This pretty hen with every feather in place runs the show in the chicken yard. But let’s have a look at what happens if your not top bird… like Jojo.
- Dominique Hen, 1st in command
Being the newest member of the flock, Jojo has indeed fallen victim to the effects of social ranking. She is plucked near naked in places by the higher ranking birds… for eating.
- Sizzle Hen, lowest ranked lady
Jojo isn’t allowed to nest with the other hens, or eat until they are finished. She bunks alone in the barn some 100ft away. The flock allows her to hang out with them all day, but other than what she steals on the fly… all amenities are off limits.
- Jojo, 8th generation Sizzle
As you can see Jojo was beautiful before the effects of social ranking, now her fancy breeding is barely recognizable. But don’t worry about little Jojo, I sneak her goodies when the other hens are too busy guarding their house and food to notice. She has her own chicken condo tucked away in the barn, of course the boss hen lays her eggs in it during the day just to claim it hers. But come sundown, all the hens go to their coop and Jojo has has her very own place to call her own.
Build it Right the First Time
As a chicken keeper myself, I can’t stress enough the importance of having adequate housing for your birds. Saving money by building too small will inevitably prove a bad investment when you become overwhelmed by the difficult chore of keeping it clean. Cramped housing also presents problems among the social ranking of the pecking order, thus causing injuries and poor egg production as a result.
A chicken coop is a place you will be spending time in too. Tending to chickens must be done whether its raining, snowing, freezing, or smoldering hot. It only makes sense to build a convenient and spacious coop that you will enjoy, after all, nothing is fun when it becomes a dreadful chore.
Remember, you can build small, but when it’s all said and done the first egg usually ends up costing $750. If that sounds like a lot of money, be warned, it could double after two seasons, when you feel the need to upgrade your coop. Buy smart and build it right the first time!
- Sizzle and Dominique hens
Jojo Joins the Free Range Hens
After two months of my new sizzle pullet living in the barn to avoid the pecking order battle ground, Jojo [left] joins the existing free range Dominique hens this morning. Finally! She will probably go back to the barn at sundown, her social rank won’t buy her a ticket to the hens coop, but this is at least a start.
Jojo is a month past the average for layng her first egg, it would be nice if she was allowed to lay in the same nest as the others hens. It will be interesting to see what my ladies decide. Until then… we wait.
- Jojo, Sizzle Pullet / 6 months old