Your Chickens - - Chickpix -

Chick­ens have their own lan­guage — and so do chicken peo­ple. Do you ever won­der what a word in Your Chick­ens means? Here is Hat­tie to the res­cue with her own hencyclopaedia...

The Peck­ing Or­der Do your chick­ens peck each other? Some­times it looks quite painful — the hen be­ing pecked might give a squawk that sounds like ‘ouch’. There may even be a fight be­tween hens un­til one gives in and runs away. It doesn’t seem very nice, but it is quite nor­mal.

A group of chick­ens must or­gan­ise their lives to pro­tect them­selves and each other. If there is a cock­erel, he will take charge of the flock, but oth­er­wise one of the hens will be top chicken.

Some­times two hens both want the job and that can cause a fight. The top chicken eats first, has the best perch and the choice of nest­box. She will also try to pro­tect the flock and warn of any dan­ger.

There will be a sec­ond-in-com­mand, and then a third, and so on. Once this is de­cided, the chick­ens will live to­gether peace­fully, un­less some­one steps out of line.

If that hap­pens she will be re­minded of her place with a sharp peck from a more se­nior bird. That’s why it’s called the ‘peck­ing or­der’.

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