Interesting sudden change in behavior of a chicken

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cukuriku, Aug 25, 2016.

  1. cukuriku

    cukuriku Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2016
    Honestly, I imagine the usual use of the word "behavior" for this category refers to the behavior in regards to the egglaying, but eitherway, I doubt this is egglaying behavior, and I'll post here because this category seems most befitting. Alright, I finished my intro, now to the point.
    I'm going to mention some facts which may seem irrelevant, but being that I don't really know the cause of the behavior of this chicken, I feel that perhaps the facts I'll mention may have possible clues to the cause. I own two older chickens of about 9-10 weeks old, one a cockerel and one a pullet, and three baby chicks bought recently. In the beginning, I used to spend time with the older ones before it got dark, when they like to hop onto my lap and either fall asleep or relax etc. Often I check their crests (they're Polish) to make sure it doesn't disturb their eyes or vision etc, and I pet them...and in general I'm pretty soft around them. I'll be honest, I have little kids which have to be carefully watched that they don't do something dangerous to the chickens, but even though they are pretty good with them, at the end of the day they make noise and run to them with their arms stretched out and smiles on their faces which scares them, well, naturally I guess...and my 2 yr old also cries a lot because the bird, understandably, just doesn't want to come to him, so he's somewhat offended etc, and I'll also ad, since the new chicks were bought, the older ones do get shooed away from time to time (by me as well) because they peck at them quite often (because they feel threatened by them of course...).
    Now I'll mention the change of behavior, and we'll see if someone feels it's surely because of the above mentioned facts, or perhaps for other reasons. Today, I sat once again with my two older chickens on my lap. The cockerel is very comfy today, and kindly lets me pet it, check it over etc, to make sure it's healthy and has no issues. Then I began petting and checking the pullet, when all of a sudden she started making these "purring" noises, and then bit me! It didn't hurt, but not quite expected...I figured that pushing her off my lap won't make her feel more comfy, so I let it pass. Then, it looked like the cockerel looked at her, then at me, and gave a look as if to say "I dunno what got into her!"' ok that was just for the humor, but that's what it looked like...then, I said to myself maybe she didn't appreciate that I touched her crest, so I started petting her back, like she usually likes, when all of a sudden she made that noise again, lifted her head, and again-bite! Very odd, so I decided I'll stop touching her and limit it only to the cockerel. He didn't mind, but all of a sudden, she lifted her head, and bit me again, while petting the cockerel! Really strange, so I let them have a few more minutes, let them down and put them back in their run. I imagine such a young pullet isn't quite near egglaying, so is it because a hand which perhaps will grab her like my kids always attempt to (because they want to "play" with them) is just scary for her now? What's the explanation to this strange, moody behavior?
  2. Your reading too much into this....They are Chickens...I never handle mine unless for a reason.
    The holding and petting of the Rooster will create a mean Rooster....
    That is a whole other topic you will need to figure out as he matures.

    The whole backyard Chicken concept has been blown out ....Chickens are easy if handled and cared for in the proper ways that a flock of Chickens live. First off they are really not pets in a sense, but livestock allowed to live in cities....They have a strong pecking order and I can only stress that the pecking hen sees ''you'', bellow her in the pecking order....Not a good dynamic at your place right now.
    No more holding the birds...You be top hen or they will treat you bad as they mature...
  3. cukuriku

    cukuriku Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2016
    You should know that I only changed my mindset from what you wrote now to holding them more because of this site, as I thought it was indeed good for their development etc, being that I honestly am a total beginner in the whole chicken thing even less than a year. I appreciate you reopened my eyes about realizing that they are indeed not pets as much as just animals that are raised. Eitherway, I'm curious firstly-why do you feel that petting a rooster would make it mean? He's the one not giving me any problems, and he's actually totally not offensive against anyone. Secondly, it was the hen, not the rooster, that reacted this way. And thirdly, how in the world did your post successfully get posted without being stopped by a moderator, you just blasted the whole site! [​IMG]
  4. I never blasted the whole site at all....BYC is the name of the site....
    Anyways...Your Rooster is young, sweet and cute I presume?
    He will mature and being you coddle him, he will think of you as at the bottom...A threat to his hens. He will begin with the wing flick on his side and do a dance close to you...Its a warning to back away. He will also breed hens in your presence to show how they belong to him...Eventually he will kick at you or really attack you.
    Sorry that you got misinformed on proper Chicken rearing here on this site....

    Enjoy them of course but really stop holding them...They should respect you and your space at all times.
    I like my Chickens...Great little birds and easy.
  5. pattyhen

    pattyhen Chicks Ducks oh my

    Apr 20, 2007
    I totally disagree with you chickens really. Chickens maybe livestock to you which is your own business but to me they are my pets. I hold my chickens and they all have names and they know their names. I've never had one peck me because I let them sit on my lap.
  6. I name my hens also....The majority of people that make pets out of Chickens do not have your success.....Your lucky yours do not think of you as at the bottom....Every person is not doing the same as you do though to get the right results....

    No need to be offended....Just facts....
  7. WiddleChix

    WiddleChix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 15, 2016
    I agree with pattyhen, I hold all of my chickens that let me except for my cockerel. My cockerel won't let me hold him anyway for whatever reason he's really skittish but he's also a brabanter so that's in his nature to be shy. My chickens are my babies I love them with all my heart and I could never view them as "livestock", to me any animal I own is my pet. I've only been raising chickens for a short amount of time and I never knew chickens could be so friendly and lovable. In my opinion the more I handle my pullets the better, and I've noticed the more I attempt to pet and hold them the less nervous they are. I've read that handling cockerels will lead to aggression and although I've not experienced it (again I've only had chickens for a little while) I want to try my best to have a docile rooster because the last thing I want to do is get rid of a rooster who was aggressive, I don't believe in culling healthy animals just because they're mean or whatever reason. I love every one of my chickens and none of them have shown aggression towards me no matter how much I handle them. The only pecking I receive is out of curiosity, not aggression, and I can tell the difference.
    1 person likes this.
  8. cukuriku

    cukuriku Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2016
    Listen everyone, I could understand both opinions about the pet-livestock outlook, but that's not really what I started this thread about. Let's try to focus on the question, what's the reason for the hen's change in behavior?? Could anyone suggest something here? Argue about the pet-livestock matter in a different thread, but so far the focus was a bit diverted here...
  9. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    In my experience, as chicks get to around that age, they tend to become a little more aloof - maybe its just a bit of hormonal confusion on her behalf?
  10. cukuriku

    cukuriku Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2016
    Maybe, what should I do now, should I at all change in the way I do things? should I avoid allowing her on my lap? it's strange because she comes by herself yet still only wants my lap, my hand gets her nervous...

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by