New Owner - Pushy Hens!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kevinhannan, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. kevinhannan

    kevinhannan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 3, 2011
    I am the proud caretaker of ten lovely little hens.

    They came to me as ex-bats and after just a few days
    of carefully-minded manners they are really establishing
    their pecking order - and that seems to include me!

    My problem is that while they have masses of room,
    inside and outside, whenever I open the door they make
    a rush for freedom! Even when I gently push them back
    inside they really stand their ground by squatting down
    and then as soon as I remove my hand they make another
    rush for the door!

    Also, I like to go in my coop in shorts and then hens are
    pecking my legs. How can I discourage this behaviour?

  2. NonnasBabies

    NonnasBabies Muddy Acre Farms Premium Member

    Sep 20, 2009
    On the Farm!
    Quote:Mine always wanna get out the coop. I mean wouldn't you?? I just use my foot to push them back from the door when I go in & out. As far as the pecking of the legs go [​IMG] Mine will peck my toes if I'm wearing flip flops but I've never had them peck my legs. Mayabe just try swatting them a little when ever they do that!! First thing I do when I go into mine is throw their chicken crack aka scratch grains and that keeps them occupied while I'm tending to business!!
  3. Kaeta44

    Kaeta44 Chillin' With My Peeps

    The pecking is simply curiosity - they want to see if you're edible! Mine jump on my lap and peck at my clothes! It's only curiosity.
  4. henparty3

    henparty3 Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 3, 2011
    we have had ours only 5 days, and we had the same thing.. pecky, bossy, thuggy chickens, where I was expecting gentle clucking motherly hens.. ours are also squatting, and plumping up the nests, and I read somewhere, that they do get a bit bad-tempered just before they start laying.. so may be hormones, or chicken equivalent, which can only be a good thing if you are looking forward to your first fresh-laid eggs !
  5. ladybug99

    ladybug99 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2010
    Monroe New Jersey
    Mine do the same thing.. all bum rush the door.. If I need to get into the pen for something I usually throw something into the pen to distract them, usually a bunch of weeds I have pulled out of the garden on my way to the coop or some bird seed. They go running for it and you can get in with out them getting out. Mine get smart to the same treat so I switch them up most days, they even appreciate a hand ful of feed now and then.

    As for pecking you.. they will always peck at discolorations, freckles, cuts bruises scabs... it is just thier nature. They always go after my finger nails, I keep them polished and they find them fasinating.. and they love toes too! [​IMG]
  6. cindy99

    cindy99 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 7, 2010
    Tioga County PA
    My pop door is right at the front of the run by the real door -- I will throw something like weeds or seeds in the run and then close the door from the outside -- this gives me the whole inside to myself (except for my 3 broody girls and I don't worry about them as they are so busy growling at me that they don't even try to get outside). Also, I have a little temporary type fence that I can step over just to catch them should they get out -- this way they don't get far. [​IMG]

  7. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    Sullivan, IL
    Congrats! Sounds like your girls are settling in nicely. Rushing the door is pretty common. Most people either distract them by throwing a treat into the run just before or just as they open the door or use a feed bucket or similar to physically block their exit and push them back. I only have 7 hens, and rarely do they all rush me at once when I open the door, so I can usually get by with just gently pushing them back with my foot.

    The squatting down isn't them "standing their ground," but rather them submitting to you! This is the same behavior that they would do with a rooster, they are squatting to allow him to mate with them. By squatting for you, they are recognizing you as dominant.

    As others have said, there's not a lot you can do about the pecking either. Keep moving and shoo them away when they do peck and they may eventually stop once their curiosity is sated. Mine still peck at my legs every now and then, but I've never had them peck me hard and once they realize that darker spot on my leg isn't food they generally wander off again.
  8. Help_battery_hens

    Help_battery_hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2011
    Hi my ex bats are similar. the pecking at your legs is just their way of investigating you. this will calm down (they just havent seen legs before lol) mine pecked at everything even my eye! very painful but now they are familiar with all their surroundings and docile and friendly sitting on my shoulder and preening themselves.
    if you throw some sunflower heart seeds into their house when they try to rush out the door it will give you time and room to get in and out and the protein in the seeds is very good for their feather growth. when they squat down i have noticed this is usually due to fear and i always stroke them softly until they relax and then they just walk off without any fear.
    hope this helps....
  9. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    As far as the leg pecking, the best answer I can give is WEAR JEANS! [​IMG]

    I have a hen that does this too. She pecks me right on the back of the calf, and man that hurts! I think she does it to get my attention, and it really works.

    Mine always run for the door too. I just am really careful to push them back in with my foot......No kicking of course, just blocking them in.

    Sounds like everything is going normal for you! Wonderful of you to rescue those ex batts!

    You're a hero!

  10. kevinhannan

    kevinhannan Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 3, 2011
    Wow - and double wow!

    Thank you for the wonderful replies and your time to read and reply.
    I always thought that the hen community was a good-un and you lot
    have proved this beyond all imagination! Thank you again for your
    kindness! [​IMG]

    BarredBabies: Yes, I guess they would rush the door, I always thought
    they would be a little more, well, bird-brained about it!

    Kaeta: Thanks - I'm checking out the blog link!

    henparty3: eggs? Eggs? EGGS! There's more than I thought! My ten girls
    gave me 17 beautiful presents over the last two days - I thought they were
    s'posed to be slowing down! lol! There's 3 families on my street on the
    breadline (like me) and I'm giving my surplus eggs to them.

    Ladybug99: Yeah, except I thought my legs were pretty clear - maybe they
    can see something I can't! Pecking doesn't hurt, tho', coz they've been de-beaked.
    Right now, it's just me that's nervous!

    Cindy99: Thank you *enormously* for your wonderful pic!
    I'm going to pinch your idea of a secondary fence - I only wish I had done
    that before I pulled my arm out trying to recover an errant hen the other day!
    I *do* love the chair! I have only an old crate to sit on - boo hoo!

    Aina: your wonderful reply has increased my confidence somewhat. Can you
    imagine a 10-hen SWAT team? Well, they're here for hire! I had no idea about
    dominance and squatting - I have a lot to learn - but it's all fun and I do love
    my little girls!

    Help-Battery-Hens: hmm... even when I give them worms - oh boy, do they love
    worms! - they will still rush with the poor worms hanging in its beak! I now have
    a plan for a secondary screen door and secondary fence which will help things along
    I think.

    Chicmon: thanks a bunch, hon!

    Again, let me say, I never, evcer expected such wonderful replies from so many
    great, experienced people! Thank you for welcoming me so and I hope to contribute
    as you do. [​IMG]

    See you around these parts!

    Kind regards

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