Cuddly chicken turned mean and when to divide and add to the flock

BOOMchickengirl

In the Brooder
Mar 28, 2021
29
30
46
We cuddled all our babies, and continued to do so as they grew. One stopped letting us pick him up shortly after we moved them into the coop and run. Occasionally he'll peck at us, but only if he feels like we might try to grab him. One is kinda skittish, but causes no trouble and likes us better after we helped him with mites, and "saved" him after a predator scared him off into the woods. The two cochins remained friendly and would let us walk right up and pick them up, one would run to me, and liked to be very near while I gardened, she is one of the smartest, and was definitely the cuddliest, until one day, she just started biting. Anytime we try to pick her up now she pecks hard, enough to draw blood. It litterally just happened overnight. Thoughts or suggestions? We miss her being our little cuddle bug.

Of that batch of four we got in mid March, three are cockrells. So far no major conflicts, but we know with that male to female ratio it can't last. How long do you think we have before they start to have major problems? We are also having a hard time deciding which to keep. The white frizzle was such a cuddly boy, and he's smart, and protective, and definitely the alpha. Now he's not cuddly, but I can see he has the makings of a good protector and provider. The silky mix will be going to a new home, but I don't want to separate him yet (or maybe I do, I'm open to advice) since he and the frizzle are currently best buds. The black cochin has remained sweet and cuddly (our only cuddly one in fact), and he and the only female (also cochin) are best buddies, although all four get along. I really want to keep the male cochin, and I've known two roosters to sometimes get along. Not certain yet, but I think we have 6 more that will be female.
The big ones, mediums, and littles all hang out just fine in the yard, but I'm reluctant to put them all in the coop and run together just yet. The oldest came home mid march, the mediums came up Easter weekend, and the little ones we got the beginning of June I think.
Thoughts?
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
41,322
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Rehome all but one cockerel.
Chickens are not by nature "cuddly" creatures. They are prey animals and cautious. Once their hormones start to kick in, they become more aloof. I would stop trying to handle them constantly if you intend to keep any males at all. That oftentimes that puts the boys in a tizzy.
I "cuddle" my dogs and let my birds be birds.
 

Kennas_Kritters

Songster
Dec 30, 2019
452
904
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Polk City, FL
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I have a EE rooster I just got that was SUPER MEAN! I couldn't pick up hens around him cause he would attack me, couldn't collect eggs he attacked me, couldn't put food out for all of them together cause he started fights and was just all around a butthead! He is a big guy and is almost twice the size of my other rooster that he could NOT be around cause he tried to kill him. Anyways, now he is a super sweet boy and loves to be held! He eats from my hand and follows me around the yard. :) I tamed him in just a few days. It's a dominance thing. When I first got him home I picked him up and held my hand to him. He bit me so I grabbed his beak and held it shut for a while. He kinda looked at me like I was crazy lol. I put him on the ground and he immediately tried to spur me. I picked him back up and held his legs together in my hands. I gave him treats when he behaved himself and when he did something wrong I picked him up and held him. If he bit I held his mouth shut and if he tried to spur I held his legs together. If he went after another rooster I picked him up and put him in a cage alone for about 20 minutes-30 minutes to let him think about what he had done. He went from being a bully to being a baby. He is actually my sweetest rooster now and I have only had him like 2-3 weeks! Hope this helps! Just remember if they do good give treats. I have tamed lots of rude hens this way as well. I have even tamed mean turkeys this way.
 

BOOMchickengirl

In the Brooder
Mar 28, 2021
29
30
46
Rehome all but one cockerel.
Chickens are not by nature "cuddly" creatures. They are prey animals and cautious. Once their hormones start to kick in, they become more aloof. I would stop trying to handle them constantly if you intend to keep any males at all. That oftentimes that puts the boys in a tizzy.
I "cuddle" my dogs and let my birds be birds.
I appreciate what you are saying, and in general I often agree. Though these are my first chickens, they aren't my first birds, and I've had other prey animal pets, such as bunnies. My bunnies liked to cuddle, but hated being picked up, but I do know bunnies that don't mind it at all, though it's not common. I have also met cuddly chickens. I don't think chickens, or any animal should be forced against their nature. I also know some animals not typically cuddly, with frequent interaction can be cuddly. I was just surprised that she went from cuddly, to super feisty overnight. And sometimes people send the wrong signals unintentionally, and it's not obvious to anyone without lots of experience. I was hoping someone had insight.
 

RoostersAreAwesome

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
May 21, 2017
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We cuddled all our babies, and continued to do so as they grew. One stopped letting us pick him up shortly after we moved them into the coop and run. Occasionally he'll peck at us, but only if he feels like we might try to grab him. One is kinda skittish, but causes no trouble and likes us better after we helped him with mites, and "saved" him after a predator scared him off into the woods. The two cochins remained friendly and would let us walk right up and pick them up, one would run to me, and liked to be very near while I gardened, she is one of the smartest, and was definitely the cuddliest, until one day, she just started biting. Anytime we try to pick her up now she pecks hard, enough to draw blood. It litterally just happened overnight. Thoughts or suggestions? We miss her being our little cuddle bug.

Of that batch of four we got in mid March, three are cockrells. So far no major conflicts, but we know with that male to female ratio it can't last. How long do you think we have before they start to have major problems? We are also having a hard time deciding which to keep. The white frizzle was such a cuddly boy, and he's smart, and protective, and definitely the alpha. Now he's not cuddly, but I can see he has the makings of a good protector and provider. The silky mix will be going to a new home, but I don't want to separate him yet (or maybe I do, I'm open to advice) since he and the frizzle are currently best buds. The black cochin has remained sweet and cuddly (our only cuddly one in fact), and he and the only female (also cochin) are best buddies, although all four get along. I really want to keep the male cochin, and I've known two roosters to sometimes get along. Not certain yet, but I think we have 6 more that will be female.
The big ones, mediums, and littles all hang out just fine in the yard, but I'm reluctant to put them all in the coop and run together just yet. The oldest came home mid march, the mediums came up Easter weekend, and the little ones we got the beginning of June I think.
Thoughts?
I would separate all the cockerels from the pullets if you’re able to. In a rooster-only flock you can either keep them permanently or have a longer time to decide which cockerel has what you consider the best behavior.
 

Brooksy21

Songster
Apr 17, 2021
83
195
106
Stevensville, Montana
I had the same thing happen with one of my EasterEggers. She was my most cuddly and all of a sudden she pecked me in the face. After that she suddenly wasn’t comfortable being picked up anymore. But it scared me pretty good and could have scared her too. Although around this same time she had recently started laying and had hit her head trying to get to a high roost. So it could have been a lot of reasons for the change. She is a year and a half now, and I feel like I’ve tried all the things. She is sweet and will not attack at all unless she thinks I’m going to try to pick her up. Yesterday I decided to try again. I was able to pick her up and pet her head with no problems, she seemed to enjoy it and tried to nuzzle a few times. Picked her up again today and she didn’t even try to wiggle away like yesterday and seemed to enjoy the pets again. I’m hopeful she’s maturing. But I think the best advice is to continue to pick her up every day constantly but be calm and firm about it. I think it’s a dominance and trust thing. 🤷‍♀️ Good luck, let me know how it goes and I try to keep you updated with mine. Honestly for about 6 months I just excepted the fact that she didn’t want to be held anymore 😞
 

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