Hen Jumping Up and Pecking My Back

Leslie M

7 Years
Jun 6, 2012
I am so grateful for this forum. I cannot begin to tell you how much I've learned and the questions that have been answered by searching the threads here. Thank you all so much for sharing your infinite wisdom and knowledge. I, for one, am immensely thankful.

So, here's the situation I'm facing: I'm a 1st time chicken owner. I have a flock of 5 hens (no roo) who are 7 mos. old. Truffle, my black star, is definitely the "queen bee". She has always been a bold little so-and-so and will often take the opportunity to peck at shoes, pant legs, hands, etc.

Each day, when I go into the run to clean up, I open the closet door at the end of the hen house where I keep supplies (hay, d.e., pooper scooper, etc.), food and treats (oats, bss, dried meal worms). They all know that's where the treats are and will gather around my feet eagerly waiting for me to toss a handful of treats on the ground for them. Twice now, while my back is turned when I'm getting the treats, Truffle has jumped up and pecked me on the back.

I've read in various threads here that I should let her know I'm the head of the flock. So, following that advice, I have a small thin dowel I've used to "peck" her on the head with and have, on a few occasions, picked her up and held her on her back. For the most part, she seems to accept this reality and has kept her "attacks" to a minimum. However, this jumping on me when my back is turned makes me think she's not 100% convinced. Should I just keep up what I'm already doing? Any other suggestions? Thanks for any insight to her behavior and any advice you may have.
You have to let her know that you are the top hen, no question.

Here is what I do:

As soon as the hen comes up to me and has that look about her that she is going to peck me (or actually does peck me), I grab her and hold her to the ground with my hands over her back, forcing her to sit down. I hold her there for a few seconds (say nothing- don't scold her) and then let go.

I repeat this as necessary. If I am sitting down and they come up to me with the top hen attitude (head raised high as if to strike) I do the same thing.

It works well. Eventually they back off and acknowledge that I am the top hen. This is showing dominance to them and it doesn't harm them at all. Make sure that you are gently pushing them down but firmly enough to hold them there.

My Buff Orpingtons especially get pecky sometimes and I just have to remind them that I am in charge. Then all is peaceful again.

They are just like children though- don't let them get away with it once or they will be hard to deal with LOL!
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Show her who is boss!!!
Good Luck!

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