chickens turning mean?

LittleRedCoop

In the Brooder
8 Years
Apr 13, 2011
64
3
41
Lately my 4 month old pullets have started pecking me really hard, yesterday one latched onto my arm and today it happened again and this time blood was drawn. I raised these girls from 4 days old and they were handled gently and often. I used to hand feed them treats, could this have resorted in their pecking? They don't seem mean about it, rather curious, like they are looking for something. But since they peck now it has become less pleasurable to be with them because it hurts! Is there a way to correct this? I have stopped hand feeding them...I know with horses hand feeding can lead to biting and I wasn't sure if chickens are the same way? Help! I don't like being a human pin cushion!!
 

LittleRedCoop

In the Brooder
8 Years
Apr 13, 2011
64
3
41
Just a note: I don't remember them acting like this before. When they were younger (a few weeks old) they'd peck, but they never "bit" be like they do now. Just a gentle tap with the beak, but now they grab onto my skin. After a while they stopped pecking and all of a sudden it has turned into biting.
 

al6517

Real Men can Cook
11 Years
May 13, 2008
10,684
144
321
Quote:Yes all of the above will and does contribute to this behavior, contrary to what you may read here by hobby/pet chicken folks. By stopping what you think may have been the cause is a good start and will help in the long run. I do however know there will be subsequent post that will encourage even more of this handling and improper interaction as a cure to what caused it in the first place.
For what it's worth I think your choice to curtail your handling and fussing with them is the right choice.
 

LittleRedCoop

In the Brooder
8 Years
Apr 13, 2011
64
3
41
Quote:Yes all of the above will and does contribute to this behavior, contrary to what you may read here by hobby/pet chicken folks. By stopping what you think may have been the cause is a good start and will help in the long run. I do however know there will be subsequent post that will encourage even more of this handling and improper interaction as a cure to what caused it in the first place.
For what it's worth I think your choice to curtail your handling and fussing with them is the right choice.

So what you're saying is...don't handle them at all, or just don't feed them by hand? I have read that it is better to ignore them as young but what fun is that?
Plus it is so hard...
 

starforever61

Songster
10 Years
Aug 1, 2009
363
4
121
make sure they're always full of food when you visit them. little ones get gutsy and kind of rude when they're hungry and they're used to getting food from us!

 

al6517

Real Men can Cook
11 Years
May 13, 2008
10,684
144
321
Then I guess you might as well get ready to be treated harshly and pecked hard and often by your PETS!!!!!!. There is a limit here.
 

LittleRedCoop

In the Brooder
8 Years
Apr 13, 2011
64
3
41
I suppose like with everything else, all is a matter of opinion...I don't own chickens as livestock but rather as a pleasurable hobby, I only have six of them and I would like to be able to socialize with them. I'm not saying they are pets, but they aren't just animals either. If what you are saying is to more or less treat them less like pets and more like livestock then I suppose I can do that.
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
9 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,146
2,936
406
NEK, VT
We had a hen that was overly friendly. Looking for treats and just getting your attention would peck fairly hard. She wasn't trying to be mean but it got old quick. Pecked ankles, always running under foot. Did less handling this year because had a cockerel and all is well. Come when called, will stay near us but not under foot and certainly no pecking.
 

JHillgrove

In the Brooder
8 Years
Aug 2, 2011
99
1
39
Snohomish, WA
first of all I would suggest always wearing a jacket when you go out to see them. It they grab on hopefully they would grab mostly sleeve and less skin. Also it might help if you sit down when you see them.
I would not feed them out of my hands, but throw the food on the ground around your feet. That way you can see you and spend time with you but not be biting you to get more food. I say spend time, cuddle, love them, spend all the time with them you want, but they are no longer chicks, they are big and are going to get bigger, it would only get worse.
 

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