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"Racist" Chickens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TheNat, May 17, 2010.

  1. TheNat

    TheNat In the Brooder

    May 4, 2010
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    Hi, I have 4 chicks, 5 1/2 weeks old. I have 2 Production Reds and 2 SLWs. I've noticed that the birds tend to self-segregate by breed. I let them out for some supervized free ranging a couple of hours each day day and lock them indoors at night in a temporary coop made out of a couple of washing machine boxes. I expanded to 2 boxes because at night the birds fight for their favorite side of the roost (which changes from night to night) and it seems it is always the SLWs vs. the Reds. My SLWs are bigger, but what the Reds lack in size they make up for with noise and ornriness. With the two boxes, sometimes the Reds hang out in one and the SLWs in the other (there's a door in between the two so they can go back and forth).

    I should add that overall the birds get along, the 4 of them stick together when they are outside and if one of them is separated the other three get anxious, regardless of who it is. But when they're outside durring the day, usually they pair up with the one that looks like them (Reds dust bathe while the SLWs scratch, Reds drink water while the SLWs forage, etc.

    My dad says he thinks it's just a "Birds of a feather flock together," thing, since the ones of the same breed have similar personalities. The SLWs are friendly and ike to stay close to me, whereas the Reds are more standoffish. The Reds are loud, especially at night, and the SLWs are quiet, etc. Also for a while the bigger SLWs could jump up on the roost easily while the Reds had a harder time and preferred sleeping on the floor. Now they all roost at night, but usually the Reds roost on one side and the SLWs on the other.

    Do anyone elses birds group themselves by breed?
  2. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Crowing

    Apr 19, 2009
    I would probably chalk it up to coincidence more than anything. The only self-imposed breed segregation I've witnessed in all the chickens I've owned is with silkies, they do tend to keep to their kind a little more so than the others. Right now we only have one silkie though and so, for the time being anyway, her best friends are two ducks.
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member 11 Years

    They do gravitate toward others that look like them. It's natural for them.
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    My darks tend to hang with the darks, the buffs with the buffs and the lights with the lights. Birds of a feather do indeed flock together.
  5. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    Aug 25, 2008
    Quote:Yes, they do.
  6. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    Quote:i agree...
  7. TheNat

    TheNat In the Brooder

    May 4, 2010
    Santa Fe, New Mexico
    Thanks guys for confirming my chickens are "normal." I'm trying to love them all the same, but it's hard when the SLWs seem to be more naturally friendly.
  8. slayden

    slayden In the Brooder

    Apr 13, 2010
    Black Earth, WI
    When I was a kid we always had a fairly large mongrel flock that kept interbreeding. I'm sure at some point my dad started with some pure breeds but they were all 'mutts' by the time I was old enough to tell. There were light, dark, barred, feather-legged, you name it, but to some extent they were all related after a while. Although there was plenty of time the chickens completely intermingled, it seemed extremely common for all the black birds to roost together, all the smaller birds would group up, and even the chickens with muffs would stick together. At one point we had three roosters seemed to favor a hen that matched themselves in color and size.

    Of course, once you're looking to see the similar birds sticking together you'll start to notice the times they do and you'll be less likely to pay attention when they don't. I'm sure that 'birds of a feather DO flock together' to some extent, but I think that many times it was the result of my human brain trying to find order where there probably wasn't any.

    Right now I force order on them by raising only one variety, so I can't speak to any recent experience.
  9. chicchick

    chicchick In the Brooder

    Jan 6, 2009
    Eastern Massachusetts
    My naked neck is often off on her own while the white, the buff orpington and the wyandotte tend to stick together. Just for the record, I named the dark naked neck "Coco Chanel" because she is so understatedly elegant!!! (I think the others are jealous) [​IMG]
  10. shawnm2639

    shawnm2639 Songster

    Apr 13, 2009
    Woodlake Ca
    OMG..I am so glad I ran across this thread. My flock consists of my "Black girls", "White girls" and "Wild girls". [​IMG] I used to name the friendly ones but they all seem to go missing after a while so I stopped. They definately feather flocked. [​IMG] And it was so hard since they all free ranged for me to explain to hubby unless I called them sumthin. [​IMG]

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