1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Pecking my hand. Do I discipline a chicken?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cambriagardener, May 10, 2009.

  1. cambriagardener

    cambriagardener Chillin' With My Peeps

    Two of my six-week-old chicks have started to peck my hand when I reach into their brooder. Should I slap them along side of their heads (just kidding) [​IMG], or just ignore. It's not too painful at this point but they will grow into big hens some day.

    I know every one of you who've had chickens has dealt with this. What should I do? I want to nip in in the bud! [​IMG]
     
  2. BirdieMama

    BirdieMama New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    May 10, 2009
    In my experience letting them get away with this behavior can be nasty consequences for you :[
    Try tapping them along the sides of their heads when they peck.
    :note: a more stern form of discipline may be required;)
    But yes, you need to let them know pecking is not acceptable.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2009
  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    449
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Just push them away, gently, firmly, quickly. If they peck my feet I sort of shove them with my foot and they land a foot or two away. No need to slap or kick, just a gentle shove gets the message across.
     
  4. chookchick

    chookchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,901
    21
    176
    Aug 18, 2008
    Olympia WA
    Do you ever feed them from your hand? If so, they may just be looking for handouts, and not too smooth about it. If you can figure out why they are doing it (curious, defensive, territorial?) that might help you figure out how to stop it.
     
  5. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    10,684
    95
    321
    May 13, 2008
    No I don't it does not seem to be a problem later on, they are just going on raw instinct right now, they will change as they develop. no need to worry now.

    AL
     
  6. luvmychicknkids

    luvmychicknkids Canning Squirrel

    Mar 6, 2008
    Floresville, Texas
    A lot of my babies "taste" me when they are little....kind of like a baby anything chewing on stuff to get a feel for their world. None of mine have turned into agressive adults.
     
  7. texaschickmama

    texaschickmama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 19, 2007
    Poolville, TX
    Around here if I see one of the chickens acting mean to another, even the roosters, I pick them up and carry them around and make them like it!! [​IMG] They always calm down and eventually like it!!
     
  8. MoodyChicken

    MoodyChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,869
    12
    181
    Feb 15, 2009
    Northern California
    My experience... disciplining a chicken makes them fight more because they see it as a challenge (but keep in mind that I raise games, totally different than fluffy wuffy layers lol). They're most likely pecking cause they are curious, not because they are aggressive. If it gets way out of hand force them to the ground (hard enough to scare them but not hard enough to hurt them and don't give in if they kick), keep them pinned for a few seconds, then grab em by the legs and let em dangle for a while. Also, when they're dangling sometimes I flick them on the comb. I do this with my unruly roos and they're behaviour has greatly improved. You want them to realize that you are at the top.
     
  9. Kim_NC

    Kim_NC Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 27, 2009
    Mt Airy, NC
    I find a lot of them do that as chicks. They check everything out by pecking since they have no hands/fingers/paws. LOL....not even a tongue long enough for lickng. They also quickly learn to associate you with food. (You are Food Lady afterall.) Often they'll peck at my fingers until they learn that my hands are not food...and only the items I'm carrying are edible. [​IMG]

    On the other hand, a grown bird gets pushed aside abruptly if they peck me anywhere...hands, feet, ankle, etc....very rare. I can even reach under mine and take eggs without being pecked. They're very tame.
     
  10. cambriagardener

    cambriagardener Chillin' With My Peeps

    Getting some good advice here. I don't feed them from my hand. I was afraid that that would start the "pecking the hand" behavior.

    They have pecked my hand when I pick them up. Kind of a warning thing. These are my two tamest birds too, in their adolescent stage! I don't want them to be aggressive. When I was a child, we had the meanest hen on earth. Terrified everyone that went into the yard. She picked on me the worst; I was the youngest and ran. I have bad memories of that.

    I'm too old to run, now! [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by