My son suggested I put some golf balls in the nesting boxes to give them a clue what the nests are for. There would be no “control” for this experiment and I’d never know if it would have happened without playing a trick on them. Still, I’m tired of waiting. I’m still enjoying watching the chickens mature and develop their grown up shapes and behaviors.
The two “silver sisters”, aka Silver-laced Wyandottes, have become bullies. They fall just below the roosters in the pecking order, and when I toss a fresh produce treat into the pen I observe how the other hens are quite cautious monitoring the position of the silvers. If they fail to watch and find themselves within striking distance, there is a squawk and a scattering of feathers as the silver bully makes a peck at the other hen and she must run for cover.
As for the roosters, I look forward to watching Buster as he proudly stretches his neck, flaps his wings, and lets loose a powerful crow. Cooper will sometimes call out a weaker gravelly response. However, if they happen to find themselves face to face, Buster backs away with nervous respect and leaves the path clear for the master of the flock. When they explore the barnyard and someone gets a fright and squawks in alarm, Cooper is the first to come running to see what is wrong. More often then not, he’ll take a stab at the hen with his beak as if to tell her to be more careful next time.
Yesterday, Buster got confused returning to the pen and got himself trapped behind the open gate. I tried to grab him to put him in the clear but he screamed and flapped out around me and ran down the path and into the barn. I chased after to shoo him back in the right direction and here came Cooper running after us both to get things back in order. I was a little afraid he’d come after me as a danger to the flock, but at least so far he seems to trust me and just glared at Buster for creating a fuss.
If their relationship shifts into a threatening cock fight, Buster is the one who will have to find a new home. As beautiful as he is, Cooper has earned his place as the king of this flock.