Question for the Chicken Psychiatrists out there:

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by so lucky, Jul 23, 2011.

  1. so lucky

    so lucky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If I have a favorite chicken and give her more attention than I do the others, does that make the other chickens more agressive to her, or does it raise her in the ranks? Does it make the other chickens want more attention, or alienate them? (I know, I know, the human needs a psychiatrist.) I don't guess there is anything a person can do to help the bottom chicken improve her standing. [​IMG]
     
  2. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

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    Sounds like you should be asking Oprah, I fear you may be giving the chickens more intelectual credit, You may be over thinking this a bit, chickens aren't that smart or care that much. You think like a Human and your chickens well........... they think like chickens LOL, they are not the same in any way by any stretch.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2011
  3. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Is she your favorite because she's the friendliest? If so, she's probably the friendliest BECAUSE she's at the bottom of the pecking order. My most submissive (low pecking order hens) are always the friendliest. Good luck- and remember that she's a chicken, not a person [​IMG]
     
  4. Abirdbrain

    Abirdbrain Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have Yard chickens that jump up in my lap, play with shoe laces, and follow all over the back yard. Love? Hate? Doubt it. I think they remember we bring food and make things like doors move, but otherwise they have a about a three second memory for happenings. Chest butts and charges start , and are over just as fast, in a wink of an eye. They just pic and poke, and walk around sampling most anything. One will pick a dandelion stalk, and the others will chase the 'worm' just because its there.

    Chickens are a ton of fun, and very good at chicken things. But thats about it. We tend to project our human emotions and reactions onto them, to satisfy ourselves, and our needs to connect. In the end, they are food, or a pet. I dont name food, and I dont pet my food. We have two named Hens that run the yard. That is it. Oh and Henry, the hoarse rooster we dont want. He is funniest of all. The hens all beat his bantam white butt constantly, truly henpecked! [​IMG]
     
  5. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

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    I think they feel. It was recently shown in a study that chickens can show and experience empathy.

    Often, if you take the dominant hens out and isolate them for a week, the pecking order will shift and allow bullied hens to gain a bit of confidence.

    Hope that helps!
     
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Eat all the others and the standing of the lowest ranked bird increases.
     
  7. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

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    Quote:[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  8. mcjweb

    mcjweb Out Of The Brooder

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    My number one in pecking order is super friendly and loving , now number two she has to prove it to all the rest constantly, she does not have much interaction with me at all.
     
  9. cluck shmucks

    cluck shmucks Out Of The Brooder

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    What if chickens are, in fact, extremely intelligent and just have this horrible, severe case of hereditary OCD? Perhaps they actually know they are being goofy, or "irrational", but can't help it. [​IMG] "It's not a worm, it's not a worm, it's not a worm... but I HAVE to have it! I can't stop myself!" Okay, so not very helpful, but the image makes me snicker. [​IMG]

    ChooksChick, I agree with you. I don't know much about chickens other than what I've observed in the last 6 weeks, having my own new chicks. But, I have watched them grow and develop these individual little personalities, and my "least favorite" (least pretty, was stand-offish, etc.) chick has recently done a 180 and is now my all-out favorite because... She has become extremely friendly and loving, and gets very excited to see me any time I come around, while all the others are obviously just excited for food. (They are still in a water-trough in our basement while we *hopefully* finish the coop this week!) Every time I walk in the room, she hops up on the edge and sits there and talks to me. We also have a little bantie roo that does the same, and they have little jealousy fits over who gets to say hi first. They both leave the food to come talk and sit on me, but the roo will go back and eat, scritch around, and then come back, over and over. Salsa, the new favorite, will come and stay with me instead of eating. It has nothing to do with a pecking order, she is often one of the first to eat, and so far, none of them pick on each other or exert dominance in an aggressive way at feeding time--it's pretty much a pig-pile, they all crowd right around the same spot instead of spreading out around the feeder. Last night in particular, Salsa would not go eat until I put her down and walked away. She has learned to fly up to my arm when I put it up for her, even from far away, and she gets jealous and chucks and sputters and clucks in a very irritated fashion if I hold someone else and don't hold her at the same time. It is quite funny, and very, very cute! She has taken a liking to me apparently, and her jealousy is obvious if I pay more attention to someone else.

    They all have their favorite buddies, and get upset when they leave (like, if we are holding them), but at the end of the day they all pile up together and go to sleep. I do think they have short attention spans, and okay, maybe aren't the smartest, but I don't think that means they don't feel emotion! Perhaps not in the sense that we humans experience it, maybe in more of an instinctual, less self-analyzed sense (mother with babies for instance), but I do think there is a feeling factor in there somewhere! I think it is there with all animals, and we humans just like to think we are so much more intelligent than everything else that we assume the "best" factors of life are species specific, and that only the "best" species have them--US! I think there is an obvious language barrier, and we will never fully understand any species of animal, not even ourselves. [​IMG]
     
  10. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

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    Quote:X2 exactly to bad there are way too many people who feel the opposite. That is also the main reason I think there is a rash of poor caregivers ( for lack of a better word ) Too many folks not knowing any better and torturing their birds whith human emotions, clouding their ability to properly figure the deal out. JMO !!!!
     

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