Aggressive Hen


In the Brooder
7 Years
Mar 21, 2012
Charlotte, NC
I have a 32 week old Buff Orpington that has become very aggressive. It started this summer with my then 18 month old and Peep, the BO, would peck her for no reason at all. She then started going after my 4 year old and now she will run 20 or 40 feet across the yard anytime she sees any person and make a B-line for that person, aggressively pecking if she can get you. She even does this to me, the leader of the flock that gives her treats, feeds her, etc. Today I was actually scared to be around her. She has not started laying yet and I was hoping this behavior would calm down once she did, but now it is getting to the point that I think we'll have to re-home her and I'm sure she could end up on someone's dinner plate (not ours, we're vegetarians). What would you do? We want to enjoy our chickens and being outside with them, but Peep makes it nearly impossible. I thought BOs were supposed to be gentle and docile?
Well, you're kind of looking at the same thing a lot of folks run into with roosters. This hen has decided for whatever reason she's the boss of you. You can either assert your dominance--look at the threads on dealing with mean roosters---or if you're just not naturally a dominant person I'd say rehome her. Being in a flock with a rooster will take her down a peg or two, as will being the new girl.
Personally, I wouldn't care. I don't accept "hormonal" as an excuse for any other animal--dog, cat, goat, horse-- to challenge me, I'm not going to let a 6lb bird be the boss of me either. So it's up to you, you can try to ride it out but if she's not laying by now, and her comb doesn't look like she's going to soon, she probably won't until spring. I'd consider culling her if you're looking for a good laying bird.
We had a red rooster that did this, but only with my 11yr old daughter. We ended up giving him to my father in law, he adjusted well and no longer has any aggressive tendencies. It really was a win-win for all. When he was here, he tried the same garbage with me, once. I stomped toward him and he backed down quickly. That ended it, but my 11yr old would run off screaming so he would keep going after her.

Sometimes you just have to give them up for your family's safety and peace of mind, she won't necessarily end up on a dinner plate, find someone like my father-in-law, he keeps them all until death and he doesn't go into their "pasture" very often(you can't call it a chicken run it is larger than most urban yards and he only has 27 chickens-we're in the country)and isn't bothered by aggressive birds, he feels it is part of their nature/pecking order and just ignores them. He takes in everyone's cast offs, when people's chickens quit laying or they give up keeping due to health or moving or whatever he takes them all and keeps them until they die of old age.

I know that when my husband was young, they had 2 roosters that did that to everyone, so they used to carry shovels to use as shields against the roosters(they were little kids). I cracked up at this story, but honestly the roosters would've been gone, period. Any bird flying up w/spurs aimed at my kids faces would be finding a new place to call home, my kids would not be in the back yard carrying shovels.
Point of lay hens are hormonal... I'd see what she is like after she starts laying. Possibly a good spray with a super soaker would give her a lesson.

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