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Mean hen

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

First time chicken keeper. I have four Production Reds and couldn't be happier for the most part. They don't fight, we get a lot of eggs, and one of them is fairly friendly.

 

Problem is the boss hen. I like to sit in the yard reading, and she's taken to coming up and giving me a peck. If I shoo her she sneaks back to do it again. This is no fun when I wear sandals.

 

I hate to keep them in the run all the time because of one bad egg. Any ideas?

post #2 of 9

I would deal with her the same way that I would deal with a ROO that chose to challenge me. I wrote about this in my Coop Project Thread...here is a quick answer. 

 

She has adopted the position of Flock Boss and is pecking you to show that SHE is in charge of the flock. If she was attacking you it would because she sees you as a "threat" to the flock. So essentially she's just letting you know in "chicken speak" that you are below her in the "pecking order."

 

That is actually great...because if she saw you as a threat and was attacking you, that would be a long row to hoe. In the end she may wind up as a center piece to a meal or be taken to another home where she would most likely wind up being the center piece of their meal.

 

To begin: YOU need to SHOW her that YOU are in charge...by treating her the way a ROO would treat her.

 

When she approaches you to give you a peck, take your hand and press her to the ground...hold her firmly, don't hurt her; and she will struggle.

 

IMG_7520.JPG

 

Hold till she settles down, then , while still holding her use your other hand to mess with her hackles and her tail. Then let her up, but be ready. If she accepts you as the "ROO" of the flock, she'll ruffle her feathers and walk away with an indignant strut. If she does this then wait a minute or so then give her a treat to reinforce that YOU are also the provider.

 

With my flock I make a habit of periodically pressing hens, to avoid being part of the pecking order. They stand and ruffle their feathers and walk away indignantly.

 

You will also notice that at times your hens will squat and stomp their feet in front of you...don't ignore this behavior. This is an important part of their socialization within the flock. Gently put your hand on the hen's back, mess with the hackles followed by her tail and she will be happy. She is using Chicken Speak to recognize you as the ROO of the flock...it's a good thing.

 

IMG_7529.JPG

 

If she doesn't accept you, she will try to peck you. Thus the battle of position begins. Be PATIENT and do not get frustrated, chickens are not Rocket Scientists...they can be slooooww to learn.

 

Repeat the procedure until she shows signs that she accepts you as the "ROO".

 

Hopefully you will have caught this in time, the longer this goes on...the less likely the behavior will stop. Chickens are hardwired, once they LEARN something, it's hard to re-educate them.

 

 

My little Flock Boss, doesn't peck me....No...she pecks any chicken that gets remotely close to me. She's a Silly Jealous Bird.


Edited by Rock Home Isle - 5/6/16 at 3:01pm

"Experince is the teacher of all things." Julius Ceaser

"The only real valuable thing is intuition." Albert Einstein

"Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest" Mark Twain

 

My Coop Project

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/656727/coop-project-maken-the-plunge-getting-chickens

Reply

"Experince is the teacher of all things." Julius Ceaser

"The only real valuable thing is intuition." Albert Einstein

"Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest" Mark Twain

 

My Coop Project

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/656727/coop-project-maken-the-plunge-getting-chickens

Reply
post #3 of 9
Get a squirt gun, super soaker is better, she will quickly learn not to come up to you.
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 #4 of 9

:welcome

 

If she comes back to do it again, you're just pestering her, not telling her not to do it. Next time she approaches you and is going to peck, get up and chase her around. How far or long depends on the hen. Go enough she's actively trying to get away from you, then make her go a bit more. Flap your arms and holler at her. You'll feel like a fool, but it's exactly what another chicken would do to her if she pulled that. It won't make her afraid of you, it will make her respect you. 

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

Reply

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

Reply
post #5 of 9

:hu

 

If it was my hen, I'd snatch her up underneath an arm and continue reading :D  Don't let her down until you're ready, she will want to be sooner than that, but you are the pack leader and the boss.

 

A couple of reading sessions and I would imagine you will be good to go.

 

However, I have a lot less experience than the people who have already posted, go with that they say first, or with whatever works for you.

 

Good luck!

post #6 of 9

Welcome to BYC @Snaggy!

 

Be the 'head hen'.....'Peck' her back...ends of first 2 fingers and thumb, sharp rap on the head.....that's the 'language' she understands.

If that doesn't work, push her to the ground, hold her there and give her some more pecks on the head.

Repeat until she stops or cage her when she misbehaves.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #7 of 9

Like aart said peck her back. Just be aware that chickens luv's them some painted toenails, or other shiny stuff. I know my girls respect me but still peck at my wedding ring from time to time. 

If  you ain't the lead dog the view never changes!
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If  you ain't the lead dog the view never changes!
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post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanEP View Post
 

Like aart said peck her back. Just be aware that chickens luv's them some painted toenails, or other shiny stuff. I know my girls respect me but still peck at my wedding ring from time to time. 

....or tender wounds on arms or legs...ouch!

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #9 of 9

yep I learned not to go around chickens while bleeding.

If  you ain't the lead dog the view never changes!
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If  you ain't the lead dog the view never changes!
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