To someone not familiar with chickens it looks like the birds just mill around. Actually, despite the constant going hither and yon, they are hanging out with their friends. It becomes obvious when you take the time to watch a small group of hens that each chicken is selective as to who she wants to spend time with.
Usually, in a backyard flock of various breeds, hens that look alike form cliques. For years my two black Australorps, Twinkydink and Blackie, were inseparable and showed no interest in the other chickens (except to chase them away from what was theirs.) The expression “birds of a feather flock together” is true in a coop! But, there are always exceptions as the dynamics between the Gems illustrate.
There are twelve Gems, all 16 months of age, and they have been together since they were 3 day-old chicks. In the mix are seven different breeds.Two are Rhode Island Reds, named Garnet and Ruby. There is only one Welsummer, Jasper. You’d expect Garnet and Ruby to be friends, but that’s not the case. Jasper and Garnet are friends.
Yesterday, I let the girls out for an outing. Jasper and Garnet ate grass by the chairs.
Garnet moved on to the back meadow. Jasper followed.
They foraged together for awhile. But then Jasper moved off to the flower bed.
Garnet looked up from eating seeds on a weed. I’m alone! Where did she go? (The answer is, only a few feet away, but like a toddler, a chicken can snap from being happily busy to feeling abandoned in a span of a few seconds.)
Garnet hustled after Jasper to join her best friend the clover. Together again.
Are there any unexpected friendships in your flock?