Pecking order


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Theme: Exploring the idea of “survival of the fittest” and see how that is contrary to the teaching of Jesus which stated ‘the first shall be last and the last first’.

Key words/themes: Humility, Kindness, Getting on and falling out, Working cooperatively


Using a rubber chicken – animate it like a puppet. Ask the children what it is. (It’s a chicken)

Is it?

“How can you tell if a chicken is alive?”
It walks (make the rubber chicken walk.
It looks at things ( make the chicken look at things in a chicken like way!)
It looks like a chicken – you study its shape.
It breaths (give it mouth to beak resuscitation)
In fact, this chicken - I can feed it, make it walk, I could even make it into a puppet .. is it a real chicken?
What makes us real?
We’ll come back to that.

Main Content

In many animal communities the fiercest competition for space and food is found between animals of the same species.

Question: why do roosters peck at each other?

Pecking sorts out the social rank. Birds that lose the fight have to let others feed first and opt for inferior feeding sites and are more exposed to predators.

Story idea: This chicken, say its name was Brenda the Rhode Island, lived in a chicken coop with all the other hens, Matilda, Ruth, Betsy. But Brenda was new – she had been bought by the farmer only last week – and she was the newest and .. smallest of the big hens.

Even day they went down the ramp from the chicken coop to eat in the yard – and every evening they went back up the ramp.

And every time – Brenda was last. Matilda was always .. always first. Then came Ruth. Then came Betsy and all the others .. and finally came Brenda. One day – Brenda tried to be one of the first – and do you know what happened – Matilda and Betsy gave Brenda a nasty peck.

“Cluck!” went Brenda painfully – but Matilda especially just kept on pecking. Brenda soon got the idea. There was an order – a rule – and the rule was Brenda was last. Matilda was always first!

That was until the farmer’s birthday. Hmm! Roast Chicken for lunch .. Matilda was never first again! That must have made her feathers ruffle!

Pupils' response

Question: are we any better than chickens? We often say that husbands are “hen pecked – this means that their wives nag them a lot – usually because they deserve it. Do you and I ‘peck’ at others around us. In the end – are we treating them with respect or are we making them feel stupid and miserable?

Do you and I have a go at others? Do you always want to be first in the line?

I hope we don’t make others feel like a rubber chicken – as if they are not like everyone else!

Verse in the Bible: “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.”

read the chicken song – or sing it!

The chicken song

I don’t want to be a chicken (peck)
And peck at all my mates
I don’t want to fight like a wild dog (woof)
And demonstrate my pet hates.
I don’t want to be stupid goat (head butt)
And push every one around
I want to be more caring, (ah!)
As daft as it may sound.

I want to learn what Jesus taught (yessss)
That being first is not the best
But what he said
Was to love instead
And care for all the rest
My aim in life is to push ahead (push a head)
My goal in life is clear
To help all those around me (wave a pointed finger around your head!)
And not to make them fear
So now I’ve learnt this lesson
That selfishness is past
I’ll think of the needs of others
And I will line up last