In nature, hens live in small groups with a cock. The hen flock thrives best in places with rich food, where they can dust-bathe. They also thrive with trees to rest in and shielded nesting places. During the day, hens trip around, pecking seeds and other kinds of plant food. They need to dust-bathe daily to keep their feathers clean and shiny. A dust bath is done in a place that is roomy and shielded. They lay down in the sand and kick it up to make sure their feathers get covered with sand. Then the hens stand up and flap their wings to get the sand off. This ensures that dirt and parasites cannot make a home in their feathers and prevents matting.

Like birds, a hen finds a sheltered and private place to hatch her eggs. Then she makes a nest of straw. A few days before she hatchs, the baby chicks start piping and the mother hen pipes back (a gentle tapping motion on the eggs). In this way, the mother and chicks get to know each other. After about three weeks of first being laid, the chicks break out of their shells. When the chickens are born, they follow their mother close and run under her wings when they need comfort. By clucking, the hen tells them where they can find seeds, when she wants them to follow her and when it is time to rest. Unlike other animals, the hen does not feed her chicks but teaches and helps them to find food. At nighttime, the chicks sleep sitting in trees with low branches where they are safe from predators. In each hen flock, there is always a rank, with the cock being the boss who sits on the highest branch, while the other hens follow after, ranking by their age. When hens live together in a natural flock like this, there is little pecking. If two hens do not like each other the youngest one will go away.

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