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Is this aggression or normal behavior?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by misspnme, Jan 14, 2014.

  1. misspnme

    misspnme In the Brooder

    Oct 25, 2013
    Hi all, I have 8 RIRs who are around 30 weeks old. My two year old daughter loves taking scratch out and feeding them but lately 2 of my hens tend to peck her. I'm assuming they aren't doing it intentionally or to be aggressive, they will at times follow her as well and throw a peck here and there at her hands when she doesn't have any feed. I'm thinking they're just expecting her to feed them and are getting a little ahead of themselves but wanted to make sure that this is normal behavior. These chickens are my daughters absolute joy but she's starting to become afraid of them because of the pecking. Anyway to fix this besides not allowing her to feed them? TIA

  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Crowing

    Apr 11, 2011
    Some of my girls get a little pushy when they think I have or should have food. I've had a couple that would try to fly to my shoulder/arm/in the feed bucket because they were so impatient. The flock I have now will peck at my pants legs and shoes if I'm taking too long.

    It doesn't sound aggressive to me. Its most likely the exact opposite, but they could hurt her by mistake. I'd imagine your supervising tho. Maybe your daughter could stomp her feet at them when they bother her, it works for me...sometimes. Good luck!
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014
  3. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Go to the feed store and buy her a pair of insulated winter work gloves for kids. I have this problem when I distribute meal worms. I know the feeling when you know your hands are going to get painfully pecked. Wearing nice padded gloves takes away the anxiety so only joy is experienced.

    Wait. Two years old? You won't find gloves that small. Maybe infant-sized mittens or thick baby socks.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2014
  4. chickenboy190

    chickenboy190 Crowing

    May 31, 2013
    I agree with howfunkyisurchicken. Mine will peck me like that when they just get to impatient.
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Normal does not mean acceptable.

    Would you allow a dog to nip her each time she fed it a treat? I sure hope not. Chickens can understand they can't bite humans same as a dog can. I'd do the same method, also, swatting them when they even attempted to bite. You'll need to closely supervise until the birds are reconditioned this is not okay to do. Swat them, stomp at them, whatever you need to do to make them realize you/she are the one in control of who eats what when. Any animal that's hand fed needs manners. You want chickens to be enjoyable for your daughter, not traumatic. A pushy animal during feeding time will just get pushier and pushier, and someone can get hurt, even by a 5lb hen.
    1 person likes this.
  6. misspnme

    misspnme In the Brooder

    Oct 25, 2013
    Thanks everyone for your suggestions! I wasn't sure if they were able to be trained but knowing that they can learn is great news! I'll be looking for some thick gloves for her (were in Hawaii, mittens are hard to come by) and will start working on reconditioning. Thanks again!

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