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Hello! New to Forum and raising chickens and amazed at how exciting it all is!!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Zedd12, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. Zedd12

    Zedd12 New Egg

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    Hi everyone, Thought I would sign up and join the community. I've gathered so much useful information from here, it's truly a wonderful site!
    Every time I've had a question and punched it into Google, this site has always been on top and always had the answers! Well... nearly always :p I have a few random questions below regarding social dependency and the pecking order

    First I'll start off my little (edit: looong) 'How the heck did I end up here??' story :)

    **Start Story**

    I'm a single dad with 2 little boys aged 3 + 5, a 6yr/old male boxer dog, 2x1yr/old long neck turtles and a collection of fishies.
    About 4 months ago, their child care they brought in a bunch of eggs in an incubator for all the kids to see and experience the wonder of new life entering this world! This was all very exciting and they would talk and talk and talk about these little chicks. Every time I dropped them off and picked them up we would take 15 mins to sit and have a handle of the chicks and in general fawn over these little cuties.
    Then they announce to the kiddies that we can adopt the chicks if we want! GEE Thanks for telling them that girls! (all the child carers are girls, and very lovely ones at that) I was hesitant at first because we had quite a collection of pets already, but then they told me that whatever chicks don't get adopted.. get the chop! Well, I couldn't let that happen, especially after I'd already formed a bit of a bond with them, so I agreed to bringing 2 home with me.
    Now, I had no idea what I was doing, what kind of chickens these were, no idea if they were male or female and basically no idea what to do with them!! So I read and read and read, and then read some more! I'll stop waffling on here and summarise with we ended up bringing them home, kept them inside for some time until they were old enough to go outside, bought a little ebay coop and wham bham, We were the proud owners of two little chicks! My boys named them Loveheart and Rainbow (LH and RB)... interesting choices boys..

    It was very surprising to me how interesting I found it to just sit and watch their interaction and behaviour.
    These two were best of pals, soulmates, they wouldn't leave each other side for ANYTHING! If one noticed the other had moved about 2meters away it was (and still is) head down, bum up and a quick dash back to the safety of the others side.
    As time went on they got bigger and bigger and being very new to this I still had no idea what sex they were until one fateful morning when I happened to be up very early I heard this pathetic adolescent attempt of a crow.. I live in a suburban area so a rooster is just not going to work here.. Wow did this make me upset! This was the black one (LB) and was my eldest favourite.

    I knew I would have to get rid of him but also knew I couldn't leave the girl on her own either so I looked up some local classifieds and found someone giving away rescued cage chooks and went and grabbed 2 lovely ladies. These girls are about 6 months old, twice as big as my babies and had their beaks clipped but they are very sweet, relaxed and both are laying 1 egg every two days for an added bonus.

    Of course this also meant my first ever introduction to the 'Pecking Order'! Now, I did research, watched some videos and thought I was ready, but it's a whole different kettle of fish the first time you see it in real life! LH and RB made it clear to the newcomers that they were down the bottom of the order, however.. they worked as a team???
    They would corner one of the new ladies and proceed to take turns in pecking her to establish their superiority. Was quite amusing watching two half pint chickens ganging up on a much bigger and older hen! After not much time, one lady was clearly on the bottom with the other being slightly above her but both definitely below LH and RB. For the first day of introduction the new ladies did attempt to have a few cracks at RB when they thought LH wasn't looking and a bit of a scuffle would start, but then LH would see and come charging in defending his girl and open up a can of whoop *** on whatever lady was having a go!
    They all get along fine now and the only assertiveness appears when I bring out some food treats, which is when the ladies get told to 'wait until we are finished and then you can have some treats'.
    For now LH is still with us. I've talked to my neighbours and informed them and if he starts making a racket and annoying them, then I'll have to get rid of him. We'll see how that goes as he gets older.

    **End Story**

    My Apologies for what ended up being a giant wall of text!! The long and short of it is that I honestly didn't realise how much I would love having chickens. They are super interesting and a lot of fun!
    I just have a couple of questions of which I am confused about that I would love if someone could help me understand.

    1) How rare is it to have what appears to be 2 'top chooks'? And with one being a girl and the other a boy? If I had to choose one I'd say LH is slightly higher up, but I've never seen him so much as glare at RB. He lets her have whatever she wants! Food from his mouth.. protective wing cuddles...

    2) Can someone confirm what breed these two are for me? And also what the Ladies are lower down?

    [​IMG]


    3) The above two are still inseparable!! God help you if you try to take one away from the other!. Much panic and crying. Is this normal for a Hen and a Rooster to be so obsessed and dependent on each other?

    4) Both Ladies are older and are laying. LH would be about 4 months old by now, so I'm wondering why he isn't showing any interest in spreading his seed with these two?? I've been watching them all very closely for a couple of weeks now and have yet to see ANY interest. Sure I could still be missing the action while I'm at work, but every single morning/evening and all through the weekend I've watched them closely but he just doesn't seem to care! Perhaps he's waiting for his special chicky babe RB to start laying and then he might get a jump start as to what he should be doing?

    5) Most of my research says the dominant chook will be the first to leave the Coop of a morning, but every morning it's always one of the Ladies who are the first to exit. Is this really an important indicator to who is the top chook?

    Many thanks for taking the time to ready my epic story! Apologies for the length!!! It's been quite the fun adventure and I like to share :p


    PHOTO'S! - They have an enclosed coop with a tiny run, but whenever I am home are allowed to roam behind the garage and up the rear of the backyard (decent sized area) Just need a permanent higher fence and then they can always have 'limited range'. They made a mockery of my 'temporary' fence. Cheeky buggers..
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    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
  2. SA Farm

    SA Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]

    1) How rare is it to have what appears to be 2 'top chooks'? And with one being a girl and the other a boy? If I had to choose one I'd say LH is slightly higher up, but I've never seen him so much as glare at RB. He lets her have whatever she wants! Food from his mouth.. protective wing cuddles...
    The top of the pecking order would be your rooster. His job is to find food and protect her, so that's all normal.

    2) Can someone confirm what breed these two are for me? And also what the Ladies are lower down?
    Sorry, not sure on the first two. I'm still learning about all the different breeds....The lower down ladies look like production reds to me.

    3) The above two are still inseparable!! God help you if you try to take one away from the other!. Much panic and crying. Is this normal for a Hen and a Rooster to be so obsessed and dependent on each other?
    Not that I'm aware of...usually the rooster will take care of all the hens, but some roosters have a definite favorite!

    4) Both Ladies are older and are laying. LH would be about 4 months old by now, so I'm wondering why he isn't showing any interest in spreading his seed with these two?? I've been watching them all very closely for a couple of weeks now and have yet to see ANY interest. Sure I could still be missing the action while I'm at work, but every single morning/evening and all through the weekend I've watched them closely but he just doesn't seem to care! Perhaps he's waiting for his special chicky babe RB to start laying and then he might get a jump start as to what he should be doing?
    Young roosters can take a while to start trying to mate. My one 6 month old just started trying last week with rather hilarious results! Poor guy [​IMG]

    5) Most of my research says the dominant chook will be the first to leave the Coop of a morning, but every morning it's always one of the Ladies who are the first to exit. Is this really an important indicator to who is the top chook?
    For my guys it seems more like the first out are at the bottom of the pecking order, rather than the top!
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
  3. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC!
    X2, the rooster usually winds up at the top of the pecking order, and a good rooster is a good protector and provider. Since you only had two chicks they established their pecking order a long time ago, and when you brought two new ones in it was a us vs them situation and the home team won as it usually does in the chicken game.
    Do you know what color the bottoms of LH's feet are? He could be a Black Australorp (they usually have white soles) or a Jersey Giant (Yellow soles), there are a couple other black breeds. Your other three girls all look like red sex links, crosses bred especially for laying lots of big brown eggs, they are sold under different names depending on the hatchery/cross they are, like Red Star, Golden Comet, ISA Brown etc. You might try posting pictures in the What Breed Or Gender Is This Forum to get a better id on them.
    Chickens that were raised together tend to stick together and can be very bonded, at least for a while. Eventually LH will probably start being unfaithful to RB and chasing after the older women.
    Roosters mature at different ages, and like Kathryn P said, some can take quite awhile. Roosters usually mature faster than the girls, but they are different breeds, and the RSL's are bred for early production.
    Ya, if they are locked in the coop, usually the first ones who want out are the lower ranking members who are running away before one of the bullies gets after them.
     
  4. Zedd12

    Zedd12 New Egg

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    Hello! Thanks for the welcomes and your replies! :)

    Not sure where I got it in my head that the dominant chook leaves the coop first! I've been doing so much reading I must have got my wires crossed.

    Not sure what colour the bottom of LHs feet are. I'll try and grab him tonight. He's getting harder to catch the older he gets!

    Prob safe to assume that once he hits puberty he'll start to find the Ladies more interesting. Same as us male homo-sapiens ;)

    Guess I'll just watch them and see what happens as they all get a bit older! Which is fine, they are so **** interesting to watch!! Many years ago we boys used to hassle our mate who was raising bantams. Now I feel like I'm hooked!

    Thanks again all :)
     
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Who comes out of the coop first probably depends on the dynamics of the flock. Sometimes the rooster comes out first to see if all is well before calling the girls out. Other times the rooster might chase the girls to get them to go outside. And of course, as was mentioned = if the lower order chickens are being bullied, they will just to leave the coop as soon as possible. They just want to flee from their tormentors.

    BTW are you from Australia or UK? Just curious

    PS the lower ranked girls are probably so because de-beaking makes it impossible to really peck well at another. Otherwise they would probably spank the disrespectful youngsters.
     
  6. liz9910

    liz9910 Overrun With Chickens

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  7. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC.
     
  8. DaisyFields

    DaisyFields Out Of The Brooder

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    Welcome!
    Yes, as others have said, the rooster will take alpha position, I'm just so happy you are going to keep him. My only advice is be sure that he's handled as much as the other and he will likely be a great pet as you move on... but if no one has warned you, chickens ARE addictive!
     
  9. Zedd12

    Zedd12 New Egg

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    @DaisyFields Righto, I'll try and handle him as much as we can. They were handled heaps as chicks but then less so as they got bigger. They're now a lot more timid than the ladies. Nothing some treats can't fix :) Too late for the warning though! Totally hooked!!

    @drumstick diva I'm in Aus, Newcastle. We've had some darn qwerky weather lately! They've gone from hot and humid 34C and walking around in the shade with their wings out a bit to catch the breeze to suddenly having torrential downpours almost flooding their area!

    @Kelsie2290 I had a look and as far as I can tell his soles are black under the toes with a grey/white in the centre. I'll take some pics and post in the appropriate forum

    I don't think the Ladies are getting bullied. Ihaven't witnessed any 'attacks' since the first couple of days when they were introduced. I think they just know there are heaps and heaps of bugs and critters ready for the taking in the slightly over grown area behind and beside the garage. They snob their pellets unless there is absolutely NO other option of food.
    They also make excellent foilage removers! I was dreading getting the whipper snipper out to clear that area, but wow have they done a great job of it!

    Thanks for the extra welcomes!

    Oh a final question!... at night there are a lot of cockroaches in the area, especially near the dog food bowl (why he ALWAYS leave some bickies in there I do not know). Would it disturb the chickens much if I wear to grab one or two chickens after they have put themselves to bed to have a feeding frenzy on them? I did it a few times when it was just LH and RB and it was quite possibly one of the funniest things I have seen. Those roaches got SMASHED! which is fine with me. Gross little things...
     

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