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hen keeping head down amoung feeding chicks

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by centrarchid, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I have seen this many times before, including postings on this site. A hen with young chicks gets her head done amoung them as they feed or mill about. Rooster doing same when he finds food supply. I can find no literature discussing behavior or I am not tracking using correct terminalogy.

    Why do they do this?
     
  2. Pinky

    Pinky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    Sorry. Accidental post.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2011
  3. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know of any studies but have you ever noticed that if a person bends over to look at something, anyone standing around them usually bends over to look too? Maybe a show by example thing? I have noticed the rooster pretending to find food and calling to the hens to get them to come over. I looked and the cheat was picking up a piece of stick and dropping it down. There was no special food to be had.
    sharon
     
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Food indication appears legimate with respect to chicks, even when rooster involved. Rooster in this case very honest about food quality / quantity and his efforts directed at chicks rather than hen.
     
  5. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In the beginning I could see it as a manner to show them how to eat and find the food. After a bit though I can't think what the function would be unless to encourage them to eat well?
    sharon
     
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    As an observation over the years, it appears that the chicks/hens depending upon the scenario, orient their beaks/eyes in the direction that the hen or rooster is "pointing." Perhaps it is a "food indication."
     
  7. AKsmama

    AKsmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree that it's a food indication. Roosters do the same sort of thing sometimes when they do the food call- they "point" with their heads to the area of interest.
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    At this time with brood being observed, I can lay down on ground and call hen (Sallie) to me, then point to ground with finger just above surface and chicks will bolt to my hand and start looking around. When I put my ear close to hen as she does her pointing bit, she appears to be making a snuffling sound that can just barely be made out. When she has her head down like that she can not see potential incoming predators.

    Sallie makes tid-bitting (food call) when chicks more than a few inches away reserving the snuffle-sound for when chicks are right next to her head. Rooster (father) makes tid-bitting call to chicks as well but I can not determine if he makes the snuffle-sound. To hear snuffle-sound ear has to be within 18 inches to make it out.
     

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