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grieving hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sahagi, Dec 24, 2012.

  1. sahagi

    sahagi In the Brooder

    Sep 25, 2012
    Hi all. I am on my first flock of back yard hens, three 4-5 year old gals. This summer we lost the leader of the pecking order to kidney failure. After she died the other two were clearly out of sorts. They were skittish, seemingly afraid of each other and of me. They stopped laying eggs (though they are only occasional layers at this age and at this time of year anyway). And they were less vocal, too. I knew their pecking order was stressed, but didn't suspect there would be a change as one (Lala) is very meek and much smaller than the other (Tahlulabelle). After about a month they seemed to be more like themselves, accepting pets and treats from us, chattering more, and even laying a few eggs. The pecking order is the same, but now I think Lala is actually getting bigger.

    What are your experiences of hens grieving flock mates?

    Can hens literally grow into their new place in the pecking order?


  2. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Most folks don't realize that a flock's pecking order changes every time a bird is added or removed. (Thats why some "bully" hens can be taken down a step or two bt removing them for a bit of time and then returning them to the flock. Everybody goes through the process again, and the bully "starts out" low and has to establish her place in the pecking order again.)

    And I TOTALLY believe chickens mourn for each other (if they were close).

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