Disturbing the Pecking Order Turns Ugly
There’s a new chicken in town and the existing flock have their feathers in a bunch. Yesterday I added an 8th generation Sizzle to my chicken farm. A Sizzle is a fancy type bird with fuzzy feet and somewhat curly feathers, they are smaller, and appreciated most for their beauty. They’ll sit on anything that looks like an egg, so they’re quite handy for hatching eggs… even if they’re from another hen.
It is never easy introducing a new chicken to the flock, usually its hate at first sight. Especially when in the chicken world size matters. Chickens have a pecking order that is brutally enforced. There are a million tricks on how to ease or sneak in a new bird, but it’s rarely successful in small living quarters. A rooster in the flock would keep the hens in line, keeping order so to speak, but they’re banned here in the city of Phoenix, so I don’t have one. It doesn’t really matter as long as there’s never a law passed that prohibits paying a rooster for an occasional stud service.
I put the new Sizzle pullet in another chicken enclosure with my most docile hen, Mamma. She is a battered hen who has lived there ever since she was shun from the flock months ago. I thought my lonely beat up Mamma hen might like to have a new fancy friend. Especially since the new pretty lady is considered a very timid breed.
Within thirty seconds Mamma decided the little hen was an alien from another planet and attacked it. My little fancy chicken ran for her life while Mamma chased her with intent to pluck her bald. Mamma had a beak full of feathers, and the pen looked looked like a good ol’ fashion pillow fight… minus the pillows.
I immediately snatched the new little black hen from Mamma’s death grip beak and placed her in the barn, alone. Well, not totally alone, I reckon Beamer the Jackass will be quite neighbor-like. I fetched up some scratch and water and tucked my frightened little hen in a pile of grass hay for the night. I turned out the lights, and gave her a name, JoJo.
This morning JoJo was scratching around in the dirt, yet to find the other socially challenged hens that lurk in every corner of the ranch, she will in good time. These are the free range birds on the ranch, all social misfits that have been bullied out of an existing flock. They are what I call the Outcast flock, and in time JoJo will join them on some level of the pecking order. Until then, the battlefield is peaceful.