Monday, 13 January 2014

New Year = New Hens!

So just over a year ago, lets say a year and a half we got two little hens and named them Barbara and Margo (inspired by Bab's and Margo from the hit 1970s TV show The Good Life) Late November we sadly lost Barbara to Impacted Crop, which is where food or inanimate objects get stuck in the sack that they store their food in at the front of their necks. This left Margo all alone, which she got used to surprisingly? Most chicken lovers and farmers will tell you that hens are not a one only bird, there's a reason for that word FLOCK. So when we found ourself with only one hen we thought it best to go searching for some friends.

On New Years Eve three new hens arrived in our garden, to Margo's disgust! She'd gotten quite used to all the attention from us and was rather liking be the hen of the house! Of course, even though it was her garden, the three new hens took over and put her at the bottom end of the pecking order! Oh poor, poor Margo! What have we done?

The NEW pecking order!

Number 1. Head Hen- Madam Talk Talk
Weighing in as a small bus.
Still unsure what breed she is.

Madam Talk Talk is as her name suggests, very talkative, to be honest all the newcomers are quite vocal, which is something we weren't used to with Barbara and Margo as they kept to themselves apart from the odd conversation whenever we came up to the coop.

What Makes Madam Talk Talk Top of The Pecking Order?
Well, she's a smart one. And that's saying a lot for a chicken...
She get's the second pecker to do all her dirty work, unless she can't then she'll do it herself. You know that saying "Never get someone else to do what you could have done yourself!"
She is the first to use the nesting box in the morning to lay, and no one, I repeat NO ONE, is allowed to use it before her or they will get a right beating! She's also the first to get any scraps that are thrown out too. The funny thing is, for such a confident and dominant girl she is the least humanly social out of all the girls, you can't pick her up, not that you'd want to as she being so heavy, she'll run away from you, unless you have food, but even then she wont eat it from your hand like the other girls would. She hate's having her photo taken, that could be due to the extra feather gain? Who knows? But sometime's I think this is very smart of her rather than odd. She's obviously the most observant out of the lot otherwise she wouldn't be top of the pecking order, which means she knows what humans equal, THE TOP TOP of the pecking order. Don't mess with them or you'll disappear!

Unique Traits/Looks?
Madam Talk Talk is quite large, almost Orpington breed large. We're still trying to figure out what breed she is as the previous owners of our new comers didn't know what breeds their hen's were. She is Speckled in colour. Black with pepper around the neck and scattering towards the rest of the body. Long and medium thick legs keep them cold hardy and she's still laying well into winter!

Number 2. Second Pecker - Kentucky
Weighing in at cyborg level.
Brown/Red maybe a Golden Sex Link?
As you can see Kentucky looks a lot like a Rooster, in fact I thought she was when they first brought her over. But they insisted she was female. And when the first batch of eggs came the next morning, it was proof they were right, unless I have the first rooster ever to lay eggs?

Why is Kentucky Second In The Pecking Order?
Before Kentucky came to live with us, she apparently was last in the pecking order. Since coming here she's really changed personality, maybe out of anger of being re-homed? Or she saw a chance to get higher in the pecking order when she met Margo. Someone SHE could put in their place that hadn't already established themselves into the flock. Although I'm quite surprised that she wasn't second billing in her last home as here she's managed to chase a cat out of the garden, and goes for Margo any time she can, another reason why I thought she might be a cockerel.

Unique Traits/Looks?
Her massive comb! (The funny red thing on her head) She has a very large single comb, almost the size of a cockerels! Along with quite long and thick legs. She could possibly be a Golden Sex Link?

Number 3.  The third musketeer - Clara
Weighing in as fragile
Could be a Black Sex Link in Breed?
Clara is the smallest of all four hen's. She's usually under Madam Talk Talk's wing, following her about like a shadow. This used to make her second in the pecking order at her old house.

Why Third?
As she shows no initiative and doesn't seem to get involved, shy's away from any other chicken under Madam Talk Talk this makes her third in line. Causes no trouble, and try's to stay out of it. She'll happily come and eat from your hand or even come in the house if she's allowed. Last to lay an egg.

Unique Traits/Looks?
Can run amazingly fast! Just easily tricked. Quite needy when it comes to hens, has to have a mother hen to shadow. Unlike the other three who don't mind being left alone at times.

Number 4. Finding Her Place - Margo
Weighing in as a misplaced pillow
Is a Red Sex Link Hen
Margo we've had longest out of all our hens. She's also the most social. Our 1 and 1/2 year old son's best friend. She'll follow him around the garden. But at the moment she's quite scared of the other three hen's and will hide behind me for protection if I'm outside.

Why is she at the lower end of the pecking order?
At the moment she's at the lower end because the other three had already established a bond together. It's almost as if Margo is the new comer not the other three. In a way she is, because she is new to them.

Unique Traits/Looks?
Margo is the most social chicken I have ever met. She will run up to a complete stranger just to be pet or ask for food. She comes when her name is called, which I've never experienced a chicken do until now. She wont poop in the house if she comes in and she'll happily fall asleep on your lap if you let her. She's figured out how to slip into the house whenever the door is opened now too.

As you can see they'd happily come in the house if they could, only because they know that's where the food comes from!

Having some nice mixed feed, of course Margo's no where to be seen...

Chasing Margo off as she tried to join in with the mix feed.

Lining up for a drink.

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