Our co-op preschool has two young hens that have been laying for 3 months now. We've been having problems with them pecking at feet & legs (parents & children) & they have also pecked at children's faces. My school job is taking care of the animals, so I've been mediating parent-kid-chicken trouble for the past 2 months. Before this summer I hadn't had any experience raising chickens. One is a Rhode Island Red & the other an Ameraucana, they are big healthy birds with a 5 x 8 barn space, 3 laying boxes all to themselves & the straw is changed daily. They have fresh water & laying crumble food inside the barn & can freely pass from barn to playground. The school has had chickens for several years, but never any this young, & chicken aggression hasn't ever been a problem before. Their wings are clipped. They are free to roam the play yard from 9-3 M-F & depending on the weekend work parent may get a hour or two outside over the weekends. We haven't noticed more pecking after being cooped up all weekend, so I'm not sure if their outside time is a factor or not. We're located in Northern California & a local told me all the little earthquakes we've been having might get the birds riled up. Just to be contradictory, the chickens have been hand raised & can be very approachable, they stop & seem to be asking me to pet their backs (I raised them for school this past summer). The chickens are very easy for most parents to pick up. The teachers say these are the sweetest hens school has ever had, but on the flip side they are the most aggressive & have attacked kids' faces. Obviously we need birds that can safely share a yard with 24 kids, so I'm looking for any advice on how to curb their aggressive behavior & pecking. The Ameraucana pecked a little boy near the eye (breaking the skin) before winter break, has flown aggressively towards parents & kids & occasionally chases kids away. The Rhode Island Red seems to have more trouble with pecking & chasing. She will peck at feet & many parents thought, probably correctly, that she was asking for chicken scratch to be tossed & then they would feed her. My theory is that this got her into a bad habit & I let all of the parents know they are not to fed the hens if they peck at their feet. It does seem to be getting a little better. Yesterday a hen (still waiting to hear back which one) pecked a little girl pretty badly on the nose, the child was sitting down & coaxing the chicken to come to her. Since we've been having chicken problems we've been trying redirect kids away from the birds if they want to be near them, but of course some kids love animals & will try to visit them anyway. At the beginning of the year we did have problems with some kids breaking the chicken rules (no chasing, no picking up, no rough stuff, no hand feeding) & we have reined in the rougher kids. So now the chickens aren't being bothered, but are still being aggressive, chasing kids & parents around. I'm worried they have been conditioned to be on the defensive, so we parents are working to give them lots of space on the playground. We've also been putting the hens back in the barn if they are being aggressive. Since there have been a couple of face pecking incidents I'm beginning to consider beak clipping their top beak (yes debeaking, but not as severe as some of the photos I've seen online). I'm also going to get some fake eggs for their nesting boxes, I've heard that can calm them down. I've always loved that my kids' school to has pets & chickens running around in the play yard (it even inspired me to build a coop & now I have 3 young hens at home), but we can't have aggressive birds attacking preschoolers. Thanks for your advice!