Aggressive Hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by NCaliChick, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. NCaliChick

    NCaliChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 12, 2015
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    I've looked in the forums, and could've missed this particular behavior problem, so forgive me if this has been asked a million times before.
    I have 13 chickens, all hens. One from a previous flock (she's like 7 years old), 12 we got all together last summer. They are happy country chickens, and all of them started laying in January. Well, as soon as they started laying, one particular RIR has gotten aggressive towards me. She is perfectly fine with the rest of the flock, doesn't chase cats (like one of my Barred Rocks does!), and is laying. But she has almost drawn blood several times already.
    Sometimes, I have attributed it to the pants I'm wearing with patterns/spots. But I can be wearing jeans, and she goes for my hands and arms, too.
    I googled it once, and read that I should pick her up or turn her upside down. I've tried both ways. When I reach for her - after she bites me and clings on to me like a tick - she submits. Spreads her wings & squats. I'll carry her all over the yard under my arm for several minutes. I've gently laid her on her back on the ground and held her there for 30 seconds to a minute.
    Nothing seems to be working. She runs up to me like all the others do, but you can tell she gets closer & kind of bobs her head like a boxer waiting for a good shot.
    I don't have anyone to take her, and I don't have it in me to cull her myself. Any suggestions?
     
  2. RodNTN

    RodNTN Following Jesus

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    Q: Someone told me to hold my rooster upside down by the feet to calm him down--is that a good idea?

    A:

    No. That's a terrible idea.

    Birds' respiratory systems are completely different ours, so holding your rooster upside down can cause him real problems. For example, a bird's lungs are right next to the spine and upper ribcage, so it is hard for a bird that is upside down to breathe, since the weight of all his organs will be pressing on his lungs and some of his air sacs. Normally, he will breathe via changes in pressure in the air sacs. So... when the pressure changes "unnaturally," it can make it difficult for him to compensate. Chicken's lungs can't expand like ours do, either.

    Being hung upside down is pretty uncomfortable for humans, but we breathe by using a muscle called the diaphragm, which is a dome shaped muscle between the chest and the abdomen. Birds don't have a diaphragm--they have air sacs, and breathe by changes in pressure in their air sacs. Some of the air sacs even extend into their bones (pneumatic bones), and the sacs act as a bellows to ventilate the lungs. They include cervical sacs, interclavicular sac, humeral sacs (these are parts of the interclavicular sac that extend into the bones of the humeris), thoracic sacs (anterior and posterior), abdominal sacs and so forth.

    The reason holding a rooster upside down to "calm" him works is that he can't breathe properly. Birds have been known to die this way. If you have an aggressive rooster, we recommend you try the method listed in the related questions below for addressing that aggression.

    This is from the website Mypetchicken, you shouldn't hold your hen upside down. How often does she do this? (the attacking I mean).
     
  3. NCaliChick

    NCaliChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 12, 2015
    Northern California
    I won't put her on her back again. I've only done it maybe twice. I usually just pick her up and carry her around (whispering "I'm the flock master" haha)
    She started out just being aggressive once a day, like the first time I went outside. Now, she runs up on me every time I'm outside. She follows really close for an opportunity to peck or something. She's kind of being a bully, is how I can best describe the way she stalks me.
     
  4. RodNTN

    RodNTN Following Jesus

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    Maybe she thinks she is the 'rooster' of the flock, since you don't have a rooster- and she thinks she is just protecting the rest of the flock, (protecting them from you? I really don't know :) I don't know if this could be right or not . . .[​IMG]
     
  5. NCaliChick

    NCaliChick Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 12, 2015
    Northern California
    That thought crossed my mind, but wouldn't she have other signs as well? Like being dominant over other the other girls? Or not laying?
    She's not always first or last to eat, she's not first or last to wake up or go to bed. She's just kind of a middle of the pack kind of bird. Except for the whole trying to eat me part.
    I've never had this problem before, so all I know is what I've read up on. And that is admittedly not a LOT.
    Thanks for any suggestions or ideas, though.
     
  6. RodNTN

    RodNTN Following Jesus

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    Hens can actually take on the role of a rooster and even crow! Does your hen still have henny looking feathers or are they pointed like a roosters? Is she growing spurs? Hens can actually do all of these things, and i'm pretty sure they still lay eggs through it all.
     
  7. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Do you feed them treats?

    She is probably "demanding" treats if you do feed them treats.

    Get a squirt bottle. The next time she gets out of line, squirt her right in the face.
     
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  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    I would use something to block her and chase her back to put her in her place. Good options are a broom plastic rake or a nest, she's being too forward and taking advantage of you. Another chicken would peck her. Some hens seem to get aggressive or pushy without a rooster.
     
  9. RodNTN

    RodNTN Following Jesus

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    Quote:
    Even though I usually don't want to harm a chicken, if she is harming you or someone else- I would make her stop.
     
  10. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    You don't have to hurt her, she just needs to be retrained....
     

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