Aggressive hens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by RosieGoatOwner, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. RosieGoatOwner

    RosieGoatOwner In the Brooder

    Jan 23, 2019
    North MS
    I currently have 9 chickens, 2 Rhode islands, 3 Delaware Orphingtons, and 4 Black Sex Links (Black Star). A few weeks ago, I took my little 3 year old sister into the chicken run, which is 20 x50 feet, and she sat down on the floor, and all the chickens came running to say hi. She was sitting still, just enjoying the chickens picking at the ground around her, when all of a sudden, one of my Rhode island (she was actually one of three Rhode islands), flapped her wings and pecked my little sister in the eye! That chicken was eaten that night by a wolf lol, but my sister is okay. 2 weeks ago, one of my Orphingtons started trying to peck at me, going nuts and clucking like crazy. She is still acting up today. Yesterday, another one of my Rhode islands flew up and pecked my 6 year old sister in the arm, drawing blood. Every time before we go into the run, we go over the "No-No's".No-no #1: screaming. Only whispers. No-no #2: stomping. Only quiet small steps. No-no #3: no red clothes or items. (We check this inside the house) So I just don't know why they're being this way. My siblings love the chickens and would hate to have to stop seeing them. What could I do to prevent it? Why is this happening? Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
    Note: we are pretty sure they are all hens, as they are all laying eggs.
  2. SurferchickinSB

    SurferchickinSB Crowing

    Feb 23, 2018
    Do you hand feed them a lot? Sometimes hand feeding them can cause that. They are expecting food and they get so excited, that they don’t wait. I would recommend not hand feeding them anymore.
    Kris5902 and EggSighted4Life like this.
  3. RosieGoatOwner

    RosieGoatOwner In the Brooder

    Jan 23, 2019
    North MS
    We stopped hand fee
    We stopped hand feeding them at about a month, because their beaks are too sharp for our hands. Thank you for your suggestion though!
    Acre4Me, SurferchickinSB and Kris5902 like this.
  4. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Hi, welcome to BYC! :frow

    It's sounds very much to me like curiosity pecking.

    My very favorite most docile hen WILL peck me in the eye given the chance... eyes are shiny! :barnie

    Also... the whole "red" thing is a misunderstanding in my opinion... as ALL combs and waddles are red. Chickens peck ANYTHING that is out of the ordinary... freckles, nail polish, Lint on my shirt, and scabs... when rewarded with a yummy blood treat that is soo tasty and rich... they continue going for the blood.

    Really if the kids behaved more normal... the hens might keep a little distance or at least think twice.. but after more than 10 years of raising both genders of chicken... I think this is just over excitement and has ZERO to due with aggression. Chickens are fairly clumsy.

    Now you nuts Orp that's clucking like crazy... is she going broody?

    When you do take treats out... wait a bit before throwing them... was one suggestion I saw to stop the birds from trying to jump on you and get them.

    Your birds are showing too much comfort not aggression in my experience.

    I would practice handling them on my terms... picking them up, holding wings close to their body for support and control, and stroking the bird... setting it down gently when it isn't fussing to get down.

    Also.. you may need to sit out some rocks or bricks near by for honing their beaks down. They always seem still sharp... birds that are exciting and competing for treats are pecking fast and wild. Some will learn to be a LOT more gentle! :love

    Hope this helps some. :fl
  5. Kris5902

    Kris5902 Crowing

    Oct 12, 2018
    British Columbia, Canada
    Depending on who normally does the chicken chores, and how tall they are, they might not know what to think of such a small person. (A 3 year old, is a lot closer to chicken height). Height and pitch of voice can have an effect of their behavior I’ve noticed. Was it an aggressive peck or just inquisitive?
    Ribh and EggSighted4Life like this.
  6. DeerChicken14

    DeerChicken14 Chirping

    Apr 6, 2019
    I had a Buff Orpington Rooster bite me right underneath my eye :barnie
  7. Shadrach

    Shadrach Roosterist

    Jul 31, 2018
    Catalonia, Spain
    My Coop
    Chickens can be a bit like dogs with respect to accepting one person and not another.
    They will I believe know that your junior siblings are exactly that and as such are at the bottom of the pecking order.
    The important thing imo is not to let your siblings in with the chickens until you've found a way of integrating your siblings into the flock hierarchy.
    Sounds stupid I know but I think you'll find that is the way it is.;)
    Ribh, RosieGoatOwner and Kris5902 like this.
  8. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Chickens have been shown to be able to recognize up to 100 familiar faces.

    Even if you aren't hand feeding... don't bring the treats with you. If they fly up and the treats get thrown down.. it's self reciprocating/rewarding behavior.

    Make the entrance, let everyone calm down. Keep any treats or container out of sight, out of mind.

    You always need to protect your eyes and face from a chicken. Even a pet chicken. Penelope pecks our teeth if we talk. Chickens peck to inspect things. They are curious animals by nature, and obviously felt secure enough (thanks to your guidance) to be around this little creature that you (their trusted keeper) seem to indicate is also safe. Even my top hen that crows doesn't attack people or kids, but I do see new stuff everyday.

    How old are these chickens?

    Wow, a wolf ate only one chicken at night?? Glad the others were safe!
  9. Roo5

    Roo5 Chirping

    Feb 17, 2019
    This is odd, the three year olds don’t ever chase the chickens or fight back?My little sister has the chickens feared of her!But this definitely sounds like curiosity. Never had an adult bird go for my eyes but I guess it happens.
  10. RosieGoatOwner

    RosieGoatOwner In the Brooder

    Jan 23, 2019
    North MS
    They're about 8-9 months old. That one chicken was roosting on the fence line for some reason, and the fox snatched it. Thank you so much!

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