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behavior of groups

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by centrarchid, Sep 13, 2010.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Anyone observe their chickens breakup into distinct groups that seldom interact with other groups. The groups I am thinking of are based on adults; a dominant rooster with a group of females and usually a couple subordinate roosters that move about periphery of group. Such will not usually occupy same place at same time and will roost in different locations. In my case they roost in different buildings. The young ones do something else once they leave momma with momma usually going back to her group.
     
  2. mmaddie's mom

    mmaddie's mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes... distinct groups... separated by age and sub-groups by color...

    "Birds of a feather..." [​IMG]

    w/ the exception of the Head Roo... he loves ALL the girls but usually has a favorite wife who rarely looks anything like him... ie. an Ameraucauna roo and a Turken hen... or... a roo 3 times larger than his favorite wife (she loved him, too, and would tuck herself up under his side to roost at night).
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    What I am seeing plays out on a 5 acre farm lot with several buildings serving as roosts and nesting cites.

    The groups I have been seeing have a head rooster that only hens from his group report to (no supreme leader) once first cohort of young roosters start dominating hens of their group. All young roosters that come to dominate the smaller groups are sons of the head rooster and hens of the group to which they belong. Hens from outside group avoid roosters from other groups. Social groups do not seem to be based on color, in part because I do not have multiple breeds free ranging. Segregation by age yes with chicks of a given brood staying together and roaming independently most of time from group their mother belongs to. Juveniles tend to go back to roost with natal (mom's) group but as they get older they are more inclined to roost in trees away from all full adults (hatched last year or before).

    Normally I would soon be harvesting all roosters and most of pullets before adding a new old rooster to father next years chicks. I am going to let things go a little longer this year with pullets by not harvesting them. I am very interested in tracking where young-of-year as weather gets cold. If like previous years remaining young will move into buildings. Wiil they go back to momma or some other group?
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    mmaddie's mom :

    Yes... distinct groups... separated by age and sub-groups by color...

    "Birds of a feather..." [​IMG]

    w/ the exception of the Head Roo... he loves ALL the girls but usually has a favorite wife who rarely looks anything like him... ie. an Ameraucauna roo and a Turken hen... or... a roo 3 times larger than his favorite wife (she loved him, too, and would tuck herself up under his side to roost at night).

    What kinds of birds do you have that seggragate based on color? Does pattern persist as they become adults?​
     
  5. mmaddie's mom

    mmaddie's mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:What kinds of birds do you have that seggragate based on color? Does pattern persist as they become adults?

    My birds are just mixed mutts... with colors from white to brown to black to gold. Just tonight watched as a group of 3 black hens dust bathed and when they got up the brown birds took their turn. I have noticed this for years as the birds become adults... at first they will all hang with their hatch mates, then separate as they mature to hang with birds of the same dominant color. As I said, the ROO is the only one that likes everyone (hens, that is).
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,451
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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    mmaddie's mom :

    Quote:What kinds of birds do you have that seggragate based on color? Does pattern persist as they become adults?

    My birds are just mixed mutts... with colors from white to brown to black to gold. Just tonight watched as a group of 3 black hens dust bathed and when they got up the brown birds took their turn. I have noticed this for years as the birds become adults... at first they will all hang with their hatch mates, then separate as they mature to hang with birds of the same dominant color. As I said, the ROO is the only one that likes everyone (hens, that is).​

    How many birds make up your flock? Do they have more than one roost site? A very important question is do they brood their own chicks?
     
  7. 33yardbirds

    33yardbirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 15, 2010
    Southern New Jersey
    Ours all intermingle from group to group, all the same age and raised together. The Roosters don't really care what gruop they're in, but they run across the yard to knock each other off hens. Barred rocks and Buff Rocks.
     
  8. mmaddie's mom

    mmaddie's mom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:My birds are just mixed mutts... with colors from white to brown to black to gold. Just tonight watched as a group of 3 black hens dust bathed and when they got up the brown birds took their turn. I have noticed this for years as the birds become adults... at first they will all hang with their hatch mates, then separate as they mature to hang with birds of the same dominant color. As I said, the ROO is the only one that likes everyone (hens, that is).

    How many birds make up your flock? Do they have more than one roost site? A very important question is do they brood their own chicks?

    I usually keep between 20-30 birds. Free range with only one roost site at night... excess young roos will roost on top of the same pen. Yes, brood and hatch their own babies... well a broody hen will sit on and hatch a mixed batch of eggs (green,brown,white), whoever layed an egg in that nest... so genetically they may not be that exact hen's. Occasionally I will bring a small batch of unrelated day-old babies home to give to a broody hen... I like to add new blood to the flock like this about once a year.

    edited to add... I really thought that is where the old saying "Birds of a feather flock together" came from... well, wild birds, too.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010
  9. shchinchillas

    shchinchillas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 8, 2010
    PA
    We normally have 2-3 groups with just 16 chickens free-ranging at the current time. When I add the next 23 into the group, I'll see how it plays out.

    Normally you can find Sampson(blk sex-link) and his 6 red hens(sex links). The 2 white silkie roosters with their 5 girls. Bonzo(blk sex link) and his black sex-link go from group to group. Normally hanging out with Sampson and his 6 hens, however Bonzo and her will join with the silkies from time to time. When it comes to roosting: Bonzo, Sampson and the 6 reds roost together. The 7 silkies roost together, and the black sex link hen finds the highest spot in the barn and roosts alone. These guys were purchased within a few days of each other, and grew up together.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I have been seeing the knocking off business as well. Only rooster immune is the old one. Roosters seem to give hens outside their group unwanted advances at every opportunity. Interesting how when dominant bird goes to disrupt a young roosters daliance, another young rooster will go in after one of the old roosters courtisans.
     

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