Although I have raised chicks before, raising a motley crew of 37 chicks with so many different varieties has been a new experience. It has been fascinating to see them grow from day old chicks into 6 week old teens. For the most part they have been getting along well in spite of the increasing discrepancy in size as they grow into their genetic destiny. The Buff Orpingtons, and Black Austrolorps tower over the little White Silkie that was a bonus "exotic chick" that came in our chick delivery from MacMurray's Hatchery. Though a third of the size of some of her peers this little Silkie holds her own and is often the aggressor to make sure no-one gets an idea to pick on her.
I now understand the origins of "pecking order" as a description of social hierarchy. These birds often will give each other a little peck to determine dominance and this has been mostly benign for our growing chicks. Last week however, this hierarchical jostling went to the dark side when some of the birds started attacking the weakest chicken and were drawing blood. If I had not been there to rescue and isolate the hapless Buff Laced Polish Rooster it would have been quickly killed and partially eaten. Yes! It certainly takes teenage social angst to a new level when your friends are cannibals! Happily after a few days in chicken rehab our little rooster was reintegrated into the flock and is doing fine.