Who's the head of your pecking order?

Jul 17, 2018
34
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United States
I'll go first. Out of my chickens, the leader of the pecking order is a Blue Americana hen named Grey. She will be five years old next month. She's one of my favorites and her story is quite interesting I think.

During her youth, she was quite a personality. She was raised with another Blue Americana (named Dory) and three Barnevelders. Dory was much smaller than Grey and the Barnevelders, so Grey decided to basically adopt Dory and protected her from the power-hungry Barnevelders. Anytime Dory was bullied, Grey would come to her defense. However, this is where Grey's generosity ends. The rest of her youthful personality consisted of arrogance and aggression. When my first ducks were hanging outside as mere teenaged ducklings, Grey decided to attack one of them in order to assert dominance. The duckling was injured, but recovered a few weeks later. Following this, the ducks completed their integration. Grey decided to attack them again, but this time couldn't injure any of the ducks because they had grown in their adult feathers. The three ducks dogpiled on Grey, and she gave up her attacks after a few days. It was quite a humbling experience, she hasn't attacked a duck since then. This was four and a half years ago.

Grey also made a name for herself by standing up to the oppression of the three older hens I had at the time. Specifically, there was one I called Jessie that claimed an entire roost to herself. Her ego was that large, which considering she was a New Hampshire Red, wasn't too much of a surprise. Anyway, Grey decided it would be a phenomenal idea to challenge Jessie every night for months. Each night, she would perch up on Jessie's roost and refuse to leave. In response Jessie would peck Grey constantly until she abdicated. Jessie would always win, but sometimes Grey would endure minutes of pecking before leaving the roost.

Today, Grey is a much more humble chicken. She finally claimed top spot out of all the chickens last year, when the last of my older chickens passed away due to old age. Unlike her predecessors, Grey is happy to roost with literally anyone and will share Jessie's Roost with any chicken that wants to be up there. She's always in the middle of forging parties and stuff like that. A real leader. However, there is still one trace of her old self. Anytime she perceives that a chicken is challenging her authority, she will relentlessly chase them across the property. They can bow, they can run, they can cluck, doesn't matter, Grey will chase them until she feels that her point has been made. However, Grey will never be at the top of the entire pecking order. That spot goes to the ducks. The one she attacked all those years ago is still around today and is currently second in command of the entire pecking order, behind only my guard goose.

Here are some pictures of Grey over the years.
 

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PippinTheChicken

Dr Pippino Chickino 🐣
Premium Feather Member
Mar 19, 2021
7,266
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UK
My Coop
My Coop
Pippin! She's a white silkie, and one of my first chickens. I bought her when she was 6 months old in September 2020 with her Sister (Fries) and they began my chicken keeping adventure! Although I don't now her real birthday, I roughly calculated it and I celebrate it on the 1st of April, that makes her 19 months old.

She's not a very cuddly chicken, but she doesn't mind being petted and hand fed. She LOVES chicks, She hatched her first babies in June 2021, and is currently raising some chicks with the 2nd top hen, Blue (they have 2 chicks each but they share). She's quite a drama queen too, if the wind blows to hard, If I've moved the feeder, if someone's in her nest etc she will scream (BAKAAA BAKAA BAKAAA) until I come and fix it. I love her loads!

pips.jpg
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3KillerBs

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
12,075
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North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
That's actually hard to determine for me.

Nobody messes with Chipotle, the California White. She eats when she wants to. She perches where she chooses. She's the one who investigates all strange happenings.

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But she doesn't seem to be a leader in that she's often separate from the rest of the flock doing her own thing away from the group.

Cordon and Teriyaki, the adult Blue Australorps, are molting and not currently held in the respect that they formerly were.

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So right now, and this could be subject to change once the molt is complete, the leader is probably Lickety, the largest and first maturing of the Splits (Lavender Orpington x Silver-Laced Wyandotte). She's the one who leads the attempt to pop out the door when I open it. She's first to the food and perches where she want to perch. She's got the others clustered around her, going where she goes.

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But she doesn't mess with Chipotle.

Ludwig, the 6-month-old, Black Langshan cockerel, is learning to lead, but only followed by the Cochin and Marans pullets and his breed-sister -- his age-peer Dominiques are in the crowd around Lickety. (He can also be found "babysitting" the 7-week chicks).

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Chikyboy

Crowing
Oct 14, 2021
1,094
4,073
281
Nebraska
Pippin! She's a white silkie, and one of my first chickens. I bought her when she was 6 months old in September 2020 with her Sister (Fries) and they began my chicken keeping adventure! Although I don't now her real birthday, I roughly calculated it and I celebrate it on the 1st of April, that makes her 19 months old.

She's not a very cuddly chicken, but she doesn't mind being petted and hand fed. She LOVES chicks, She hatched her first babies in June 2021, and is currently raising some chicks with the 2nd top hen, Blue (they have 2 chicks each but they share). She's quite a drama queen too, if the wind blows to hard, If I've moved the feeder, if someone's in her nest etc she will scream (BAKAAA BAKAA BAKAAA) until I come and fix it. I love her loads!

View attachment 2898082 View attachment 2898084
As soon as I saw that you had posted on this thread, I knew it had to be Pippin!
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Aug 7, 2020
9,419
42,524
983
Belding, MI
My pullets are sort of a sub-flock to the hens right now. Among the hens, Little doesn't assert herself often, but nobody bosses her around. Among the pullets, Stormy is the brave one. Those three hang together and I rarely see any challenges, though the bottom hen will chase and peck them.

It'll be interesting when the pullets are all laying and the flock becomes more cohesive. Who will be top girl?

Darl, my roo, is the boss of the flock, I guess, but is mostly a "beaks off" kind of guy.
 

vantain

Songster
Sep 2, 2018
738
1,365
188
Southern Minnesota
My boss hen is a 3 1/2 year old ISA Brown named Gwyneth. She is also the smallest and lightest of the 7 hens I have. But she’s 3.8lbs of fury if you try to challenge her. She’s held her own against the other mixed breeds who all weigh about 6.5lbs and larger. My heaviest is a 7.8lb RIR, who I would say is probably second in the pecking order. Gwyneth is actually not doing great right now, so I wonder if she will be healthy enough to survive this winter.
 

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My Three Chicks

Songster
May 3, 2021
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366
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Los Angeles, CA
My boss hen is a 3 1/2 year old ISA Brown named Gwyneth. She is also the smallest and lightest of the 7 hens I have. But she’s 3.8lbs of fury if you try to challenge her. She’s held her own against the other mixed breeds who all weigh about 6.5lbs and larger. My heaviest is a 7.8lb RIR, who I would say is probably second in the pecking order. Gwyneth is actually not doing great right now, so I wonder if she will be healthy enough to survive this winter.
Gwyneth is beautiful! I'm sorry to hear she's not well. I hope she rebounds and continues her top dog status for a long time to come!
 
Jul 17, 2018
34
62
84
United States
My boss hen is a 3 1/2 year old ISA Brown named Gwyneth. She is also the smallest and lightest of the 7 hens I have. But she’s 3.8lbs of fury if you try to challenge her. She’s held her own against the other mixed breeds who all weigh about 6.5lbs and larger. My heaviest is a 7.8lb RIR, who I would say is probably second in the pecking order. Gwyneth is actually not doing great right now, so I wonder if she will be healthy enough to survive this winter.
Sorry to hear she's not doing well! I totally forgot to mention that Grey is only 3.5 lbs, so it seems size really doesn't matter for who gets to be on charge. It's all about the attitude!
 

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