How to stop hen from pecking me and my kids when she wants to be held?


9 Years
Apr 13, 2010
We have a Rhode Island Red pullet that loves to be picked up and held. Problem is she pecks at our legs to get our attention to be picked up and now that she is 31 weeks old she has quite the power behind her peck *OUCH!. Is there a way to get her to stop doing this? I have tried just softly pushing her down to the ground and holding here there to try to show our dominance thinking she would stop pecking us but this hasn't helped. She is a great bird and once picked up she just cuddles for a while. Usually after she has been held for a while she will happily go about doing chicken things for a while before repeating this behavior. How do we get her to stop demanding to be picked up by pecking us hard on the legs every time we go outside? Anyone else have this problem?
Only thing I can suggest is wear shoes or boots when outside. Least then if she pecks it won't hurt. Sure someone will come along with better advice but that is all I could think of for now.
You are rewarding her for the behavior by picking her up and cuddling with her.
When she pecks push her away if she continues use a discipline action (no ruffness though).
Only cuddle her when she is not pecking at you.
I have two ameraucanas and one leghorn who are spoiled rotten and do a peck scratch thing on me with thier beaks when they want to be held. Then, if I hold one, the other 2 will jump up on me and peck the one getting all the attention. They are horrible lol. I don't know what to do to make them stop. I guess I could totally ignore them and not pet them at all if they do that but they usually get picked up anyways, lol that is prob why they are so spoiled.
I know this is an older post.
Wanted to give it a bump...

I have a young pullet - an Exchequer Leghorn we named Missy...her 'twin' is Li'l C...our friends CJ & Melissa named them. LOL! Anyway, Missy can't get enough attention from me!! She bites me. Right now it's 'cute' as she's only 78 days old today. As soon as I pet her she stops. This is rewarding negative behavior I know. She's SO cute and is the 1st one to come running as soon as she hears me open the garage door to the yard.

What I have done to help with this is to always have a handful of goodies - cracked corn, scratch grain, fruit or veggies - I throw them into the run or Crib as I enter. Missy still comes running for attention, but I scoop her up while the others are gorging themselves, skipping the bites & pecks & offer her a couple of the goodies from my hand. If she does happen to bite anyway, I tell her sternly NO, set her back down & walk out. Even if I only wait 10 seconds before re-entering, she gets the message. The only time she bites now is if I stick my finger through the poultry wire...she 'nibbles' on my finger for a few seconds. Nothing serious. If I want that to stop, I'll simply stop sticking my fingers through the poultry wire. LOL! I have several chickens that insist on attention in the Layer Crib. They fly onto my back if I'm bent over, onto my shoulders (must protect my piercings - as is true with most birds, they LOVE jewelry & I have six 12 & 10 gauge 'tribal' earrings, a small diamond labret & a nose hoop!!)...they want attention & while it's a little obnoxious, they aren't hurting me. The only time I get frustrated is when I'm trying to get through their Crib or yard for something & I find myself constantly stepping on chicken feet because I'm being crowded by about 25 chickens. Did I mention I'm disabled? I have multiple sclerosis, myotonic dystrophy, lupus, crohn's & balance & coordination aren't quite right, to say the least. I've landed in chicken poo many more times than I'd like. LOL!

What is it about our birds that has us making so many allowances for inappropriate behavior?
If my dogs (6 German Shorthaired Pointer's with 2 litters on the way) or teens crowded & tripped me like that, I'd be BLEEP!! And, if they were the ones doing it, I wouldn't end up face down in crap!!
i have a similar problem but shes agreessive when she pecks at me like if i crouch down to pet she pecks at me

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