New Enclosure and Biting?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ajz09, Mar 27, 2017.

  1. ajz09

    ajz09 New Egg

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    Mar 27, 2017
    Hi! (Prepare for a semi-dramatic story[​IMG])
    I'm new to the world of backyard chickens. Very, very new. In fact, I just started the hobby on Friday. To be more exact, I was thrown into it.
    As I was taking out the trash that day my neighbor had stopped me and asked if I could help them out with one of their chickens. I knew they had been taking care of the amazing creatures for a while now. I loved them! Always so cuddly and full of personality. They asked if I could take in their newest addition, as they were moving to a neighboring state. Of course I had to say yes! Right before they moved away they left the little, pigeon-sized hen with me in a large, plastic flower pot. I was in love! She looked like a young Barred Plymouth Rock, but I'm unsure. (She's mottled with black and white feathers. I will probably put up some pictures soon! What a pretty bird!) At first, she was very sweet. I could pet her and pick her up with no issues.
    The next day, I decided to move her into a bigger enclosure while we were waiting for her coop and run to arrive. I bought a Sterilite container around 5 feet long and 2 feet wide. She seemed very happy to have more room to spread her wings out! However, after visiting her later, she shied away from me, pecking if I got too close. When I tried to pick her up to get her outside, she bit me. It didn't hurt, but it had reoccurred several times after that. She was also almost furiously grooming herself.

    Does anyone know what is happening to her?
    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
  2. Cluckcluck1215

    Cluckcluck1215 Overrun With Chickens

    How long have you had her?
    She is proboly nervous.Let her out during the day for a while and feed her out of your hand.Then SLOWLY reach out and see if she will let you pet her.If she crouchs, pet her for a minute and murmur softly and pick her up and put her on your lap and pet her neck or back softly.

    For the grooming its Normal.
     
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I agree that at the moment she is scared and confused. Treats will help. I'd also suggest getting at least a couple of hens to keep her company. Chickens are social animals and thrive in a flock.
     
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  4. Cluckcluck1215

    Cluckcluck1215 Overrun With Chickens

    :thumbsup CTKen.I agree, getting a few more hens will defintally help.
     
  5. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She's going to need time to adjust to being in a new home, with a new person. And it's possible she wasn't handled much before, so while she tolerated it at first, now she's acting up out of fear. Try making friends with her first, bribing her to come to you with treat, and just sitting around a getting her used to your presence, instead of picking her up - many chickens don't like being picked up and she might be seeing you as that scary human that lifts her.

    If you're willing and able to get more chickens, she'd probably like it a lot. Integrating chickens does take some work so don't feel like you must immediately run out and find more birds. I'd let her get a little more settled, and then if you think you can handle a couple more, you can start looking into getting a few more birds to keep her company.
     
  6. ajz09

    ajz09 New Egg

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    Mar 27, 2017
    I'll try to give her some more alone time and less travelling. I bet it was terrifying for her to be moving from her previous owner's castle into a Sterelite bin! I'll probably spend an hour or so with her every day, only bringing her out onto the lawn for some play time or spot cleaning her cage. Does that sound good? She seems like a wonderful creature that seemed to wind up in a crazy household! I hope she adjusts soon. Everyone in the family loves her already. (Again, another explanation for her nervousness.) Do you have any more helpful tips on gaining her trust? Any special treats your chickens like or any personal experiences that might help? I'm open to anything that you have to say... I'm going to need it!

    Also--- I apologize for my lack of research! I've been spending so much time trying to get all the materials for her that I barely thought about how she would react under all the stress. I'm so grateful to have a group of knowledgeable people helping me.

    Thanks again!
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2017
  7. AshlyMommaWard

    AshlyMommaWard Chillin' With My Peeps

    If she's very shy, I highly advise against letting her loose outside. There are many "help how do I catch this loose/new chicken" posts. She could spook and escape. If she's in your house for now, I think the poster above ment to let her out of her container in your house and just be around. It's easiest to make friends with chickens with food, not physical attention. While some breeds are known for being friendlier than others, in my experience about 80% of chickens don't want to be touched. They may become tame enough to allow it, but the rare few actually want to get in your lap/ be picked up. I'd just befriend her with healthy treats, meal worms, sunflower seeds, bits of fruit or veggies. Just make sure you don't give so much treats as to go over 10% of her diet, you can throw off the nutritional balance and cause problems. If she's a young bird, be sure that you're feeding her "grower" and not layer feed, it would be too low in protein and too high in calcium for a growing bird.
    We'd be glad to help you identify her breed, just post a picture here. A good profile shot and a clear close view of her head and face should help us tell you age, gender and breed.
    Best wishes.
     
  8. ajz09

    ajz09 New Egg

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    Okay second try! This morning I decided to give her some cabbage as a "I'm sorry for freaking you out for three days straight" treat. She pecked it once then nipped me. I visited her again this afternoon. My brother wanted to see the chicken for a while now so his family was invited over. I only let him in the garage. We refilled her food and was she sweet as ever! She let him pick her up and give her a few pets before wandering off to poke at the little treat dispenser toy that the kids made for her. She was a completely different chicken! When I had to put her back in her enclosure, she nipped again. However, when my brother picked her up she didn't mind at all... crazy! I wonder what happened. Has anything like this happened to you guys?

    Also, I'll put up some pictures of her up soon!
     
  9. AshlyMommaWard

    AshlyMommaWard Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've had a few "nipping" chickens. One out of curiosity, a couple who just decided they'd eat me if I didn't bring treats and lastly, ornery cockerels. One reason I want you to post a picture is to determine for sure the sex of the bird you have. There could be other explanations, but the one that's coming to my mind is that you've got a cockerel who is challenging you, but didn't want to challenge the brother (is he larger framed than you?)
    My mother's ornery cockerel tries to peck the heck out of her every time she grabs him. I've never been pecked by a female bird for picking them up, just my experience. I also find it fishy that the neighbors couldn't take this particular bird with them when they theoretically took the rest of their flock (?). Unfortunately there are some crappy people that keep chickens and intentionally mislead others about breed, gender etc. Of birds. Hope this didn't happen to you, looking forward to pictures.
     
  10. ajz09

    ajz09 New Egg

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    Oh no! They had gotten her from family friends that had seen her(him?) wandering the neighborhood for quite a while. I helped them see if anyone nearby was her owner and they put up an ad about a found chicken that nobody responded to. When they knew they couldn't keep her, they gave her to my neighbors who already had a large flock. I think the reason why she was left with me was because they were almost overcrowded by that time. She came to me with some plucked feathers. (I'm glad they were moving to a bigger property! It would be terrible to put her under the stress of being stuck with a huge flock on an hour-long move! Not that leaving her with a clueless me is any better. Some experience counts, right?) Okay okay okay... just waiting for the kids to GET OFF THE DARN PHONE SO I CAN GET THE PICTURES!!!
     

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