Hen with a bad habit!

andreanar

Crowing
5 Years
May 16, 2014
2,832
4,887
437
Finger Lakes, NY
This is Ethel, she is a bald headed bantam Cochin. She and her sister are lowest in pecking order. The others mostly leave them alone, except Ethel has a very bad habit. She waits until another hen goes into a nest to lay, then she runs into the nest and insists on staying in there with them . The other hen will try to get her out by pulling her by her head feathers. Ethel will hunker down and refuse to go. I've tried sitting in the coop and holding Ethel back from getting to the nest, and she fights me like a wild beast! What can I do? Is she just nuts? Is she territorial over the nests?
20180307_150559.jpg
20180307_150551.jpg
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,828
34,458
1,122
Colorado Rockies
That lower photo says all we need to know about Ethel. I have a friend like her. Stubborn, set in her ways, and you can't change her mind, no matter how hard you try.

My friend may be a hopeless cause, but there may be hope for Ethel. The key to changing a chicken's obsession is to try to make it as unpleasant as possible or remove the attraction entirely.

Unfortunately, you can't block off the nests when other hens need to lay, so you are going to need to play hall monitor for a little while until Ethel can be convinced that her obsession is ruining her life.

I have a Buff Orpington named Edith that bears an uncanny resemblance to Ethel. Edith had a bad habit of terrorizing the other hens as they tried to come in to the coop to roost. I kept a fly swatter handy, and each time Edith would launch her terrorist act, I would swat her, just a friendly tap, on her butt. It worked. Beyond my wildest expectations. It nipped the behavior in the bud short term, and over the long term, applying it when I saw her go into her act, it has all but changed the behavior except for very brief spurts where she just can't seem to help herself and she regresses.

Stand guard at the nest, fly swatter at the ready, and when Ethel jumps up to enter the nest to bother the occupant, give her one across the beam.

Let me know how it goes. Good luck.
 

andreanar

Crowing
5 Years
May 16, 2014
2,832
4,887
437
Finger Lakes, NY
Geez, you would think getting her butt kicked over and over would be enough to deter her from barging in like that! I got the 2 little cochins to be broodies for my flock. I'm tired of brooding chicks and trying to intro them into a flock of mean girls!
@azygous do you think if I let her hatch chicks, when she goes broody, that she can defend them, being that she's low hen?
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,828
34,458
1,122
Colorado Rockies
Being as broodies go through a Jeckle and Hyde personalty change and become fierce little tyrants, yes, she will likely be great at protecting chicks. You never really know, though, until you've seen a hen go through the whole process, exactly how she will handle it all.

The thing that makes the fly swatter work is that it's an unknown adversary. You have the element of surprise and shock and a foreign object she's not seen before, all working in your favor. With Edith, all I have to do to stop her behavior when it occasionally happens is to brandish the swatter. She wants nothing to do with it, and it cuts the bad behavior right off.
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom