Breed Discrimination

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Hayduke27, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. Hayduke27

    Hayduke27 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey folks. I have made an observation, and was just wondering if anybody has seen a similar phenomenon. I have 12 chickens, all the same age, but 7 different breeds. The pecking order is all worked out, and everybody lives relatively peacefully within the chicken social strata. However, I do still notice that, every so often, chickens of a certain breed will step away from the group and do their own thing together. Most of the time all the chickens have similar things on their minds (food, water, dust). However, sometimes the group think of one breed leads them to peruse the grass on the north side of the house, without anyone else (or some other such chicken activity). It's become a somewhat common occurrence to see the chickens of only one breed hanging out, doing something together.

    In my mind, this means that they can tell each other apart by appearance, and know which ones look most like themselves. Has anyone else noticed this going on in their flock?
     
  2. mrchicks

    mrchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Marans perch in one group and my Eggers perch in another. When out in the run they do tend to go in separate groups as well. They get along fine, and all eat together, but they do tend to do things (like wander off) with their own kind. Interesting.....
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2013
  3. lorain's fids

    lorain's fids Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 5 chickens-4 Dominiques and 1 Black Australorp. The Australorp is always by herself. Not sure if she is just a loner, or the 4 Dominiques don't like her cause she's different. [​IMG]
     
  4. TofuKat

    TofuKat Out Of The Brooder

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    I've noticed this with my flock of 12 as well. The paired breeds hang with their own type and the 3 that are singles of their breed tend to be more solitary. I was just wondering if we get chicks in the spring if I should go for at least two of each type.
     
  5. CheekyChicky44

    CheekyChicky44 Out Of The Brooder

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    When I had a larger flock, this was a common occurrence. I assume this behavior bred the adage "birds of a feather flock together" and that there is some evolutionary benefit to it but am not sure what.
     
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  6. CheekyChicky44

    CheekyChicky44 Out Of The Brooder

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    It's strange too because I wouldn't really think that they know what they look like, but they would have to in order to hang out with similar ones.
     
  7. Hayduke27

    Hayduke27 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Birds of a feather! I had never realized this, but I believe you are right! I also was very skeptical that a chicken could be aware of its own appearance, but that seems to be the case. Then again, maybe they are cooing softly to each other, so soft we can't hear... "I am a Brahma, come fellow minions, together we stand, united we fall!" [​IMG]
     
  8. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes, it's true chickens tend toward cliques. But the one factor nobody has mentioned is brooder groups. I've noticed that beyond breed the ones raised together in the brooder from day-olds become a "unit", and they tend to be best friends for life.

    My question is how many of these same breed chickens that always hang out together were raised together from chick-hood? Most people will get a batch of chicks of one particular breed to raise, and they will become a tight group, identifying as a unit. But if you get a mixed batch, they tend to do the same. That's my experience anyway.
     
  9. Hayduke27

    Hayduke27 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great point! I actually meant to specify this into my original post and forgot, glad you brought it up. I'm sure being raised together creates a strong bond. All of my chickens were raised together, and this is my first flock, so I haven't experienced the "brooderhood" first hand, but it makes complete sense.

    Another subtle grouping I notice at times is based upon "niceness". For example, I have a Mille Fleur D'Uccle bantam, and she's the only bantam. Due to her small size, she is at the bottom of the pecking order. The RIRs are mean to her, and the black sex links are not mean, but not nice. However, the Brahmas are the gentle giants, and she often falls in with them. She'll roll in the dust with them, even when she's getting squashed [​IMG] She also hangs out with the rooster a lot, because he won't let anyone pick on her. The two of them are quite the pair!
     
  10. mrchicks

    mrchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Eggers and Marans are from the same brooder. They arrived together, and have always been together. Weird.
     

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