Every flock has a pecking order, a hierarchy. And someone’s got to be at the top, right? From week two, it was clear that Tallulah was the boss. She was aggressive, friendly, and courageous. And very, very bossy.
In the chicks’ brooder, we placed a stuffed animal, a round, red cardinal, to give the little chooks the comfort of a mama hen. It may well have done that, too, but it became clear very quickly that it was the focus for the establishment of the pecking order. The chicks would compete to see who got to roost and sleep on top of the cardinal. Tallulah was the undisputed Queen of the Cardinal.
She and Hermione competed for a while in the sparring matches that followed, but Hermione, for all her cleverness and bravery, didn’t have Tallulah’s sass and grit. Tallulah always came out on top.
It didn’t hurt that Tallulah has always been HUGE. The Light Brahmas are larger than the other birds anyway, but Tallulah was always the largest of the Light Brahmas.
“They” say that, once established, the pecking order never changes. I must beg to differ. Once the girls began to lay, things changed, and Tallulah lost the advantage. She was one of the last to lay, and her slower development seemed to cost her her crown.
I would be hard pressed to say who the Head Hen is now, and that’s just fine. The girls don’t have to compete for space or resources, so there is very little bickering. The girls recognise me as their rooster and leader.
Tallulah, once she began to lay, displayed her theatrical flair once again. She is the only one of our hens who lays bi-coloured eggs, a different colour at one end than the rest of the egg. She is, as my dear friend Steve says, a “high creative”.