Bonds stronger between chickens of same breed?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by AinaWGSD, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    So one of my speckled sussex, Pippen, has been in the house for the last two weeks being treated for an upper respiratory issue. This morning I decided to put her out in the tractor that's in the middle of the back yard (she still has two more treatments, so we can't turn her loose with the rest of the flock just yet). I expected there to be some pecking order issues with her being gone for so long and then reintroduced.

    But what really surprised me, is that the first chicken to go check her out was my other SS, Merri. She seems to recognize her hatchmate (being from a commercial hatchery I'm sure they aren't actually sisters). The next to notice was my rooster, who was trying to dance for Merri in spite of the fact that she was completely ignoring him. Then my SLW and EE, Tiger, who came in the same shipment as the SS. They both jumped onto the side of the tractor (it's a short A-frame) and Tiger proceeded to flare her hackles at Pippen (to which Pippen's response was to flare right back at her). This is more like what I was expecting. Next thing I know, Merri who had been on the other side of the tractor jumped up to the top of the tractor and proceeded to peck both Tiger and Gertrude (SLW) in defense of Pippen!

    Neither of my SS are hens I would have pegged at "top of the pecking order." They often seem to be somewhere in the middle. They definitely don't seem to get picked on (and my Ameraucana is clearly the bottom of the pecking order, she runs if anyone else so much as looks at her) and they rarely seem to take part in pecking order squabbles.

    Merri and Pippen have always gotten along, although they hadn't exactly been joined at the hip before I had to remove Pippen for treatment. And Merri has seemed to be spending a little more time off on her own since Pippen started her treatments. It makes me wonder just how long chickens do remember individual members of a flock and how strong those bonds are.
     
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Holts Summit, Missouri
    My games and red jungle fowl x games seem to be able to remember flockmates though at least a few days of separation so long as they are female or juvenile. Adult males seem to forget flockmates, especially other males, much more quickly. Having continous vocal contact seems to increase duration of bond when birds are physically separated.
     
  3. gallusdomesticus

    gallusdomesticus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lynn Haven, FL
    "Birds of a feather, flock together" certainly seems to be the case. My birds seem to segregate themselves by breed when free ranging, regardless of their pecking order.
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Mine segregate during first growing season based on who they are raised with or the harem they grew up in. During late fall early winter is time when new associations are formed that are usually mantained through following year. I have not been able to consistently see the "birds of a feather flock together" pattern.
     

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