Jersey Giants- Friendly ??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chixbvs, Sep 1, 2008.

  1. chixbvs

    chixbvs Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 28, 2008
    Got a Jersey Giant pullet, approx hatched mid April. Was a hatch / brood mate to our four New Hamshires. Is the low hen on the pecking order so far (three days in). Went for me yesterday and got my hand, drew blood. (backhanded her in surprise !)

    Aren't these a docile breed ? Is she just stressed out from the new surroundings ? Will she calm down ? Other four hens / four pullets are friendly - concerned for the kids/ safety, as she is already large and not full grown.

    Suggestions ? Thanks for your help.
     
  2. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator Staff Member

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    Apr 21, 2008
    West Michigan
    [​IMG]

    First of all, I'm sorry you got hurt. That must have been surprising (and perhaps a little scary)!

    Have you ever heard the story of the friendly family dog that, one day, out of nowhere, bites someone? An animal is an animal, and sometimes, even if it is known for a docile temperament, it can get into a situation where it feels it needs to use its teeth or claws (or beak) to defend itself. Jersey Giants are normally big, friendly chickens, but they are certainly capable of doing damage if they need to.

    So...with that in mind... I'm interested in hearing a few more details. [​IMG]

    What was the situation in which you got pecked? (Where was she, where were you...what were you both doing?). Perhaps we can figure out what you did that caused her to defend herself so that it doesn't happen again.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2008
  3. chixbvs

    chixbvs Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 28, 2008
    Thanks for your reply. Our coop has a knee level high shelf along the inside in front of the doors to the laying level (although do any of them lay in there ? of course not, but I digress) and she was coming out the door. I was bending down to reach way under this shelf, where they do lay, to get an egg that was in the corner. I put my hand on the shelf to steady myself. I can only hope that she thought I was going for her and not the shelf when she got me. We have only had chickens since April, and none of the others had ever been aggressive (towards me or the kids), so I was really surprised. BUT - the others had been chasing her as they worked out the pecking order, so I am trying to rationalize it that way, that she was / is stressed.

    We were looking forward to having what we had been told was an uncommon breed that had a friendly personality, as our hens are the kids pets. (of course, who takes care of them ha ha) Hopefully she will come around. I do find that I am "watching my back" with her for now.
     
  4. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Got a Jersey Giant pullet, approx hatched mid April. Was a hatch / brood mate to our four New Hamshires. Is the low hen on the pecking order so far (three days in).

    It sounds like you just got this hen. Am I reading that right? I would expect there to be some stress in the adjustment of a new home. It could be that your hen is stressed. We usually give stressed birds a vitamin/electrolyte boost.

    We have only had chickens since April, and none of the others had ever been aggressive (towards me or the kids), so I was really surprised. BUT - the others had been chasing her as they worked out the pecking order, so I am trying to rationalize it that way, that she was / is stressed.

    If the rest of the flock is picking on her, she may not realize that you aren't going to do the same. If she were in our flock, I think I would spend some extra time holding her and hand feeding her some healthy treats (yogurt is good) so she can get used to you as friendly, not another attacker.

    Our Jersey Black Giant is one of the friendliest birds in our flock. All the nieces, nephews and grandkids have had their pics taken holding this bird. She even naps on their laps. She is our only JBG and one of our flock favorites, so I've posted about her and her picture on BYC a number of times.

    Our JBG started laying at 5 months of age and went broody at 6 months of age and has gone broody every 6 months since. She is now over 2 years of age and is once again raising chicks. The current group of 5 chicks are 7 weeks old. While she doesn't appreciate anyone touching and holding her chicks, she hasn't ever pecked at us.

    I know our girl is near the bottom of the pecking order, even though she is the largest adult bird we have.

    Good luck!​
     
  5. chixbvs

    chixbvs Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 28, 2008
    thanks for your post. She seems to be fitting in better today (day 5). She will come right up and look at us, and watches us in the house through the porch sliding glass door. She will eat out of a bowl when I hold it out to her, but I just can't trust her yet to try and hand feed her. As far as picking her up - she does not seem much too for it, and I don't want another pokey hole in my hand ! The people who gave her to us have about 150 chickens / ducks and I doubt she has been handled much in the past. She and her sister were supposed to come with the New Hampshires, but when we went to pick everybody up, they escaped and hid themselves among the Sumatrans. Only now she grew big enough to easily pick her out (her sister is still hiding). So she is also trying to get used to things without 200 other birds around.

    She is already the biggest of the bunch (a Cochin, an Americauna, a Houdan, a Sumatran cross, and four N.H.), but only the Cochin (the sweetest one out of all of them- hasn't laid an egg yet, though lol) seems to hang out with her and not pick on her. The smallest, the Sumatran, is actually the meanest ! Napoleon complex, I guess.

    Thanks for your help !
     
  6. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Quote:Well, that would kind of explain her behavior. Jersey Giants are known for their mild temperament. If she was one of a large flock, she probably got picked on a lot. You are probably right, she probably wasn't given much attention.

    Quote:After she has been with you for a while, she will settle down and you may find that she hangs out with some of the others in the flock. We have some Cochin, Marans, and Cochin-Marans mix chicks being raised by our Jersey Black Giant hen now. This is my first experience with Cochins. I could see how your Cochin might befriend the Jersey Giant. They seem to be similar in temperament.

    Give it some time. I'm sure it will work out fine. Good luck!
     

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