How to stop pecking/biting problems???

tweetzone86

Songster
Jul 23, 2018
322
381
161
Kootenai County, ID
Hello all!

So my chickens are 24 week old RIR pullets. At least 10 are laying for sure (got 10 eggs today) but am not experienced enough with butt check to know if all 12 are doing so.

Anyway, I have two little girls 6 and 9, and the chickens have been pecking them. As in, pecking their little fingers hard enough to leave a small blood spot. I would even venture to say biting them at this point.

Welp, the stupid birds also bit my fingers- even jumping up to do so! And I went in there with the kids, and they kept pecking and biting them too!

I've been hollering NO! and smacking them (not hard but enough to get the point across) on the back like a mama hen does. Apparently they're teenagers now, because they didn't listen to that and kept doing it to the point where my 6 year old was in tears. They flat out bruised my 9 year old's leg yesterday!

So today I ended up booting them- again, not hard enough to harm them but enough to let them know I mean business out of sheer desperation because they were ganging up on my girls!

I don't know if they've come to expect treats (kitchen scraps, etc and I use scratch but ONLY to get them back in the coop in the evening) or if they're simply just bored (not sure why 7x20 foot run and 6x10 coop and there's a fair bit of bugs in the run. I also gave them two whole but starting to turn apples earlier and they went berserk over them), but they need to stop ganging up on my kids and stop biting!

My girls love the chickens, and their little hearts are hurting as well that the chickens keep biting them. I'm just really irritated and want the behavior to STOP because I need the darn birds to know that WE are the boss (me and the girls) NOT them and to quite frankly CUT IT OUT!

Any tips from seasoned veterans would be HIGHLY appreciated!

(Note- I'm feeding Purina Flock Raiser plus oyster shell mixed in, healthy eggs solid shells so I doubt it's a vitamin deficiency. I'm only tossing a few things in there here and there not gorging them or anything).

(Second note- I have been doing construction on the end of the run the past two days (framing a wall and adding a human sized door) so we can stop climbing through the shed window (I got sick and wasn't able to put door in initially so finally got it there). There was lots of hammering and circular saw yesterday. Could that have set them off?)
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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SW Michigan
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Might want to stop any hand feeding for awhile.
Some birds are gentle when hand feeding, but others 'peck' pretty hard(part of that is grab-n-go 'fear').

Not sure this will work for young kids, but....
Have had this happen several times, mostly with hand fed chicks often as they come of age and get spunky. It's pretty easily curbed with calm and deliberate determination.

I peck them back, on the head or anywhere I can reach, with the tips of thumb and first 2 fingers, as hard and fast as many times as I can before they get away. Well, not hard enough to hurt them, just startle them and let them you mean business. That's what another chicken would do, so they understand that kind of communication.

If that doesn't work after a couple applications, I hold them down to the ground with my hand on their back until they submit....again firmly enough to get the job done but not hurt them....add a few finger pecks and/or tug on the feathers on the back of their neck.
 

chickens really

Crazy Mother of Goats
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Sep 8, 2015
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The Funny Farm....Alberta, Canada
Might want to stop any hand feeding for awhile.
Some birds are gentle when hand feeding, but others 'peck' pretty hard(part of that is grab-n-go 'fear').

Not sure this will work for young kids, but....
Have had this happen several times, mostly with hand fed chicks often as they come of age and get spunky. It's pretty easily curbed with calm and deliberate determination.

I peck them back, on the head or anywhere I can reach, with the tips of thumb and first 2 fingers, as hard and fast as many times as I can before they get away. Well, not hard enough to hurt them, just startle them and let them you mean business. That's what another chicken would do, so they understand that kind of communication.

If that doesn't work after a couple applications, I hold them down to the ground with my hand on their back until they submit....again firmly enough to get the job done but not hurt them....add a few finger pecks and/or tug on the feathers on the back of their neck.
:goodpost:...You would make a good Chicken if you were one..:thumbsup
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
15,759
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WA, Pac NW
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If your kids like handfeeding but don't want to get pecked so badly, you can either try having the treats/snacks in a little cup instead (and let the chickens put their heads in to grab a snack), or maybe gardening gloves.

If they're still being obnoxious with jumping, stop treats for a few days, until they're not jumping up on you.
 

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