Low on the Pecking Order?

Everyone, at one time or another, has heard the phrase, “low on the pecking order.” Do you know how that saying originated?

If you have ever owned or watched chickens you will notice how some randomly assume authority over others. This behavior can be most easily seen during feeding time when each chicken strives to reach food as soon as possible. Because of that, it is important to ensure that there is plenty of feeder space.

In the near future, I am going to acquire an Ameracauna hen that has been brutally dominating a friend’s flock. Among other things, the Ameracauna was not allowing the others to eat and was pecking them incessantly. That may have been caused by the chickens not having enough space, not having a rooster within the flock, or just a mean-hearted villainous nature.

That is what Cromwell had.  (We name all our roosters after kings or generals.) I think he felt he couldn’t live unless he was killing something. Nearly every day I would hear frantic cries for help from the victims of his barbarous beak-bashing and spur-slashing assaults. Cromwell would actually fly on to you before beginning his ferocious, unrelenting and merciless attack. Eventually, I couldn’t enter the pen unless armed with a base-ball bat–I knocked him senseless twice and I wish I had hit harder. It is true that some breeds are more passive than others, but you can always have an exception like Cromwell.

Sometimes a chicken may have to be isolated if it has injuries; an ill or diseased chicken tries to hide it’s malady because chickens will instinctively not tolerate an ill member in the flock. This is because a sick chickens puts all the others at risk of the same problem.

Two roosters usually can’t be in the same pen together. However, if two rooster chicks grow up together, one will assume dominance, while the other will actually develop more slowly, will not crow, and generally act as a hen until it obtains it’s own flock or is separated.

When introducing a new hen to a flock, consider doing it at night. If you don’t, the hen might receive a hot welcome from the wings (and beaks and spurs and revolvers) of the other chickens.

Click to enlarge.

Chicken Warrior

“I refuse be fried in Kentucky or anywhere else!”

Instead, in the morning, she jumps out of the coop with the others after a good nights rest and everything will seem normal. Soon she will fall into her place on the pecking order, and peace will reign over the flock.

P.S I really need topics to write about, so feel free to comment whatever you want.


8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by The G on August 16, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Great picture
    Great article
    Very well written.

    How about some chicken recipes? Especially suited to the disposal of unruly chickens!


  2. Thanks, G!
    I had a lot of fun photoshopping the indignant chick as well as writing about the antics of Cromwell.
    You asked for it, I’m definitely going to post some of my chickens (and my) favorite recipes. 😀


  3. Haha, the english language makes so much more sense when you have had a chance to observe chickens 🙂

    Also, very nice writing style – you seem to be enjoying it more.

    You know, I still can’t remember what my idea was. I’m a bit frustrated 😦


  4. Well, if you remember it, be sure to let me know.

    As to my Chick Warrior, if you look at it closely, there is one practical error–see if you can spot it!


  5. Posted by Grandma on August 18, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Here are some possible future topics:
    Pros & Cons of raising chickens
    Are there differences raising chickens in the desert?
    What about cost?
    Are chickens good pets?
    What are guinea fowl like?


    • Thank you very much G! Yes, I have been suffering from lack of topics that people want to hear about, and these are especially appropriate because lots of folks want to have chickens, but need some questions answered before they actually do it. Now, I’ve managed to come up with something for you…


  6. Posted by Faith on August 18, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    I never knew this about chickens, but it seems like we all have used “pecking order” at some point. Definitely an “a-ha” moment.


    • Just so you know I read your comment; (your sitting behind me at time of writing.)
      I actually don’t think I have ever used the phrase. (other than when discussing poultry.)


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