My chicken bit me!

LeenyMarie47

Chirping
Jun 1, 2016
36
18
66
Gainesville, Florida
I have had six speckled sussex chicks for about 5 months now (since they were day old chicks) and one of them recently laid her first egg! It was in the floor of the coop, not in the nesting box, but I was glad to see it in the coop anyway since they roam my acre lot during the day. About a week later, we got a second egg, also in the coop floor. I have followed her around and looked all over the property and I don't see any others.

It seems like ever since a few days before she laid the egg, this hen has been stressed out. She paces around in front of my bedroom window throughout the day making super loud noises. I was assuming that she just wasn't used to laying yet and it would get better in time. So now it's been about two weeks. Yesterday I went out to give them some rolled oats and hang out like I always do. I've handled each one of them pretty much every day of their lives and they have always been docile. Well, as soon as I put my hand out to pet Molly (the girl who's laying), she bit the fire out of me. She even drew blood.

Is this normal behavior for a girl who's starting to lay? I have heard about birds going broody and being unpleasant, but I didn't think that would happen so quickly. I'm hoping that this is just a phase because she used to be a pretty nice chicken!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
99,094
138,339
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
They can get pretty rowdy at onset of lay....lots of new hormones flowing.
She may calm down in time.

You may have surprised her......
....or she may be taking on some cock/erel roles, if you don't have a cock/erel.
Dominance aggression to 'protect the flock'.

If I get bit like that - they get 'bit' back, sharp rap with finger tips to the head.....
......don't let her 'pull rank' on you, be the 'head hen'.
 

GC-Raptor

Free Ranging
5 Years
Jul 26, 2016
5,557
11,164
671
Connecticut, USA
Yeah my girls started to bite. The ones that are laying would sneak around to my back side when I was crouching down and peck me. So now I watch the girls and if one tries to sneak behind me, I push her away. If she comes back I grab her and hold her tight against me for a minute, and tell her no and she is alright after.
I believe it's because there's no rooster in the flock, and she wants attention. I only have 5 hens. In My opinion I think you should have 7 hens minimum to a rooster.
I think I need to build a bigger coop so I can get 6 more chickens next year including a rooster. GC
 

FlutterbyChicks

Chirping
5 Years
Jan 21, 2015
102
9
63
I have an 18 weeker who I think is close to laying (or may have already laid, not sure yet) who was BY FAR the friendliest chick I ever had. She was so sweet and friendly. Then one day about a week ago, as I was leaving the chicken yard, she flew up behind me, grabbed ahold of a piece of my calf and twisted. OUCH! I wasn't sure what happened, so I bent to to pet her and she did the same thing to my hand. Holy crap! She has tried to do it a few times since, and I think it's hormones. Now I'm afraid to have her come up behind me, because it left instant bruises and drew blood. But the rest of the time, she's perfectly normal again. I never had that before in my flock from last year.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
99,094
138,339
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I have an 18 weeker who I think is close to laying (or may have already laid, not sure yet) who was BY FAR the friendliest chick I ever had. She was so sweet and friendly. Then one day about a week ago, as I was leaving the chicken yard, she flew up behind me, grabbed ahold of a piece of my calf and twisted. OUCH! I wasn't sure what happened, so I bent to to pet her and she did the same thing to my hand. Holy crap! She has tried to do it a few times since, and I think it's hormones. Now I'm afraid to have her come up behind me, because it left instant bruises and drew blood. But the rest of the time, she's perfectly normal again. I never had that before in my flock from last year.
Hold her down on the ground with your hand on her back and sharply tug the feathers on the back of her neck,
like a cock/erel or dominant hen would, until she submits, repeat as necessary.
Don't be afraid or too angry......be calm, confident, and very clear that you won't put up with that.
 

twilightgecko

Songster
May 25, 2016
507
790
211
Upstate N.Y.
i handle and play with my girls a lot.. the buff o's are the sweetest. but they sneak around behind me and peck at my shirt tails or my back.. the black australorps are the feistiest.. they will puff up and get all pushy.. its cute.. they haven't started laying yet, but i expect to get pecked trying to take an egg when they do.. it's normal for some breeds to be fiestier..
 

FlutterbyChicks

Chirping
5 Years
Jan 21, 2015
102
9
63
Hold her down on the ground with your hand on her back and sharply tug the feathers on the back of her neck,
like a cock/erel or dominant hen would, until she submits, repeat as necessary.
Don't be afraid or too angry......be calm, confident, and very clear that you won't put up with that.
Thank you, I will definitely try that with her. If we didn't have our girls from last year, and this was our first flock, she would definitely be the top hen. I'll make sure I do that to let her know she's NOT in charge of me.
 

MANNA-PRO

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