Chicks and pecking order

Chick power struggle

By the time they’re a few
weeks old, chicks are already establishing their pecking order. 
Little skirmishes seem quite dramatic to the observer, with chicks
sometimes leaping into the air to menace others with their claws…and
yet no one ever seems to get hurt.

Chick faceoff

Sometimes, the biologist
in me wishes I was raising chicks that are easy to sex by feather color,
just so I could learn more about who exactly is fighting whom as they
establish their dominance hierarchy.  Are all of the leapers
males?  (I’m guessing so because adult roosters tend to leap and
menace each other with their feet, but hens don’t.)  Is the
hierarchy established only within each sex, or do males and females duke
it out too?

In the end, though, I choose to just watch the chicks frolic rather than trying to answer any scientific questions.  It’s just more fun to watch chick TV.

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