The Pecking Order

The Kiddo and I have begun an afternoon chicken watching ritual.  We usually beat Sweet Husband home by just a few minutes, so rather than rushing in to start dinner (difficult with a child attached to your hip), we head for the backyard to get some quality time in with the ladies.

One of the gifts of having a child is that you stop and see things.  I used to go out every evening and spend some time with the chickens, but I was always doing something--feeding them, scooping the coop, cleaning waterers.  Just by sitting and watching them, I'm learning all sorts of new things about my little flock.

IMG_0072

For example, Tori has very clearly installed herself as flock leader.  Amongst the first batch of chickens, I would have never called her the head hen.  (They were a much more "hippie commune" flock to begin with.)  But now she rules with an iron fist.  Even Bonnie, my wild-child Buckeye, toes the line.  And when Florence (one of the Marans) tried to eat scratch without Tori's say-so the other day, she earned a sharp peck on the top of her head as a reminder of who's in charge.
IMG_0080

But Tori's despotic ways do not seem to apply to Etta.  We've pretty much established that Etta is a bantam.  Due to her marvelous headdress, she's also a little hard-of-seeing.  Both are reasons she should be getting picked on, but Tori won't have it.  

I swear I'm not making this up.  Last Friday, I spread some food on the ground so the ladies would come closer (to the joy of Mr. the Kiddo).  Tori physically stood guard against the other four while Etta ate.  It was only after Etta wandered off that Tori ate a few bites herself and then, eventually, let the rest of the flock come close. 
IMG_0085

The other four are less personable to date, although I'm sure they'll each do something to reveal themselves if I just watch long enough.  And maybe one day soon they'll start laying some eggs too, yes?