Hazel, named by Tarin for baby #3 (due in July) is a Cuckoo Maran and is our biggest chick so far. When we first got the chicks, they were all about the same size, except for Lola who was the smallest. Since our two families were sharing the flock, the kids each named the chicks and decided we split the chicks up so each family could brood their three chicks. So, the kids were shocked when we first got the flock together for a playdate a week or so later. Hazel was not only much bigger than the rest, she was also first to start getting her darker feathers. Each week the kids come running to share how much bigger Hazel is than the rest.
Despite getting the flock together every chance we had (aka when the weather was warm enough for a ‘field trip’ from the brooder), it was hard to tell how they would react together as a gang. When we moved the chicks to the coop last week, we spent the weekend hanging out by the coop proudly watching our chicks. I had read that chickens typically established a pecking order, even without a rooster, so we were all interested in how the flock would socialize together. In our brooder, it was Greta that displayed the leadership behavior, but in the big flock Hazel seems to be the clear leader of the flock. She uses her size to dominate the food bowl. She’s actually a bit of an ass when there is food around, pecking at other hens feet and chasing them off, especially Greta.
If there is food around, you can count on Hazel to be the first to the feeder and the last. Can’t wait to see if the current pecking order remains–though with as much as Hazel eats, I don’t think any chick will be surpassing her in brawn and feathers.