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Chicken pecking at my feet after holding her.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Katalina, Mar 22, 2015.

  1. Katalina

    Katalina Hatching

    Jul 31, 2014
    I have a Buff Orpington who is the last in the pecking order of my four chickens. In the afternoons when I go out to give them some mealworms or other treat and let them out of their coop she leaves the rest of the girls who are eating their snack and stands at my feet. I pick her up and we have a little conversation while I give her some chicken love and then put her down. After that she always pecks me once or twice on my toes and continues to stand there. I pick her up again and love her some more and then finally put her down again. Usually then she walks away.

    So, are the pecks her way of saying she likes being held and wants more - kind of like chicken kisses? She seems to like being held but the pecking makes me think she is annoyed but then again I am always thinking way too hard about their chickeny thoughts and feelings!

    Thanks for your thoughts, Katalina
  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Free Ranging 7 Years

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    So basically she has trained you to pick her up when she pecks your toes - smart aren't they? [​IMG]

    (or you have trained her to peck your toes to pick her up)
    1 person likes this.
  3. Katalina

    Katalina Hatching

    Jul 31, 2014
    I was afraid of that. So if she is at the bottom of the pecking order and she can boss me around, where does that leave me????

    I love my girls.[​IMG]

    Cheers, Katalina
  4. chicken04

    chicken04 In the Brooder

    Oct 14, 2014
    Chickens will come up to you and try and make you pick them up.The reason they do this is the ones that get bullied know they will be safe in your arms.I have an Americana that does this all the time and when she comes over a few seconds before that she was getting bullied.
  5. Katalina

    Katalina Hatching

    Jul 31, 2014
    That is interesting because when she does go for a treat right away she gets a peck from one of the middle girls. I'm glad I make her feel safe.

  6. I think that you have on open toed shoes or sandals and that you paint your toe nails. Your hen sees your toe nails and the color triggers her instinct to cannibalize things that look bloody or bleeding, like your shiny toe nails, with or without nail polish. Don't take it personal, it's just a chicken thing.
  7. hellokittyfive

    hellokittyfive In the Brooder

    Feb 10, 2015
    I am envious of those that have chickens that asked to be picked up! Mine run away like I'm the butcher . . . they do peck at my feet though but they see the flowers on my coop boots. They also peck at my rings. They are curious creatures! Nice to know they can train us humans . . . . .LOL
  8. Katalina

    Katalina Hatching

    Jul 31, 2014
    I so wish I could say that I get pedicures but I am in the frigid NE and I am still wearing wool socks and boots! When will it be spring?

    Now my girl has also started waiting for someone to pick her up and place her into the coop after they get their playtime. She just stands there and waits for a lift and a hug. For being on the bottom of the pecking order she is pretty dang clever and quite the princess.

    I was against getting chickens but my family insisted. I am so glad I lost that battle.

    Thanks for all of your notes. I appreciate it a lot. Katalina
  9. JoshnAmiee

    JoshnAmiee In the Brooder

    Mar 10, 2014
    Tacoma, WA

    + a billion!
  10. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging 8 Years

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    You are instinctively picking up on the meaning of your little hen's communication with you.

    Understand that their beaks are the main method of communication chickens have among themselves and also with us. There are many different kinds of "pecks" and they mean different things. Very few are meant to be aggressive.

    If you observe closely, when your hen "pecks" your boots to say she wants more attention and closeness, it's more of a sliding motion from your body towards hers. It's not a straight up and down hammering peck. This sliding motion with their beaks is done when they are engaged in a close social activity where they enjoy the closeness of one another. Watch them as they dirt bathe. One will walk up to one or more hens sprawled in the dirt hole and rake her beak across the back of one of the hens, which says, "Make room for me, I'm joining the party." The hen whose back just got raked doesn't respond as if she was aggressively pecked because it wasn't an aggressive "peck". The hen then will happily permit the newcomer to dig in close to her to enjoy the closeness of the activity.

    Your hen is saying the same to you. She enjoys being close and safe in your arms and needs more. That you recognize this and are willing to accommodate her tells me you understand what your hen is saying to you.

    And absolutely yes, some hens are smart enough to realize they can con you into serving as their body guard and running interference with their enemies. I have one such hen and she's actually invented different vocals she uses only with me, not with the rest of the flock. She happens to be lame and the flock has ostracized her, but she has figured out that I'm her ticket to being safe while still remaining in the flock. Interspecies relationships are fascinating.

    Do not underestimate the intelligence of chickens. They are far from being the bird brains people often think they are.

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