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chickens being mean to owners

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
About 3 weeks ago one of our three chickens got attacked and didn't make it. Ever since I have left the other two in the coop so that whatever got it didn't come back for more.. I just let them out for the first time since then yesterday. I have raised them since babies, I would say their close to about a year old now and all have always been very nice. Blondie has always been a sweetheart to me and everyone else around, and Penelope has always kind of had an attitude nothing seriously but when your walking away she tends to run up on you and peck the back of your leg but she would stop when told to.. The first thing that blondie did when she walked out of the coop was peck at my leg, she has never done that before. It wasn't just a usually peck because when she went to do it obviously I wasn't used to her doing that so I tried to shoo her off with my leg and she held on and puffed up like she was actually mad. Now anytime she sees me walk outside she runs up and starts trying to peck at me. Not such a big deal until she just did it 10 min ago and kept trying to come at me. Even tried to turn around to put her claws to me. I don't know what the problem is?! Will she always be like this or is she just mad or something?! What can I d to show her I'm in charge and not to "bite the hand that feeds you"
Edited by agreen - 1/27/16 at 7:55am
post #2 of 8
Since you lost one they may be rearranging the pecking order, my guess, is they think you are part of the flock. Another guess would be they were punishing you like a rooster does to hens that go missing then come back. I don't handle my chickens like pets because they often think their humans are part of the flock and will treat the owners like they do another chicken.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
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Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
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post #3 of 8

Whatever is behind this behavior, it's a passing thing. Probably the recent predator attack has these two stressed, afraid, wary of anyone and anything intruding on their space.

 

Try to keep things calm with no changes if possible. Keep to a natural routine, and try not to intrude too much on their activities. Keep your behavior slow and deliberate, no sudden activity or movements. They need time to get back into their daily routine and to understand they're safe.

 

If you can describe any details you know about the predator attack, what the victim's injuries looked like, where you found her, maybe we can try to figure out what got her and help you prevent another attack.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by azygous View Post

Whatever is behind this behavior, it's a passing thing. Probably the recent predator attack has these two stressed, afraid, wary of anyone and anything intruding on their space.

Try to keep things calm with no changes if possible. Keep to a natural routine, and try not to intrude too much on their activities. Keep your behavior slow and deliberate, no sudden activity or movements. They need time to get back into their daily routine and to understand they're safe.

If you can describe any details you know about the predator attack, what the victim's injuries looked like, where you found her, maybe we can try to figure out what got her and help you prevent another attack.

There wasn't much left of her just feathers. It happened in the afternoon we live in a very wooded area so I'm not really sure. Could be a coyote, racoon I'm not sure. I'm thinking more towards coyotes. But it definitely looked like two animals were fighting over her. We have kept the windows open to hear anything going on outside so far these past two days nothing. Makes sense about her being scared still. She seemed to be the one most affected by it. I came out side and Penelope ran right to me waiting for me to lock her in the coop and blondie was still making noise looking for the one that got attacked and not wanting to go in to the coop at all.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
I understand not intruding on their activities but it will be just me walking out to get in my car and she will be across the yard and run over and do it. So I'm not sure.
post #6 of 8

I gentle~ but still firm enough to get the message across~ swat across the head will take care of that.  She's doing it because you are letting her do it and for no other reason.  As long as you stay submissive to this behavior, she will continue to do it so you might as well break the bad habit now.  Anything~be it chicken, dog, cat, horse~that can violate your personal space and intentionally touch your body, especially to inflict pain, is showing a lack of respect.  Not in a human way, but in the animal world and "respect" is the only term we have for it. 

 

If you don't feel comfortable enough to give her a swat, you can hold her comb for a minute until she's trying to get away.  A dominant hen will grab an interloper's comb in her beak and hold on a minute to assert that dominance.  She will also peck at their head~our version is the head swat...we don't have a beak so our peck is soft handed but still effective.

 

Either thing should work if you really mean it and don't approach it in a soft, tentative manner.  Be firm and really mean it and she ought to pick up on that.  Feeling sorry for her because her flock mate was killed only contributes to that softness.  She's moving into the leadership position in the flock and she's treating you like one of the flock~ now is the time for you to be the leader, not her.  All any pack, flock or herd of animals really need in order to feel safe is a strong leader.  Be the leader. 

 
A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.  Proverbs 12:10
 
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A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.  Proverbs 12:10
 
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post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beekissed View Post

I gentle~ but still firm enough to get the message across~ swat across the head will take care of that.  She's doing it because you are letting her do it and for no other reason.  As long as you stay submissive to this behavior, she will continue to do it so you might as well break the bad habit now.  Anything~be it chicken, dog, cat, horse~that can violate your personal space and intentionally touch your body, especially to inflict pain, is showing a lack of respect.  Not in a human way, but in the animal world and "respect" is the only term we have for it. 

If you don't feel comfortable enough to give her a swat, you can hold her comb for a minute until she's trying to get away.  A dominant hen will grab an interloper's comb in her beak and hold on a minute to assert that dominance.  She will also peck at their head~our version is the head swat...we don't have a beak so our peck is soft handed but still effective.

Either thing should work if you really mean it and don't approach it in a soft, tentative manner.  Be firm and really mean it and she ought to pick up on that.  Feeling sorry for her because her flock mate was killed only contributes to that softness.  She's moving into the leadership position in the flock and she's treating you like one of the flock~ now is the time for you to be the leader, not her.  All any pack, flock or herd of animals really need in order to feel safe is a strong leader.  Be the leader. 

She definitely did not get away with it the second time she did it. Shook her off my leg and gave her a couple pushes back with my boot. Didn't want to swat at her head and have her nipping at my hand. After a couple times of her trying me she got the point. Just wasn't sure if this would be a forever thing or if she is just going through stuff. I have horses as well I have no problem showing them whoes boss just more difficult with a little chicken lol but I get what you're saying! Thank you!
post #8 of 8

That's good that you know horses...then you know exactly what I'm talking about! :D   That move is pretty easy to see in most herd type animals.  Chickens are the same, they just show it with the pecking order and it's mostly for the same reason...they want to be leader or they think you aren't the leader. 

 

I think it will be a thing for her until she realizes you don't fall into her social order.  I've had hens peck me for various reasons, usually broody hens, but also when I've reached for them on the roost or were filling the feeder...each time I either do the comb tug or swat the head real quick and that peck is never repeated. 

 

Now, with broody hens that's a different matter and all they are doing is protecting the brood....that behavior only lasts for the brood and no further, so I don't normally correct those birds.  I really want strong mothers in the flock. 


Edited by Beekissed - 1/27/16 at 12:53pm
 
A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.  Proverbs 12:10
 
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A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.  Proverbs 12:10
 
Reply
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