All 5 of my hens bite me

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sylie, Aug 6, 2014.

  1. Sylie

    Sylie Songster

    May 26, 2014
    SE Iowa
    I have 5 hens, 2 RIR and 3 PBR, the PBR's are the worst about biting me, I have no idea why they do this, it's not investigative, it's meanness. They have always done this dispite my attempts to break the habit. I was told to peck them back and that should stop the issue, well it didn't so I asked again and was told that whenever they bite (it's not just a peck, it's an open mouthed bite that usually breaks skin) to gently but firmly pin them to the ground until they stop struggling. I tried this one time but it felt cruel and I was worried about hurting them while they struggled so I never did it again. Could that be why they still bite? Should I have continued that? Whatever the cause, they still bite, all of them but the PBR's do it more than the RIR's. Could this be a breed trait? I was under the impression that PBR's were very docile, sweet birds. I am at my wit's end. The ages are: RIR's and 1 PBR are 17 weeks and the other 2 PBR's are 14 weeks. I guess they are still technically pullets, please forgive my calling them hens.

    Any ideas on the cause and solution is very much appreciated.

  2. Quickster

    Quickster Chirping

    May 1, 2014
    I just posted a question about one of my BR doing this with no replies so far. I have two barred rocks. The other is very docile. So much so that I thought she might be sick when she was a chick. That ended up just being her personality though. From what I have read, barred rocks are usually friendly. In my flock the other barred rock is only aggressive one. I'll try pinning it to the ground. I won't have sympathy for her acting like she doesn't like it. I don't like it when she attacks me either.
  3. Chicken 3033

    Chicken 3033 In the Brooder

    If you didn't raise them from chicks, and bought them in their adulthood, there could have been problems at their previous home that caused them to feel that they need to be aggressive, if you can it wouldn't hurt to contact where you purchased them from. This could have nothing to do with it and it definitely wouldn't if you raised them from chicks, but it is most likely why they are biting if you didn't. Hope this helps!
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014
  4. Chicken 3033

    Chicken 3033 In the Brooder

    I don't really know how to get a chicken to actually stop doing the aggressive stuff though, :barnie, sorry!
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014
  5. HugHess

    HugHess Chickrack Addict

    Jul 14, 2014
    Could we get more detailed information, ie: Are they ALL biting you? Just your hands, or anywhere else?
    What actions are you partaking in that they bite? Cleaning, feeding, minding your own beeswax?
    I read somewhere here that chickens being 'tortured' with any myriad of parasites... Mites, Lice, etc. can become some crotchety, cantankerous featherballs of furry.
    Maybe if you treat them all like aggressive Roos (be the dominant 'chicken' and don't take walking right through them as if they don't exist) you can retrain their brains?
    I don't think chickens are 'stupid' by any means so it might be assumed that they are teaching each other to put you on the low end of the totem poll. At the moment it seems like you are the nicest one of the bunch.
    Please take everything said here (in my reply) with not a 'grain' but a boulder of salt, as I am a complete newbie, and keep digging on this site... as I am sure it's been discussed before.
    I learned from my the bee-eyetch in my Avatar, give 'em an inch and they can try to take you for a marathon 'ride'.
    Stand 'tall', with an open heart and hopefully they will rethink their demeanor? I hope. Good luck.
  6. Sylie

    Sylie Songster

    May 26, 2014
    SE Iowa
    Thank you for all of the responses:

    Chicken 3033: I raised them from 3 day olds and they have bitten since they were about 2 weeks old, as soon as they started getting feathers. I do appreciate you taking the time to answer even though you don't know how to get them to stop :)

    Hughess: yes they are all biting me and anyone else brave enough to come near them. Mostly my hands and forearms but they will peck at my pants and shoes laces but I know that is just normal investigating etc. They do it whenever my hands are within reach no matter what I'm doing with the exception of cleaning the pen...oddly, they leave me alone (except the shoe laces and pants). If I try to pet one of them the others will bite me, if I reach for the feed pan I get bit, waterer...same thing, reach for something that doesn't belong in the pen, any time my hands are within reach.

    I am getting to the point where I am looking for ways to avoid any and all contact with them. Which is sad because I love sitting there watching them, talking to them and when I can safely do it, I absolutely love feeling how very soft they are, a quick, stolen pet on their backs makes me smile. They were handled frequently as chicks, my daughter, husband and myself all held them at least a couple times a day (not each but total) sometimes more often but they were definitely not ignored and still aren't, we all go and talk to them. I just don't understand it. I will try again to be the dominate chicken, maybe I can make more progress this go around.

    Thanx again guys!

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