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’.