Hen has become aggressive towards me

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 1in10, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. 1in10

    1in10 New Egg

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    My 2-year-old Rhode Island Red hen ("Steve") has always been very friendly to me, squatting in front of me when I come into the run area and following me around, etc. Normal hen stuff. For a couple of weeks she's been pecking at my feet - I thought this was just curiosity (I was wearing crocs), but it has become increasingly aggressive, and then yesterday she launched an attack on my legs!

    There have been some changes lately in the flock, but I'm not sure which is to blame (if any) and would love to hear ideas about solutions. I have 13 hens, no roos, mixed ages. The aggressive hen Steve was not top of the pecking order, but probably #3, until #1 went broody. I gave #1 a flock of chicks and she is just now starting to distance herself from them a bit, so it could be related to her re-entry to the flock. Also, I recently moved Steve and another hen who were nesting in a separate coop into the main coop so they would be with the crowd for body warmth during the winter. I noticed another hen (#2) picking on the babies a little bit (not drawing blood, just posturing) at bedtime, but I don't think that hen would be picking on Steve - they've lived together their whole lives with no problem. I haven't noticed any problem with Steve being aggressive towards the other birds - just me.
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Steve needs some attitude adjustment. What ever the cause of her aggression towards you, she needs to learn that you always trump her in the pecking order. Read some of the threads regarding handling rooster aggression. You should be able to implement some of these techniques to manage Steve. For starters, I'd be sure to keep my legs and feet covered, so any pecking that she does do won't cause injury. If she can't hurt you, you'll be less likely to give her any kind of fear response, even if it's not intentional. Now, when you go into her space, do not walk around her. In fact, make it a point to walk where ever she happens to be standing, so she'll have to move out of your way. When you take feed and treats to the flock, again, place your body between her and where she wants to be. Make her let the rest of the flock eat first. You can use a stick about 3' long to persuade her to move where you want her to go. Just give her a nudge on her heiney! You won't be hitting her, just directing her movements. If these techniques don't stop all pecking that is directed to you, step it up a notch. When she pecks you, grab her by the feathers at the back of her neck and pin her to the ground. Or you can pick her up, and use your other hand to hold her head down below her body. Keep pushing her head down until she keeps it down willingly. (Similar to how a rooster holds a hen down when he breeds her) Keep her there until she submits and stays there willingly before letting her back up.
     

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