Genesis of this post
I was telling a friend, Stephanie, that another friend was mean to my chickens, scaring them with big, booming BOOs. I also remarked that cats and dogs "get" teasing and will tease back. Not so with chickens. Since a raccoon killed one of my four hens, I commented to her that I will get four more chicks next spring to try and get one hen from the group. She suggested one of my hens hatch eggs. Well, I have no rooster.
So, this was my reply to her.
Chickens don't get it
Yeah, I don't think chickens have a sense of humor or an "I'll sneak up on you to peck your shoelaces"
kind of attitude in their repertoire. (You know how cats like to surprise you and dogs initiate play.) Chickens don't. They are all business--hunt, peck, scratch.
Having chickens makes me see why people are called "chicken." They often operate out of fear. So, boo-ing them will not lead them to play with you.
Chickens will peck shoelaces, but it is because shoelaces are there. Chickens don't look for interaction from you when shoelace pecking. A hen pecked my skin through a hole in my pants--just because the hole was there. Cats and dogs will deliberately make tentative moves to touch a human. Chickens look for food. Shoelaces could be worms. The hole in my pants...well, there was my thigh underneath...just trying for a morsel because they like to peck things they can inhale. (Okay, some really spoiled chickens, hand raised, do want humans to interact beyond food service.) You do know--chickens are all about food!
It beats my why my friend scares my chickens. I mean, the saying "you're chicken" is said with good reason. Anything coming from above them, even when they were a day old (like their food or water), must have been a hawk the way they fled screaming little chickie screams to all corners of their box. Then, if most of the other chicks were in another corner, the few in the wrong corner went there with the majority--safety in numbers? Plus, they were wary of pieces of banana peels--like I would put snakes in their plastic box house!
Hen and chicks
If a hen had her own chicks, she could keep them warm and outdoors so I would not have to coddle chicks in the house for months! But, to have chicks, I would have to bring in a house rooster for a few weeks and then hope I had a hen who was broody after 8-12 days of laying fertile eggs. I would need another pen outdoors for her and the chicks.
Randy, rude, rooster
Gee, the rooster would love to have three hens all to himself and mostly in a small pen--10'x10'. Poor girls (18 months old) would be traumatized--sort of like throwing old maids in with a randy rogue with no morals, manners, or tenderness. They most surely would deal with the stress by pecking out the rest of their chest feathers. Then, I would have to provide chicken therapy.
Tradeoff for food
The person or rooster who gives food is dominant. The hen is dependent. The rooster will find food and call his hens. He might give up tidbits to retain or gain favor. So, she will "take the position" when the dominant giver-of-food approaches. (Why does this all sound strangely familiar and not in a chickeny way?)
When they squat for me, and I pet them, they are really bracing themselves for being mounted by a rooster, their lady feet firmly planted, legs spread so they won't topple, back stiffened, and wings out for balance. I can put my hand on the back of the one squatting, giving her gentle pressure and a little, bitty shake backwards and forwards. She then thinks congress has occurred and gives herself a good all-over-feather-shake-and-fluff...."whew, it's over"....hilarious.
Okay, do you shake your chickens to see them fluff themselves afterwards?