coalition drives of larger individual from rival sub-flock

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by centrarchid, Oct 27, 2010.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
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    I have seen in past with American games that enough area and appropriate resources (roost, foraging area and water) enables adoption of nearly discrete home ranges as well as territories within those home ranges. Boundaries were maintaned by vocal displays by adult males and females (I could make out only some since the birds' behavior was affected by my presence if too close). Direct conflicts I never witnessed unless it involved roosters going into battle royal mode which if not addressed would generally result in effective loss of all unless they were penned up separately. The cool stuff what was going on before (in addition to vocalizations mentioned previously) that which apparently delayed the battle royal sequence. I never really witnessed the non-vocal and the context in which it occured because it was apparently infrequent.


    Today I observed only 15 feet from me a subflock (a.k.a. Gang-of-Four) drive a rival subflock (the Privitts) cockerol from the formers territory. The thread (https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=408146) shows existing home ranges fairly accurately. Two subflocks Gang-of-Four and the Cackles (12 dominiques and 5 red jungle fowl both at 9 weeks) are centered on a feeding / watering station and cover of heavy briars during most of daylight except about 15 minutes after dawn and 15 minutes before dusk when leaving roost at front of house or last round of bug chasing just prior to roosting. The territory from which the Privetts are excluded is the area immediately surrounded the feeding station and the cover. When individuals from the Privitts interact with individuals of the Gange-of-Four in the border area of their home ranges the Privitts win every time. The Privetts are made up of Privett strain American dominiques that are pushing 18 weeks of age and presently number 7 birds (4 female, 3 male). The Gang-of-Four is made up of two American games (one female, one male) and two Voter strain American Dominiques (one female, one male) that are about 12 weeks of age. Privetts as individuals are bigger than individuals of the Gang-of-Four with the greatest disparity involving the games.

    Getting to the meat of this, one of the Privett cockerols walked up by himself to the feeding station of the Gang-of-Four which initiated the interaction. He attempted to approach feeder and the male dominique (Elmo) of the Gang-of-Four faced off with the larger bird. This was not a faceoff like with two roosters. Elmo oriented him self at angle 45 degrees from facing tresspasser with body although eyes were fixated on tresspasser. Elmo also produced a growling sound. Initially the Privett cockerol appeared to be preparing to put Elmo in his place when Sally (♀ game) and Eduardo (♂ game) came up beside Elmo in similar posture and all three proceeded to chase the Privett cockerol back to his home range. Elmo delivered pecks but Sally and Eduardo appeared up to task. After chase, Eduardo and Elmo did a brief almost faceoff as if to fight before Eduardo made a chirping sound and rubbed himself against Elmo's chest. They all three then returned feeding station. They, as a group / coalition, defeated foe that would likely have driven off any one that stood alone. There is much more to these little buggers that pretty feathers, dumb looks and bad position in middle of food chain.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2010
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Fascinating. Thank you for taking the time to post.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    After work managed to get sort of a repeat on yesterdays interaction by enticing Privetts into territory of Gang-of-Four. Did this by filling feed station for latter about fifteen before doing same for the Privetts. Three Privett pullets went directly to the Gang-of-Four's feeding station where the Gang's dominique pullet (Una) engaged the leading Privett pullet (Privett again larger) and flogged the interloper. The rest of Gang-of-Four came to Una's aid and they chased the Privett pullets briefly back to their range. This time I could also here Elmo produce the growling grrrrr-gr-gr sound like yesterday. I think Una did same just before attacking other pullet. I now recall hearing the older American game stags make same sound when moving into area where any of the other subflocks are working on a patch of scratch feed. The birds not being one of the game stags promptly get out of way. The grrrrr-gr-gr sound is a threat not unlike a dominant dogs growl in terms of how it affects others. Both sexes make it. It is a sound that does not carriy well, therefore is used for short range communication. My Privett cockerols make same sound just before pecking me so they are not attacking without warning as I original thought. Gonna start making sound pre-emptively just before punting them when they give me sas. Maybe that will stop the sneak attacks, better communication.
     

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