"Disciplining" a hen with an attitude?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Want Less, Apr 17, 2011.

  1. Want Less

    Want Less Songster

    Mar 24, 2010
    New Bern, NC
    Ok, maybe "disciplining" is the wrong word.... more like how do you deal with one? We have a 14 month old black sex link hen who has decided she is the boss of the flock now that the rooster is out of the picture. She doesn't seem to be aggressive toward the other hens (ie we never see her arguing with anyone) but she's definitely become aggressive toward people. When I enter the pen, which I do several times a day, she immediately gets really nosy about what I'm doing. If I stop what I'm doing or get too much into her "bubble", she puffs up at me (rooster style) and starts eyeballing places on me to peck. Her favorite target is my hands and arms, and will even jump up at my hands to peck me if she has no other choice. And to be clear, its not a "oh you may have treats in your hand" kind of thing. Its definitely an aggressive gesture.

    At first we thought she was going broody and would lock herself in the nesting boxes at any moment. But this has been going on now for weeks and she has no interested in the eggs. It started somewhat suddenly.

    Any ideas of how to deal with this? (other than wearing heavy gloves, jeans, boots, and full out safari gear just to collect eggs....)

  2. Jesseschickens

    Jesseschickens Songster

    Jan 4, 2010
    somewhere in Pa
    Show her you are in charge or just take a broom ith you! haha
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Here is how I deal with aggressive hens (and it worked for me):

    As soon as a hen tries to be top hen over me,

    I grab her and hold her to the ground firmly with hands over her back for a few seconds. I say nothing. Then let go. Repeat as needed.

    Soon it becomes only necessary to reach my hand out and she's gone.

    (This should not harm the hen or hurt in any way.) I let her know that I am top hen.

    In the chicken world, a hen that doesn't retaliate in some way to being pecked or intimidated is lower in the pecking order. They test you. These same hens, I also pick up and cuddle, talk baby talk to, etc.

    I am always very loving and kind to my chickens.

    But they know that I am the boss.
  4. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy Premium Member

    Mar 31, 2010
    Tuscaloosa County, Alabama
    I, too, am loving and kind to my chickens, UNTIL they start to think I'm peckable. I have used the technique above and it worked on one hen and that was all I did, but another hen didn't get the message and I started standing up to her and when she came in to peck I grabbed her by one leg and held her off the ground. As soon as I had a good hold, I would grab the other leg and hold them both to keep her from twisting and possibly hurting her leg. I only held her up until she quit fighting and her beak was pointing toward the ground, not upright. It took exactly twice and she gave me a wide berth. She will still come for treats and will sit on my lap, but she never acts like she wants to peck me! I know, it's mean, but it works and is easier on the chicken than freezer camp!
    Jpat likes this.
  5. Naughty

    Naughty Songster

    Apr 10, 2010
    We have timeout in my yard - I have a small dog run in the middle of my yard - and anyone who gets attitude gets put in the run - while everyone else gets treats... works wonders on a roo too

  6. lamNervousNellie

    lamNervousNellie Chirping

    Mar 24, 2011
    Mishawaka, Indiana
    I've heard that if you have a roo and remove it from your flock, the alpha hen will step up and assume the roo's responsibilities, even to the point of crowing and mounting the other hens to prove dominance. If she wants to act like a roo, treat her like one!

    We had a problem with our roo getting aggressive once his hens began to lay. He wouldn't give my BF too much trouble but he would chase me around every time I went to the barn! Instead of running, my BF told me to turn around and give him a little kick if he chased me again. I put on my rainboots (you know, the softer rubbery kind) and went down to the barn. The little turd did chase me, so I gave him a little kick (nothing hard or mean!!) and he's never given me another problem. He even lets me pet him now [​IMG]

    I've also heard that an old tennis racket is good to give them a little whack, since the strings don't really hurt them, and the pressure of the whack isn't directed in one small spot. A broom would also work without causing injury.

    Like others said, you have to let her know who's boss. Become part of the pecking order and assume top rank, she'll respect you [​IMG]
  7. allmypeeps

    allmypeeps Songster

    Apr 9, 2009
    I had a light brahma I got specifically because they were said to be docile. Well, this one decided to do the same as yours and she would monkey bite us- grab skin and twist and go back for more!!! gently kicking her aside with our feet did nothing (except save us from a nasty bite).

    I would do as others said and pin her down...it took us a long while and actually had to incorporate 'pretending to peck her' as well- I'd take my index finger and poke her all over with it as if i was another hen 'attacking her' (I wasn't hurting her by any means- but we all know hens scream their heads off when they get pecked no matter how hard or light).

    She got the hint and eventually would squat in submission any time I came into her space...however once in a while i still had to 'remind her' of her place.

    Funny thing was, she was submissive to all the other birds---a real scaredy chickne and would run behind me and hide between my legs/stand on my feet for protection if another hen looked at her funny....Thats gratitude for ya!!!! lol
  8. annep

    annep Songster

    Mar 4, 2011
    Quote:That's what I was gonna say! You stole it..But, glad you did..
  9. Uzuri

    Uzuri Songster

    Mar 25, 2009
    Yep, make her squat! If you don't have a rooster, they should think of you as the rooster.

    Mine now squat randomly when they see me coming (to the point where they've stopped suddenly and done it, and I've taken a header over them).

    With less aggressive hens who try to peck, you can also peck back -- give 'em a tap on the head with two fingers. Do it any time you get pecked, and they'll stop.

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