Friday, September 5, 2014

Feathered Friday: Roosters and the Pecking Order

I'm not going to pretend that I'm an expert on this subject, but I find it intriguing within my own flock.  I love to sit and watch all of them squabble and make friends.

But James, the Light Brahma rooster, and Chase, the Black Australorp rooster, are especially entertaining.  They are both beautiful.  But that's where the similarities end.


  • He's the BIG boy.  Easily twice the size of Chase and the younger hens, and the largest bird in the flock.
  • He has feathered legs and feet.  This is always a topic of discussion when someone new meets the flock.
  • He is near the bottom of the pecking order.  

And this is the surprise.  As a rooster and the largest chicken, you would think he'd be asserting himself to all the ladies and keeping Chase in his place.  But that is not the case with this big chicken.  Gracie, the golden-laced Easter Egger hen, runs James around the run.  She will come from across the run to "attack" him for no apparent reason.  It seems as if she's reminding him that she is above him in the flock pecking order.  It's rather comical, really, to watch this big rooster get chased around by all the other chickens.

I like to say he is the definition of a chicken.  He's the first to run away from any perceived danger, although he will come back to explore if others are doing the same.  But I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't hold up to the defensive job of a typical rooster.

Chase is the opposite of James.


  •  He's younger than James by about a month, which is huge in the chicken world.  It's also the reason he's half James's size.
  • He is cock of the walk.  The dominant rooster, although the girls do put him in his place when he gets too forward.
  • He's already started trying to mate with some of the girls.

That's right.  My baby rooster, one of the 3 youngest chickens in the flock, is already asserting himself as the man.  Of course, who could blame him?  When you have gorgeous black feathers that shone iridescent green in the right lighting, and you are developing a stunning upright tail and vibrant red crest and waddle. . . What girl could say no to that, right?  (Not that chickens care much.)

He runs from me most of the time.  That's how he got his name:  always the last to be caught and had to be chased for a while before he was.  But, if he perceives a threat to the flock, he stands up to it.  He runs at my dog when she comes close to the run.  And yes, she's afraid of him.

So, even though they won't need it when all is said and done, I know my girls, and big chicken James, will have the protection of a good rooster.

Since these photos were taken about a week ago, Chase has grown.  His tail, crest and waddle are bigger, and he really holds himself up like king of the mountain.

Rocky photobomb!

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