Chicken Flocks Socializing with People (Do you rank in the pecking order?)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Hishigata, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. Hishigata

    Hishigata Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens and humans are social creatures. Humans have communities and chickens have flocks, but what happens when the two intersect? Do chickens look at human owners as a part of the flock or a separate entity? I once had an injured duck arrive at the house to overwinter and it would try to interact with the hens but they would always drive it away. Similarly my current girls often drive pigeons, grackles, cats and squirrels out of "their" yard. Chickens seem less than accepting of other species so what about humans?

    My hens definitely recognize me and my roommate but are wary of any new comers. My hens curtsey when I reach down toward them as they would to a rooster or dominant hen (does that make me the flock rooster??). My top hen also sometimes tries to fight me, perhaps a challenge for a spot at the top of the pecking order. I am curious about other peoples experiences with flock dynamics. How do your hens respond to you and your family? Do you think you have a position in the pecking order or are you outside it?
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  2. DeYoungs

    DeYoungs Out Of The Brooder

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    Funny that you bring this up, wife and I talked about it this morning. The hens are social with us but when the neighbors come over not so much. Who would have ever thought.
     
  3. hennylover

    hennylover Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi,I have a question about social behavior,sort of...My girls are giveaways,I rehomed them, I'm new to chickens. Why do they peck at me? Not mean,but persistent as many sit in my lap..Any ideas,thanks!
     
  4. DeYoungs

    DeYoungs Out Of The Brooder

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    Bad habbits? LOL
     
  5. hennylover

    hennylover Out Of The Brooder

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    ha ha,[​IMG]I think they're doing it for attention,maybe,is this normal? As I said, I'm new to this..
     
  6. DeYoungs

    DeYoungs Out Of The Brooder

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    They may be looking for some snacks. I go out with my sandels and move my toes, pecking starts! Change thing around on the hens are they get very curious.
     
  7. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    The more you handle young birds the more likely they are to see you as part of the flock and include you in any aggressive interactions. I take a hands off approach and my birds grow up seeing me as a food source and not as another chicken.
     
  8. Hishigata

    Hishigata Chillin' With My Peeps

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    DeYoungs: I was really surprised when my girls would not come up to some friends who visited even with the motivation of treats! I guess they really do know us from other people. That or they dislike being outnumbered. I have also noticed they are also more wary of taller heavier men. I think since they are most accustomed to my roommate and I who are smaller people, large people really weird them out.


    hennylover: One of my girls used to kind of peck at my roommate because he has thicker arm hair and she must have thought it was some sort of food item. They also sometimes peck at freckles or white polka dots on my clothing. I'm not sure about the constant pecking; maybe they are just really hungry or a bit nervous. My dominant hen angrily pecks the ground, fluffs her feathers, and hunches her shoulder when she feels you are invading her space.
     
  9. DeYoungs

    DeYoungs Out Of The Brooder

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    Tried this at first but did not work out well. They are therapy for me to be honest! The smallest things amuze me all the time.
     
    grmmadawn likes this.
  10. Hishigata

    Hishigata Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, I suspect handling them does change things. I raised my hens in a large cardboard box in my study so there was a lot of time spent playing with the chicks since they were always close by making strange little chick noises. I kind of like being part of the flock (as long as I am the alpha hen) but it does mean I have to occasionally put my dominant hen back in her place. haha
     

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