The pecking order is the governing system of hens. I suppose it has parallels in our society: the general sits atop a pecking order, then the colonel, the captain… the private at the bottom. The five star general in our flock is Flannery, a black Australorp. She is a gentle, quiet hen with a dainty trot. In size Flannery is average, and several larger hens are below her in the pecking order. She lets people pet her, but she doesn’t seek attention like Penfold and Quigley. All in all, Flannery is peaceful and unassuming.

Because Flannery sits atop the pecking order, others hen leave her alone—at least most of the time. On one occasion Charlie, our grumpiest hen, mistakenly pecked Flannery on the roost as everyone settled in for night. Flannery unleashed a fury of drop kicks and pecks that sent poor Charlie reeling and squawking.

But only a handful of times have I ever seen Flannery even lightly peck anyone. As far as I can tell, she doesn’t abuse her power. When we introduced the little chickens to the flock, she was the first to befriend them. And I don’t think Flannery leads the flock that I can tell. Usually Penfold, who is rather low on the pecking order, takes the flock one direction or the other, scouting new patches of grass and weeds with her rambunctious nature. Flannery seems fine to follow.

So although Flannery is head hen, she isn’t a tyrant. She walks softly but carries a big stick.

6 thoughts on “Commander-in-Coop

  1. I love this post. My little bantam is on top of the pecking order and the 2 big Barnevelders are behind her. She is also dainty but has been known to peck at the Barnies to keep them in line.

    1. I am not surprised that Hannah is at the top of your pecking order. She seems like a girl that knows what she wants! I am so happy that she is fitting in with your flock well and has decided that it is her new home.

    1. I agree with that in so many ways – they often provide me with a personal reality check! They are so content with such small things and simply feel in their moment.

Leave a Reply