and take a nap. They do this several times a day. “Breaks during the day make everyone much more productive.”

    When darkness comes, all the chickens instinctively move inside the coop. They know there are many dangers at night and they cannot see them. The coop is the safe haven. “Always make your home your safe haven. If it isn’t, do something about it.”

    Chickens love a good dirt bath. It is fun for them and keeps their skin and feathers healthy. They splash and kick up the dirt until they are covered, then get up and shake it all off. They sometimes purr like kittens while doing it. They love it when two or three dust-bathe together because it gets more dirt on everyone. “Working in a group is sometimes more enjoyable than working or playing alone.”

    A hen can go broody (decides she wants to sit on eggs until they hatch). During that time if she is disturbed, she would growl and give the “stink eye”. “Mothers to be can get a little quirky. Don’t irritate them unnecessarily.”

    After chicks are hatched, mother hen is extremely protective of her new brood. Even though she may hatch eggs from other chickens, those chicks are hers. “Adopted babies are just as precious.”

    There are so many other things to be learned, but here is a beginning list for you. The longer you have chickens, the more they will teach you. Chickens are hard work but very much worth it if you really get to know them. If you simply want them as egg producers, you will miss out on a lot of quirky wisdom. Spend time with them and get to know them.

    Sue Giebler

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  1. Abriana
    lovely article! I like how you tied in chicken behaviors with quotes! But actually, the more you handle a rooster, the more aggressive he will be. He'll get too comfortable around humans. Some roosters are gentle and won't attack, and do enjoy cuddles, I've had one like that, but some won't turn out to be sweet.
    1. chicknmania
      That has never been my experience. Handling a rooster will make him submissive to people
      Abriana likes this.
  2. tomfromsc
    very nice read enjoyed it....thanks
  3. Hyper_Chicken05
    Very good article but the Rooster will always be above the "Diva hen".
  4. Henrik Petersson
    Reminds me of my thread in the forum, "The Tao of Chickens"...
  5. chicknmania
    Love this article! Very cute, and oh so true!
  6. FiddleChics
    Very lovely article! There were a lot of really great points and observations! The only thing I would have added (which is something I just LOVE about my chickens) that they come out of the coop each morning -with bright enthusiasm and eagerness! Yesterday's over... and they're kinda like "Today's new -so let's see what wonderful things it has in store for us!" The hens are so cheerful and I treasure that little reminder each day - from them! :love
  7. Kathy Sistare
    Good article. I am still a newbie with chickens, our oldest are six months old, and the rest of our flock, ten of them, are younger. But, they are all different and have their own personality. We don't seem to have a Rooster, all hens and I think we are okay with that, but, I did want to try to let them free range, we have about 4 acres of land, but, since we don't have a Rooster I am afraid something might get them.
      Phaedra Winters likes this.
  8. Mountain Peeps
  9. LizStreithorst
    Extremely well written and totally true,
  10. Bonniebooboo
    A definite :thumbsup! Enjoyed the words of wisdom and observation.
  11. peckpeckpeck
    Words to live by!
    I never imagined how much I would learn from chickens. Thanks for sharing!
  12. Puranin
    This is so true. Very good article. I have a teenage roo I'm working with now
      BYCforlife likes this.
  13. Puranin
    This is so true. Very good article. I have a teenage roo I'm working with now
      BYCforlife likes this.
  14. Patinas
    Great article and well written! Enjoyed it very much!
  15. N F C
    Well written and fun to read! Thanks!
  16. Sylvester017
    So very true and well said!
  17. JesusHChicken
    Guess I'm the Diva Hen off to do my own thing. :)

    Awesome read!
  18. Jharris3
    Well written... loved it
      Amanda16 and black_dove2 like this.
  19. 21hens-incharge
    Well done! So many could learn so much from a flock of chickens if only they watch.
      Amanda16, Jharris3 and black_dove2 like this.
  20. Izzychicky
    I love this article
      Jharris3 and Dawnclucks22 like this.
  21. EggSighted4Life
    I love a good fun read! :thumbsup
  22. black_dove2
    So enjoyable to read. You have a way of turning a phase!

    Thank You
      Jharris3 likes this.

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