Chicken behavior question...

jaymub

Chirping
5 Years
Jan 11, 2015
21
41
54
I am new to chickens as I got my first peeps on 3/1/15. I have 4 Easter Eggers, a Barred Rock, and a buff Orpington. 3 of the EEs ended up being roosters. So far so good. Everyone is getting along great but I am keeping a close eye because I know my hen to rooster ratio is WAY off.
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Anyway, I saw such an intriguing behavior tonight from my little flock that I was curious to what some of you experts thought of it...
I visit with the chickens every day and bring them treats. In an effort to keep them tame, as they snack on their treats, I pet them and put them in my lap one by one. Some are definitely more comfortable with this and even seem to like to sit on my lap, while some keep their distance as I try to handle them (but still are comfortable enough to be right next to me to eat treats
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) While one chicken (rooster or hen) sits on my lap the others could care less, happily enjoying whatever treat i brought... until tonight. I picked up one of the standoffish roosters. He settled on my lap and seemed quite comfortable there. The other 2 roosters and 1 of the hens became VERY anxious while he sat on my lap. They became noisy with their chatter and were all trying to get onto my lap with him. I put him back down and they were fine. This happened twice. Very interesting behavior to me and I became so curious as to what it all means??!! Lol
Anyway, thanks for reading my long post and I appreciate any insight. Thank you so much!!
 

jaymub

Chirping
5 Years
Jan 11, 2015
21
41
54
How cute!! It certainly did look like jealousy... LOL Who knew?? I just wonder why they only reacted this way for the one rooster??
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
22,952
32,602
1,102
Colorado Rockies
Yup! Chickens get jealous. It's dependent on the pecking order who gets jealous of whom.

The more you interact with your chickens, expect those that couldn't care less to begin to care. They see their mates enjoying a good thing, and they learn to want some of what they see the others obviously enjoying.

I have had some of my hens for six and seven years. My seven-year old matriarch has always been a lap hog, demanding lap time and cuddling when she sees me. She's a Brahma and the breed is naturally friendly. My six-year old Wyandottes are not. However, after all this time watching the Brahma cuddling in my lap, these stand-offish hens have finally decided they are ready for lap hugs now.

Watch your stand-offish ones watching. You never know how long it will take, but they are thinking it over every time you do lap time with the others.
 

jaymub

Chirping
5 Years
Jan 11, 2015
21
41
54
Thanks azygous! I appreciate your experienced observations. I'm curious what it may mean for my rooster that they became jealous of so quickly as far as pecking order goes... Do you think it means he's the "chicken in charge" ? Or just the opposite?? He is the biggest rooster but has always been a gentle giant. I'm just trying to figure out my little flock's dynamics. It's so cute and interesting to me. I am definitely quickly becoming a crazy chicken lady
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Thanks again!!
 

DanEP

Songster
10 Years
May 15, 2010
1,026
142
226
Cadiz Ky
It seems like the lower the lap sitter is in the pecking order the faster the top chickens get jealous as their getting perks the top guys didn't. Just be careful about making lap chickens out of the roosters.A rooster that isn't just a little bit afraid of you might decide that he can dominate you when the hormones kick in at 5-6 months I spoil the girls and ignore the boys. We have an understanding of you don't mess with me and I won't mess with you.Some roosters will be fine as lap chickens some will see it as weakness and try to make you part of his flock where he's the boss. I never allow that to happen I just spoil the girls and let the roosters be roosters, in the long run you'll both be happier.
 

jaymub

Chirping
5 Years
Jan 11, 2015
21
41
54
Thanks DanEP, I was kinda thinking that it might mean that my gentle giant Roo was at the lower end of pecking order. I'm getting so nervous about these roosters and what they'll be like as they mature and now it seems I've been doing the opposite of what I should be doing!! Thanks again for your thoughts and advice. I guess I have to rethink how I'm handling these roosters :(
 

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