Chicken hierarchy and family roles

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by AmyMurphy, Mar 18, 2015.

  1. AmyMurphy

    AmyMurphy Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a question about my 4 hens. When all are hens is it normal for one to take on the "father" role and be the head of the family and another to take on the "mother" role and then the kids? This seems to be the case with our 4 and I want to be sure its normal. I know about pecking order but this is different bc the one we consider the "father" of the group has started a sort of crow that sounds more like a clown car horn. I'd say it was the start of a young rooster except that she is 17 weeks old already and just started doing it. So, I want to know if she could be taking over even the role of the rooster in trying to crow? None of the other 3 have attempted this noise, I mean, crow.
    Thanks.
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Can you post a picture of the one "tooting her own horn?" In a flock without a rooster, one hen will definitely be the leader. But as far as some of them taking on the role of "the children", I don't see that happening. There will be a lead hen, and the rest will fall in some order below her in the pecking order.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I have a Speckled Sussex hen who began crowing a couple years ago while the flock still had roosters. Since then, she will practice sometimes for an hour several times a week, occasionally sounding pretty close to the real thing.

    The last rooster died last summer, and this spring, I have only just noticed this hen is now sporting a huge, very erect comb, much larger than she's ever had in all of her five years.

    However, she is a long way from assuming leadership of the flock, there being many more senior hens. In fact, the unchallenged leader has always been and still is the eldest hen, a Brahma of seven years, who just laid an egg today, as an interesting aside.

    From things that I've read about chicken sexuality, it's not at all uncommon for hens to assume male roles, especially in the absence of a rooster.
     
  4. AmyMurphy

    AmyMurphy Out Of The Brooder

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    It's the one in my profile pic sorry, the other two look identical and hang out together every minute so we think of them as the "evil twins" while the other two play mom and dad. Interesting that the dad one who started trying to crow is injured and the other one will scratch and back up for her and sit with her and protect her. It's so cute.
     
  5. AmyMurphy

    AmyMurphy Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you everyone.
     

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