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Pecking order & Samson & bears.. oh my!

Just kidding, there are no bears here in zone 5 but we do have a Samson:)

Pecking Order - a hierarchy of status seen among members of a group of people or animals, originally as observed among hens. We have seen first hand the original definition of this term. The basic pattern of social organization.. one bird pecks another lower on the scale without fear of retaliation and submits to pecking by one of higher rank. We named the one on the very top of this pecking order, Samson. He’s every definition of this name, except for the “sun” or “champion” part.. he’s anything but that! When I allude to this pecking order, I’m on that too.. just under Samson if you can believe it or not. It goes: Jay, Samson, Danielle & every other human, Queen Minnie, wanna-be Queens, all the other adult birds, adolescent ugly chickens, baby chicks. The more time I spend with these birds, the more they remind me of different groups of people. I’m sure they will come up a few times in these blogs:)

Comparing them to human activity is a fun thing to do.. new studies suggest a built-in hierarchy can improve team performance. The more pronounced the pecking order, the greater the productivity of the team. It suggests that, just like chickens, once everyone understands their place in the pecking order, teams have better outcomes because they have a clear hierarchy & are more easily able to talk about the best way to delegate and perform tasks and make decisions in a peaceful and efficient manner.. & not peck at each other anymore;). What are your thoughts on this?

Let’s explore the symbolism of the rooster a little bit further. Roosters are seen in dreams, omens, mythology & folklore, spirit animals, totem animals, tattoo meanings for sailors & so much more. According to beliefs, he stands for pride, hope, and a new day. For the Chinese, the zodiac sign is linked to good luck, wealth, and fortune. It is a yang symbol, 10th place in the race, and year of the rooster individuals are typically loners and deep thinkers (where are all my 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017’s at:). The Japanese believe the rooster symbol to be a signal for prayer. Most parts of the world compare the rooster to the sun. In the Bible, it reminds us of the denial of Christ. The Renaissance compares the rooster to a clock which displays man’s limited time on earth. Scandinavian/Celtic countries view the rooster as a holy animal and are not eaten in some regions. In France, it is the national emblem. In Africa, the rooster is precious & part of a purification/cleansing ritual as well as a powerful fertility symbol. Wow, what an animal. The only thing that comes close to Samson’s personality is the last one, a powerful fertility symbol. He’s had 12 children so far.

So what is the perfect ratio of hens to roosters you might ask? A rooster in his prime can cover 1-16 hens. Most say the optimum number (will vary with breed) for a rooster is 4-10. As he ages, it becomes less and less. At age 3 he is considered ‘beyond prime’. To successfully keep more than a couple roosters requires a good number of hens and lots of space. His job is to ensure the success of his kind so mating with hens is on his mind most of the day. However, a rooster adds a degree of security to a flock as well. He will intervene if there’s a problem, he will warn them of any danger, watch over his chicks and find tasty morsels for his ladies.

Enough of the adorable visual of a chivalrous bird.. now, back to Samson. The word ‘cocky’ is an adjective and is used to describe someone as being arrogant, self-asserted and conceited. When we consider the root word of cocky, the noun cock refers to a male bird and often a name used to describe a rooster. Have you ever seen a rooster and how they behave? It’s crowing early in the morning to ensure EVERYONE knows what is their territory. Roosters are known for being aggressive and never back down from a fight. They are considered to be self-confident as they stand tall and walk with self-assertiveness. The origins of the word date back to the mid 1500’s when cockfighting was first witnessed and documented during Magellan’s voyage of discovery of the Philippines. Does anyone you know’s name come to mind as you read this description? It’s pretty funny to think about, right?

Our rooster, Samson, stretches his neck out as far as he possibly can to find me so he can run at me to keep me at bay. It’s kind of comical. No matter where I am on the farm, I look toward the chickens, whether they’re in the pasture or in their chicken run and he’s always got his eye on me. It must be because his queen is just as obsessed with me as I am of her. I will talk about my ‘Minnie’ in another blog:)

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