Mean Australorp (hard peck)???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KDOGG331, Dec 31, 2015.

  1. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,152
    859
    406
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts
    My birds seem to have a HARD peck lately, particularly the Australorps. Today I gave them dirt from outside the thing and the Australorp pecked me again and then Orp and Rock joined but with them I believe it was maybe just because I had dirt stuck to my thumb and they thought it was food. But the Australorps just seem mean. A few days ago one pecked my forearm HARD when putting them to bed, didn't "bleed" per se but left a tiny beak sized red mark for the first time. Even as a little baby she has had a hard peck when hand feeding but now seems kind of mean. I don't like the alpha thing for dogs but for chickens it doesn't seem so off that it could be true so while previously I ignored it, I have lately been fighting back. Not hard or violently really and only maybe 2 or 3 times, def not consistent, but one time she did it over food so I chased her away with my hand then she came back and did it again so pecked her neck with my fingers a couple times till i finally managef to get to her head as she was ducking. Then i stood up and walked by. Not official chasing but somewhat. Then crouched again and back to feeding the others and let her back. I make it sound dramatic but really it was all fairly gentle and more shooing than chasing and no other birds were spooked but I figure the others chase her so maybe I should too. She is near the bottom of order I think. The arm pecked day I was just like OW! NO! BAD GIRL! and shut the door, sort of a panic. Today I panicked too and I think I accidentally flung the dirt at her ( it was only a tiny bit in my hands) hah ANYWAY. I know this isn't really the right thread so I'll make my own but I think this started early so my point and question is do you think this is just because of the lack of space as chicks? Because I've heard space issues can cause behavior issues and once it starts it's for life but I wasn't sure if this was from that and if it truly is for life. Because out of the pen in the yard they avoid me so I don't get it. And they really don't seem to peck or fight with each other, other than the occasional squabble and chase over a good treat (worms and for some reason BREAD really seem to excite this), it's really only me. Could it also be all the chasing I did as chicks and they just don't like me? They have been permanently outside 2 weeks now though and no chasing. And now I know some of you didn't think I was very equipped for chicks but that was before and ever since the other chick passing they've been doing great and I check everything often but besides that don't even really go out there. Heck, they even go in the coop all by themselves too ever since the second or third night out there, had to catch them twice, and ever since they go in when it gets dark. Soooo assuming it's my fault? OR. Do Australorps just naturally have a hard beak?

    Also i think it's only one but not sure
     
  2. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,152
    859
    406
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts
    OH! And they turned 9 weeks old on Monday
     
  3. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

    4,766
    572
    281
    Aug 29, 2012
    Australia
    If you have a freckle or a speck of dirt on you they will peck at it. If you normally have food in your hand but don't now they will try and eat your fingers. I don't really think there is any malice, I think they are just learning what is and isn't food, especially at that age. Australorps, especially young ones seem to turn off the rest of the brain when there is food lol. It's as if you have been starving the silly things and all they can think about is grabbing and running.

    I hatched a single australorp last year and I've never had a bird with such a hard peck before. Reached the point I'd grab my hand away rather than let her eat out of it cause it hurt she pecked so hard and didn't seem to understand the difference between seed and flesh. . Here we are a year on though and I let her eat out of my hand again because with age has come a bit more control on her part and while still harder than the others it doesn't hurt anymore.

    This year we hatched two more and they are exactly the same if not worse, they will even try and eat my fingers! I'm not concerned, I'm sure once they mature a bit they will calm down around food too.
     
  4. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

    9,152
    859
    406
    Jan 18, 2008
    Massachusetts

    Thank you for the input!! I'm glad to know that it might just be the breed and the age then and not necessarily something I did or a pecking order thing. I think I will stop trying to get back at her then and just see if she matures. She does tend to take treats and run though, you are right. Especially outside the pen where there is even more room and especially bread. They all tear pieces off and run for the hills as far and wide as possible without leaving the safety of the others too much LOL they especially love to chase for it, even if I am trying to hand each one a piece. They want what the other has. Especially the EEs and Orps. Lol.

    But yeah, I did the same thing. The others would eat from my hand as babies and this one would have such a hard peck! Even when she wasn't trying to be mean, she would be eating the food like everyone else but had such a hard peck! And then when the food was running low she would try to get pieces between my fingers or peck my skin instead of the obvious pieces lol and it was only the two Australorps.

    So I'm glad it could be the breed as she does seem a bit confused when I shoo her off, like she doesn't quite know what she did and like she wasn't trying to be mean so who knows.

    The thing that I don't get though is why she pecked my arm. That's rwally the only one that maybe seemed truly mean and "get away from us" type thing now that I think about it. I was cleaning the door (it's a kit so the railinh system wasn't really thought out well so shavings get stuck in rail causing door to not close all the way after a while. Only a tiny bit but still) and trying to keeo them in as I'd kind of woken them up. And it was a real hard peck almost peck and twist.

    The others I've noticed will peck at flowers or any other designs on my clothes, holes in my shoes, etc. And that I recognize as curiosity but I don't know, with her it seemed different sometimes, but I guess I will just have to wait and see if it stops on it's own
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by