Aggressive Leghorn, What can I do now?

Scissors65

Songster
May 8, 2019
126
313
157
Palmetto, Florida
My Coop
My Coop
Advise please! I'm sorry this is a little long.
I have a Leghorn hen (Pearl) 21 weeks old. She started laying a little over two weeks ago and her sister (Opal) started laying one week earlier, and they lay everyday. I also have two New Hampshires.

Pearl loves my attention. She has actually jumped up into my arms a few times when I was standing! And she will hop onto my lap whenever I sit down. She also follows me like Mary's Lambs. But around 17-18 weeks old, she started getting an aggressive side

If I am outside working, she will come up behind me and peck me so hard on the legs she draws blood. She is starting to do this to my husband now too.

She is very aggressive if I bring food out to the hens, she will hop up in the air and pluck whatever I have in my hands out of them.

They say Chickens are descendants of the T-Rex, but I think she is more related to a Velociraptor!

These are things I have tried since she starting doing this:
1. I do not hand feed them
2. Before she started laying and would do the squat, and she acted aggressive towards me, I would stand tall beside her, stare right at her, and she would squat on her own.
3. After she started laying, and she pecked me, I would try and hold my ground, hold her down for a few seconds, and she would stay like that when I let go for a few seconds. But five, ten minutes later she was going at me again.
4. I have tried to peck her back with my fingers, but this just made her go at me like she wanted a challenge. So I don't do that anymore
5. I purchased a squirt gun. This seems to work sometimes, but not enough.
6. I have tried the bad girl, good girl reinforcement with her. Example: squirt her when she pecks me, and when she is being good around me, I reward her with positive affection or a gentile little pat.
7. I purchased a plastic fence to keep her away from me when free ranging. They have a big run, but they love taking dust baths under one of my palm trees, so I put the plastic fencing around the whole area to keep them in there while I am working out in the back yard...BUT....she flys over it!

She is my alfa hen out of the four. She pecks the others as warning if they get too close while eating, but she doesn't draw blood with the other hens.

My husband and I are too old to get pecked so hard. Our skin is thinner now, and it hurts like heck! And we bleed! The other three have pecked us needing no type of action by us, and that is fine, but Pearl does it sooooo much harder.

I love her, she is a great layer. And when she is being nice, I enjoy her. But after three or so weeks of this I need some new ideas! It is getting so bad, the thought of re-homing her has come across my mind, but I don't want to do this unless I have no other choice. Besides I can't separate her from Opal.

Thank you for any suggestion!
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,281
38,631
1,096
southern Michigan
If she's laying eggs, she's not a cockerel, at least.
No bird gets into my space, OR ON ME without an invitation from me. She's been rude, and thinks managing you is fine.
Wear shoes and jeans, at least, regardless of the weather; getting injured isn't better.
Beekissed has an excellent article here about managing aggressive/ pushy roosters, and it would be good to look it up.
Carry a weapon of some sort, and move her out of your path; walk 'through' her, don't go around.
You aren't a flock member, and aren't part of the pecking order. She thinks that you are, and this needs to change.
She's maturing, and cranky, and may be able to change her behavior towards you.
If she continues to harass you, and her flockmates, move her on! Work for the good of the whole group, and if she's causing stress and/or injuries, it's not good.
In a multigenerational flock she'd be squelched by the adults, much better.
Mary
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,440
20,231
867
Western Ohio
Wishing you luck.

Some pullets are grouchy when in the beginning of their laying cycle. We had a grouchy one, but she settled down and we had a cockerel that led the flock. Some pullets/hens assume the role of head of the flock, and she may be doing this rather than just being grouchy.

You need to clip her wing -only one wing gets clipped, it’s supposed to unbalance them and they can’t fly as easily. However, even with clipped wings they can still fly and if your enclosure is low, she will likely still be able to fly out. Maybe some kind of cover over the most open portion will help -you said it encloses and area with trees, so perhaps there is only one area open enough for her to fly out of.

Pants will help a lot, but that may not always be desirable in FL, so that’s your call!

She may just be an aggressive pullet (and then hen), and you may need to re-home her, so it is good you already accept it may be an option.

Good advice to start to show her you are not a flock member, but time will tell if it works.

Good luck to you and your poor legs!
 

Scissors65

Songster
May 8, 2019
126
313
157
Palmetto, Florida
My Coop
My Coop
If she's laying eggs, she's not a cockerel, at least.
No bird gets into my space, OR ON ME without an invitation from me. She's been rude, and thinks managing you is fine.
Wear shoes and jeans, at least, regardless of the weather; getting injured isn't better.
Beekissed has an excellent article here about managing aggressive/ pushy roosters, and it would be good to look it up.
Carry a weapon of some sort, and move her out of your path; walk 'through' her, don't go around.
You aren't a flock member, and aren't part of the pecking order. She thinks that you are, and this needs to change.
She's maturing, and cranky, and may be able to change her behavior towards you.
If she continues to harass you, and her flockmates, move her on! Work for the good of the whole group, and if she's causing stress and/or injuries, it's not good.
In a multigenerational flock she'd be squelched by the adults, much better.
Mary
 

Scissors65

Songster
May 8, 2019
126
313
157
Palmetto, Florida
My Coop
My Coop
Wishing you luck.

Some pullets are grouchy when in the beginning of their laying cycle. We had a grouchy one, but she settled down and we had a cockerel that led the flock. Some pullets/hens assume the role of head of the flock, and she may be doing this rather than just being grouchy.

You need to clip her wing -only one wing gets clipped, it’s supposed to unbalance them and they can’t fly as easily. However, even with clipped wings they can still fly and if your enclosure is low, she will likely still be able to fly out. Maybe some kind of cover over the most open portion will help -you said it encloses and area with trees, so perhaps there is only one area open enough for her to fly out of.

Pants will help a lot, but that may not always be desirable in FL, so that’s your call!

She may just be an aggressive pullet (and then hen), and you may need to re-home her, so it is good you already accept it may be an option.

Good advice to start to show her you are not a flock member, but time will tell if it works.

Good luck to you and your poor legs!
 

Chicken1234567890

In the Brooder
Aug 24, 2019
8
7
13
You gotta show her who's boss by using your foot And tapping her head a couple of time to let her know who boss,And are you sure she a hen or is she an Rooster can you send pics
 

slordaz

hatchaholic
5 Years
Apr 15, 2015
3,456
6,393
602
Idaho
mine that was like that as she was alpha hen of all girl flock didn't like me to well but behaved once she got her head status in flock back , the others are following her lead. I set my alpha hen in a kennel in the coop with eggs for a few days, and she finally got bored enough after 5 days to brood them that's when I let her out. Note I did end up having to come up with fertilized eggs though cause then she went full on broody, but she was no longer aggressive to people allowed in to the yard
 

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