For the past month or two I have been very excitedly observing my new flock of chickens. You might already know the story if you have read my other posts. As it always happens with the purchase of a new pet, you observe them closely over the weeks. You begin to see their personality, likes, dislikes, and interesting little quirks and traits.
I have been very busy training my new chickens, and in doing so I think I have figured out the flock pecking order.
Koeksister, my tame, ferocious hen is the matriarch. Aka boss. The new hens follow her around like sheep, and do her bidding. Its adorable really, but she is a tyrant and pecks them when they are out of order.
The middle hens: Alexia, Becca, Sarie Marie. These three darlings are the ‘middle hens’. They are kinda all the same in personality and try to avoid Koeksister and her pecking as much as possible. But each of them are adorable in their own ways. Alexia and Becca have a special bond. They are never too far apart from each other. Sarie Marie just sort of lopes along behind them like a lonely third wheel.
Kartoufelin: The lowest of the low in the pecking order. Kartoufelin is the ‘introvert’ chicken. She detests the company of other chickens and anything really. Being the lowest in the pecking order, I can understand that. Everyone pecks on her. She is always the last to eat or drink as she is always chased away. I try to sneak her some snacks, but the disdainful little bugger always ignores my gifts. She’s also an expert at hiding from cameras. The only footage I have of her is the rare time she and and the others were bunched together. She’s very good at hiding.
Then there’s Brigitte. Brigitte’s a mystery to me. I can figure out if she’s a middle hen, contestant for the matriarchy, or something else entirely. For one, she is the fattest and boldest hen of the bunch. (Koeksister of course, is even bolder.) She’s the only one brave enough to come sit by my feet and wait for food when I feed them. Only Koeksister dares to do that, and therefore Brigitte usually gets chased away. As a matter of fact, Koeksister always gets first pick of the snacks. No hen goes against this sacred rule. EXCEPT FOR BRIGITTE. I swear she’s just so brave for the food. Brigitte will do anything for a snack. She will put up with Koeksister pecking her, toddlers chasing her, and of course the natural fear of humans for a bread crumb. Extraordinary. The other hens eat to live, she lives to eat.
And now I better explain the names of my chickens. What absurd names for chickens! Well, they all have their own origins. Koeksister I named so, because her original companion was named “Kaaskoek.” Direct English translation: Cake sister and Cheesecake. ‘Koeksister’ is an African dessert. Sadly, Kaaskoek has passed to a higher plane of existence. Then Roosdoring (also deceased), whom I named after an Afrikaans pet name. Its almost like when you call a toddler, “Sweetie pie”, or a husband calling his wife “Honey”. Except your literally calling them “rose thorn”.
Then Alexia, Becca, and Brigitte. We had relatives from foreign countries over, and they were the ones who picked up the new chickens for me in a nearby town. SO of course I had to let them (and my aunty Brigitte) name three of the chickens. Well, I was very disappointed to find that they did not have as much ‘foreign creativity’ as I hoped. They basically named them after themselves. BUT, I do not mind. Because now every time I talk about the chickens, someone thinks I’m talking about the human versions and I find myself in rather hilarious situations.
Then Kartoufelin and Sarie Marie. Kartoufelin means ‘potato’ in German. I got the idea of this from my German class. I am learning to speak German, so the day before I got my chickens was German class. I then managed to get everyone to choose a name for the chicken. The results were pretty hilarious. They ranged from ‘Lunch’ and ‘Nuggets’, to ‘Empress of the South China Sea’ and ‘Sylvester Stallone’. Extraordinary what people name their pets these days. Eventually I settled on the most ridiculous name of all. Because it was the only German. And now I have a chicken named Potato.
Sarie Marie I just named for no apparent reason. It was one of those situations where you wake up in the middle of the night with a random name or something in your head and then you suddenly have the answers to everything.
Well, I am going to keep observing the social patterns in my chickens.
I’ll keep you posted about Brigitte’s ranking.