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Are some chickens just mean?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ThinkingChickens, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. ThinkingChickens

    ThinkingChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2011
    I have a very small backyard flock, six girls, and my Delaware is a brat. I've noticed she's gotten a little worse. She comes to me when I walk in the yard, as do the others, but she pecks me and has even drawn blood. Tonight I pet her and she walked away. I was petting another chicken and she pecked my leg, drawing blood in a half inch gash. She's also very vocal in a screechy way. She's not a rooster! She lays an egg a day. If she's the leader of the flock should I just leave it be? I don't really want to rehome one of my girls. She's 24 weeks, might she get nicer?

    The Instigator

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    Mabel by Raven Wren Designs, on Flickr
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011
  2. Savannah Poultry

    Savannah Poultry The Source

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    Yes, Some chickens are just mean! And usually don't get better. I wouldn't get rid of her if she's a good layer. Just don't wear shorts [​IMG] haha
     
  3. Afterburner

    Afterburner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 19, 2010
    Vancouver, WA
    Strange, all the Deleware owners I have known claim their hens are the sweetest most easygoing birds of their flock.
     
  4. sdeneen2001

    sdeneen2001 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 26, 2007
    Bellevue, WA
    One of my girls is a witch with a capital "B" and it is one of my Delawares. She is responding some to standard dominance training - picking her up and petting her and holding her, when she is totally mean, I pick her up and gently put her on her back on the ground and hold her until she stops struggling. I don't have a rooster, so they need to recognize that I'm the boss. [​IMG]
     
  5. ThinkingChickens

    ThinkingChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2011
    I can definitely pick her up, but if I hold her while I'm sitting (not moving) she bites me. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one with a "b" of a chicken because she's a meanie! Still, she's a good layer.
     
  6. ChicksterJo

    ChicksterJo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 19, 2011
    Grounded on Earth
    If you can't stop her behavior by picking her up, holding her (gently) down by pressing on her back and putting a hand over her head, then I would suggest re-homing her. You would get better piece of mind knowing you won't get attacked by her if you wear shorts. I have a very mean red sex-link. Thankfully for her she's not mean to me, or she'd have been soup a long time ago, but she was the runt of my first batch and now that she's bigger and older, she thinks everyone's out to get her. She picks constantly on my Delaware and she chases my Marans girl around (even though she's smaller than the Marans). I might rehome her if the situation doesn't improve, even though she started laying eggs a few days ago.
    Good luck with your situation and let us know if she improves.
     
  7. saddina

    saddina Internally Deranged

    May 2, 2009
    Desert, CA
    no, she most likely won't get nicer. want my recipie for coq au vin?
     
  8. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I have managed my "meanie" with the hose and by "pecking" her with a flexible long weed, not to hurt, just to send a message. She improved some but will never be friendly, to anyone. I had one pullet who was so bad she went to the freezer.
     
  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    Nov 18, 2007
    Florida
    My Coop
    I have had some that were kind of mean and I would pick them up and they would try to peck at me so I held their beak shut and walked around carrying the meanie for quite awhile. I did this repeatedly. Eventually they got the message. Some would run away from me when I would try to pick them up so then I went and got the fish net to catch them. I sent them a message "you can run but I will eventually catch you". They finally got the message.

    I had two hens that were bullies. I caught one hen really wailing away on one of the pullets. She was so intent on the pullet that she didn't know I was there. I had a hose in my hand and gave her a good squirt with the hose. She wasn't expecting it as she was really into beating up the pullet. Boy did she ever jump off when she got hit with the water. She ran into the coop and didn't come back out for a long time. I caught her a few more times and always had the hose handy and squirted her when she was being aggressive. She eventually quit bullying. Originally I did take them out of the flock for about a week. When I did put them back with the flock one was ok but the other was still being a real bully. That is when I used the hose and would catch her off guard.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2011
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    As a long time Delaware owner, I can tell you that Dels are "mouthy". They explore everything with their beaks as chicks and when they want attention, they "tap" you to get it. My own Georgie will do that and she hurts, too, but what she wants is to be picked up and she insists. I've had vicious Delaware chicks, so I know the difference between the normal mouthy Dels and the really aggressive ones, but they all will use their beaks to get what they want. Usually, if they have the Del temperament, it's attention and/or affection. They don't like you paying attention to other birds, either. This is why I don't have an entire flock of them--they are high maintenance, LOL! I love my rooster, though, sweetest pal of mine.

    I'm betting your girl wants attention and she isn't truly being mean. She's just being a Delaware.
     

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