Mean chick

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Agilityscots, Jul 13, 2007.

  1. Agilityscots

    Agilityscots Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2007
    Central Ohio
    My Dominiques are a couple of little jerks. I'm not especially fond of them at the moment. They both seem to be fighting--squawking and running at one another and bashing each others' chests, bullying the other chicks--and last night one of them decided to try ME. I was hand-feeding some steel-cut oats, and one of the Dom girls was pecking up my arm, pecking and twisting skin...she wasn't even pecking at moles or anything. So I started tapping her away with a finger. If she ate nicely, she could stay...but as soon as she started that peck/twist business on my arm, I flicked her away lightly with a finger. Well, after doing it a few times of flicking her away, she did this strange thing: she stretched her neck up and then back down very quickly, many times in succession (reminded me exactly of something a displaying male of any species would do)...and then flew right at my face! I was standing up and bent over the pen, so this was very deliberate. I didn't do anything, just yelled at her. Any idea what's up with this? She was nicer this morning when I offered yogurt, but she's a real turd and I still don't trust her.

    Amy
     
  2. Wolfpacker

    Wolfpacker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 7, 2007
    Raleigh
    Whoa. I have six 7 week old Dominiques and they are all very loving and affectionate and all get along well with each other. I thought that was a characteristic of the breed. Surprised to hear about yours.

    BTW - I eat McCann steel cut oats every morning. They're a little hard to find here and a little expensive, but GOOD!

    I feed my hens the cheap stuff. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2007
  3. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Amy, I've never had that behavior with a young chick, but you may have an alpha hen in the making. My flock leader, a cantankerous RIR named Ruby, is sort of like that. If I am holding another hen low to the ground, she takes the opportunity to attack that hen, no matter who it is. If we push her away, she flies back at us. Instead of flicking the baby away, which is actually you sparring with her, do this. Get her and press her to the floor by her back, like a rooster would do. Make her submissive to you instead of sparring back at her. Hold her down till she calms down. I don't know if it will work with a chick, but it does work with hens.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2007
  4. Agilityscots

    Agilityscots Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2007
    Central Ohio
    Well, I guess I'm glad that I'm not overreacting. As a dog trainer and behaviorist, I keep worrying that I'm trying to apply doggy behaviors to chickens...but as soon as I saw that last night, I knew it was a threat of some sort, even if I didn't understand it! This same chick will also get VERY ticked if Ruby, my BO and favorite who likes to go for rides in my hand, sits on me. She flies up and knocks her off with lots of squawking. Interestingly enough, she's also the one who often pretends she's not interested in whatever I have to offer; she'll come up and take a tidbit or two, and then while the others eat, she wanders off and does her own thing, scratching through the pine shavings. Booger!

    Cynthia, I'll try what you mentioned. I don't want this behavior to get out of hand. I had no idea I was sparring with her by flicking her away! Ooops!!

    These girls are almost 4 weeks old, so they're still small enough to be manageable, but if she keeps this up she's going to be rehomed. Even though I'm a vegetarian I've also had some sick fun threatening her with the stew pot. :thun

    Amy
     
  5. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Amy, in addition to that, pick that girl up and carry her all around with you. Let her know you're in charge, just don't spar with her. I think she'll change a little toward you. She may still be dominant which is what you get in an alpha hen anyway. And give me a progress report in a couple of weeks and let me know if she's better.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2007
  6. Agilityscots

    Agilityscots Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2007
    Central Ohio
    Okay, Cynthia, will do. I'm sure she won't be happy about being carried, but that sounds like a nice thing to try...sounds "chicken friendly" rather than combative. [​IMG]

    Amy
     
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    People always comment on how friendly and sociable my chickens are. I handle them all from the very first, even the ones that are hen-raised get the treatment (my broody trusts me with the babies). I don't want a chicken I can't handle. Even my "Evil Ruby" gets picked up and carried around and petted, growling the entire time, LOL. She is too funny, pretending she hates it, but if you rub the base of her comb, she holds very still, LOL. I also handle the ones I know I'm not keeping so the new owners won't have a problem. Some are tougher to "sweeten up" than others.
     
  8. Agilityscots

    Agilityscots Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2007
    Central Ohio
    Okay, I'll work on sweetening her up! I will kill this chick with kindness! I'm on my way to the basement right now. Thanks for the tips, Cynthia. Oh, my DE came today...can I sprinkle a bit in my brooder?

    Amy
     
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Yes, you can put a little, but go easy on it. They may sneeze a little when it gets up their noses.
     
  10. Agilityscots

    Agilityscots Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 9, 2007
    Central Ohio
    Okay, I'll take it easy. I just don't want them getting any mites or anything. I guess since they've only been in my basement they really shouldn't have come into contact with anything yet.

    Amy
     

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