My chicken is a bully!

Emojikitten

Songster
Mar 26, 2017
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This little chicken is Ash.
She looks cute and innocent, right? You just wanna pick her up and cuddle with her. Well if you do that she will peck you so hard that you start bleeding.

Every time I try to change the food or water or pick up one of the good hens, she either pecks me so hard that I bleed, flaps at me, or bites me and won't let go. I give them as much attention as I can and I feed them fresh food and give them fresh water, and I play with them and let them out when there are no hawks (which is basically never, but they still get a lot of free time.)

I want to make Ash so that she's nice again. Is there a way I can make her behave? I'm not asking for a super-behaved trained hen, I just want her to stop attacking me when I'm trying to feed her.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Great Horny Toads
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Jul 16, 2015
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She doesn't respect you. Unfortunately when you pet and cuddle chickens they often see it as submissive behaviors. She feels it's her right to peck you. Most birds can't handle or understand human interactions. A chicken only knows how to be a chicken, and chickens peck each other to communicate. Don't let her into your space, that's what a chicken understands.
 

Thejperez

Crowing
5 Years
Oct 7, 2014
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Chickens have a pecking order, first is the most dominant chicken, that's whoever can make the other chickens submit. That usually means literally pecking their way up the order.

She sees you as another chicken, she needs to make you submit so she can still be top hen. The solution is simple... Make her submit.

I don't do this to hens often, they usually respect me, but I do this to most of my roosters. Roosters think I'm also a rooster, trying to steal the hens away from him. At first roo like behavior towards myself I show him I'm at the top of the pecking order.

Take Ash, when she trys to harm or intimate you, and 'peck' her with your finger. Be careful, she'll definitely try to peck up back. You can also pin her down, just take your hand, I put my three middle fingers on the chickens back and my thumb and pinky under her wings for support, and press hard enough to hold her there until she stops struggling, or longer if needed.

She should start seeing you as top chicken soon enough. Hope this helps!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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Here's my version of 'pecking back'.

Have had this happen several times, mostly with hand fed chicks often as they come of age and get spunky. It's pretty easily curbed with calm and deliberate determination.

I peck them back, on the head or anywhere I can reach, with the tips of thumb and first 2 fingers, as hard and fast as many times as I can before they get away. Well, not hard enough to hurt them, just startle them and let them you mean business. That's what another chicken would do, so they understand that kind of communication.

If that doesn't work after a couple applications, I hold them down to the ground with my hand on their back until they submit....again firmly enough to get the job done but not hurt them....add a few finger pecks and/or tug on the feathers on the back of their neck.
 
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