We have two hens of unknown origin (long story; they wandered onto our property 3 weeks ago and "adopted" us ...). One's a big plump Austrolorps, the other a Leghorn (this from many hours of googling "chicken pictures" ...). I somehow got nominated to do the feeding, while my wife gets to coo and fuss. So when I'm out there and the Leghorn gets close and I reach down to pet her, she squawks and scurries. When my wife does it, she does this interesting behavior: she "bows" to my wife. Flattens her body, splays her wings out and downward, her perky tail flattens, and she trembles while my wife pets her. I told my wife (half jokingly) that "she's the Alpha hen, but she's acknowledging you as Uber Hen! Me, I'm just the guy who feeds them...." (said with a self-pitying pout of course). So what is really going on here? It looks very much like some kind of animal "submission behavior," similar to what a dog would do. Any ideas?