Help! We're getting pecked like crazy!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by QueenofmyCastle, Jul 15, 2010.

  1. QueenofmyCastle

    QueenofmyCastle New Egg

    Jul 15, 2010
    I'm absolutely new to having chickens- I have a lot of experienced help around me, but I need help with this pecking problem!
    We have 10 Isabrown hens- they're free-range around our rural home, we got them about a month ago and they're doing wonderfully! We're getting lots of eggs, they seem very happy.

    We're just starting to handle them a bit more, but in the past couple weeks they're getting bolder and now we're getting pecked ALL the time! I have 3 kids (5, 3 and 1.5) and they're gentle, don't chase the chickens, and do most of the egg collecting. But when we're sitting outside the chickens approach us and start pecking- at feet, ankles, legs, hands, clothing, anything. Just yesterday I rescued my 1.5 yr old standing on the step crying with 4 chickens around him pecking his legs! Is this normal? How can we feed them treats without encouraging the pecking? We occasionally throw scraps while we sit outside- this has seemed to encourage it. I'd like to be able to handle them, sit with them, etc without getting pecked to death. Especially with small children around! I try to 'shoo' them with my foot when I'm sitting, or clap them away, but I don't konw what else to do.
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio

    I think chickens are just so curious. They're getting used to you, so that's why they're being bolder. They're not being mean, it's just that, like little kids touching everything, that's how chickens touch things....with their beaks. So, anything like polished toenails, or a freckle can lead to a peck. With little ones, you have to be so careful because they can even peck your little on in the eye.

    I really don't think there's alot you can do about it, maybe just wear long pants on the kids when they're out with the chickens.....and shoes on their feet. If you throw out some treats or scratch, then you can watch the chickens from a distance, and avoid being pecked. Hand feeding isn't all that fun once they're full grown and have those big beaks.

    Also, I've raised alot of chickens from little day old chicks, and if you put the time in, they can be alot tamer, but this usually isn't the case when you buy adult birds. They're not as tame, and generally don't like being handled. Maybe you could get a few baby chicks and raise them in a brooder in the house (like, just get 3), and then your kids will really enjoy them. They'll be more like pets.

    Not very helpful, but just wanted to explain what I think is going on with the pecking.
  3. noodleroo

    noodleroo Snuggles with Chickens

    Apr 29, 2010
    Rockport, Tx
    Chicmom's advice is really good. Pants and shoes should take care of the worst of your problem.
  4. bakerjw

    bakerjw Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2010
    Johnson City, Tn
    My girls peck hands and fingers like crazy but never legs. Well there was a time when my mother in law came over and one of the girls seemed to have a fetish for her cream colored crocs. Your birds certainly equate people with treats which I would think would be impossible to break.

    The advice given is best. Pants and shoes. You may throw a handful of scratch on the ground to distract them when you are out among them. I think that they'll take scratch over freckles any time. But you never know with chickens.

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