Hen head down, rooster head up

centrarchid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Sep 19, 2009
24,209
13,865
696
Holts Summit, Missouri
I have been out working on yard and taking refuse to dumpster which has me walking past a couple of my flocks and one of another. A pattern going on now is how the roosters differ not so subtly from hens of their respective harems. Hens are hunkered down scratching at ground looking for food while the attending rooster is holding head and to a lesser degree his tail up as he looks around. Hens away from rooster seem to spend more time looking around themselves. The pattern is particularly evident with a pair with territory centered on house. The hen has just over a dozen chicks about one week old and she must forage nearly constantly to keep their crops full. The tail-up by hen I think is a signal to rooster she is not vigilant so he should. The rooster can also be heard making a near continuous set of contact calls that indicate all is clear. A while back I used to refer to some of my juvenile free-ranging games a fescue sharks because of the way they held their tails while walking through high grass. With those birds the tail and head where held high. The tail serves as a visual signal.
 
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