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How I can I help an alienated hen - Page 2

post #11 of 15
The thing with taming down chickens is they often see the human as part of the pecking order. That's why tame roosters attack their owners more often than untamed roosters. You have to figure out where you actually are in that pecking order. Hens that allow humans to pick them up usually are submissive. If a hen refuses to be picked up it can mean she thinks she's dominant over you.

I don't tame mine down that way, mine remain skiddish up to about 1-2 years old, than they will come towards me to see if I have stuff and will stand near me. I don't handle them unless necessary and I usually chase down anyone I need to have a look at. I remain separate from the flock but still dominant. I'm similar to a rooster who will chase submissive members until they squat or out run him.

You could try dominating the top hen by pushing her down into a squat before picking her up. But if the dynamics between your hens is okay at this point I might leave it and not force it. As far as removing a hen for affection, sometimes when a hen goes missing for a while she may get punished for it, you will have to see how your hen reacts to you doing so..

When petting hens humans are partially playing the part of a rooster. Hens and roosters will often mutually groom each other and the act of holding and controlling is a rooster behavior as well. I would try doling out the affection in the order of dominance. If your top hen still gets upset and attacks when a hen is put down that might be the time to grab the dominant hen for a bit and just hold her before putting her down. I also think sometimes hens get sexually frustrated without a rooster and become more moody.

So my advice is to try things to see the reaction as every hen is different as far as how she runs her flock.
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
Reply
post #12 of 15

Hmm, I appreciate the information on how chickens think as it hadn't occurred to me that they would slot me into the hierarchy somewhere.  It also didn't occur to me that not handling them might be a good option.  (I would have felt rightly or wrongly like I was neglecting them, if I didn't.  Also, I suppose at some level I probably did want to make tame pets out of them). 

 

My goals for these birds are for them to be happy and healthy, and (so long as it doesn't conflict with the first goal) for my parents to be able to enjoy eating their eggs and watching them running around.  So, I will definitely try different things to see how they work :)

post #13 of 15
Chicken behavior is quite complex, but yet simple if you understand it. It's my favorite thing to watch and observe their interactions. Happy chickens are healthy chickens, which produce as many eggs as they are capable of producing.

Chickens don't need us to handle them, that's a human need. Chickens like sitting close or following a favorite member. So some handling so they aren't terrified, but not so much that they see you as part of their flock.

A happy chicken needs room to range and things to scratch and peck, so simple but also hard for some to fulfill.
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
Reply
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
Reply
post #14 of 15

HI,

 

I had a couple of followup questions regarding refining my approach to be more chicken friendly.  They haven't had any more spats since the one, so I'm thinking that's probably a good sign :)

 

The first thing is that my Mom (who has never tried to pick them up since they went outside) said that all three chickens will squat when she reaches out to touch them.  Two of them (the top hen and the middle one) will sometimes squat for me, and sometimes not.  I was wondering if that says anything about how they view me, that might be useful for future reference.

 

Also, does the pecking order change when as hens mature?  The reason I'm wondering is that the low ranking hen recently starting laying (she was a late bloomer), and I'm not sure if that might have changed things up a bit.

 

Thanks,

 

Susan

post #15 of 15
Squatting is a sign of submission, so if they squat they view you like a rooster, and are asking to be mated, and are saying you are above them.

As hens sexually mature they can become moody and assertive, so certainly they can rise in the pecking order merely due to their attitude, but usually a top hen will remain top, and mostly the changes go on between those below her.

That's also why it's important for a keeper to be confident, it helps to keep your dominant position without any chicken questioning it.
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
Reply
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
Reply
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