Pecking disorder

I’ve been watching the chickens feed more closely, since I first wrote about the rat problem (I’m giving them, and me, a rest for a few days but will reset the traps soon) and, Blue Witch having helpfully told me about a feed-on-demand waterproof feeder which is rat proof, I don’t think I can use it after all, which is a pity.  The biggest hen, who was an absolute wuss when she first came here at a few months old, has turned into rather a bully, as far as my little Serama girl is concerned.  She always chases her away from food.  This isn’t a matter of pecking order but is quite deliberate.  I’ll give the big hen food and, once she’s pecking, throw some for the little one – and the big hen goes after it.  Even if it’s behind her back or in a less desirable place.  So I think that if there were just one feeding point and it needs a tall enough hen to get the food, the little girl will go hungry.

I’m putting down plenty of food in the morning and then a few handfuls of corn as a pre-roosting treat, then removing the layers’ pellets so that rats can’t get them overnight.  This will have to do for now.

It was a good job I went out to clear the car in plenty of time this morning, because it took me and LT ages.  But the roads were pretty clear and it was only just freezing on my return.  And it has since warmed a little and will, apparently, rain rather than snow tomorrow.  We get it easy in this part of the country.

2 comments on “Pecking disorder

  1. Blue Witch

    My hens all chase food in just this way. It’s what hens do!

    Many pellets come out on every peck, and spread over several square feet, so it is totally impossible for a dominant hen to eat all, or eat and chase at the same time. Small hens can reach up to the pecking point too. I’ve got a blackbird that has watched how it works and now flies at the pecking point!

    Gamekeepers use these feeders for pheasants etc in fields.

    It will work, really 🙂

    1. Z Post author

      It really looks deliberate in this case, the big hen would rather go without food than let the tiny one eat. Because the website is so very poor, I can’t see how the pecking point works – why can any bird use it but no rat, with considerably more intelligence and agility, can?

      I still need to kill the damn rats, unfortunately. It’s making me miserable, but there are far too many of them.


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