Protective Pecking? Please help!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CooksonMama, Sep 22, 2015.

  1. CooksonMama

    CooksonMama Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 8, 2015
    Sacramento
    Hi folks! I've read a lot about pecking chickens over the past hour and a half and don't find an answer to my problem.

    I have a (normally docile) bantam. Almost three weeks ago, we had to pen the chooks instead of letting them run the yard because our landlord expects us to have and maintain grass.

    Henny-Penny has always done this to a certain extent but it's much more pronounced in the close quarters of their pen. She squats for me ALL THE TIME (I have actually tripped over her) and let's me pick her up with no problem, BUT when I start picking up or checking out the other girls, she goes straight for my hands and pecks the heck outta me! It seems like she's being protective, but maybe she's just jealous? Any ideas on how to stop the pecking?

    Any and all feedback is much welcome!
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

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    Not really sure, but if any of my hens peck me (very rarely) i gently tap their beaks with my finger and let them know that i think of being pecked.

    CT
     
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  3. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    You're correct in assuming HennyPenny is pecking you because she's miffed at your grabbing her and the other hens. Perhaps you might modify the way you go about handling the chickens. Approach more slowly, talking softly, reaching toward the chicken as you stoop down low on their level. I sometimes offer treats and when the chicken I need to handle is eating, I reach for her and pick her up.

    You certainly can discipline a chicken for behavior that is unacceptable. Simply poke them sharply on the back with your finger immediately after they peck you. Do this each and every time she pecks you. This is standard flock discipline among chickens, and it serves us humans as well in keeping our little friends in line.
     
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  4. CooksonMama

    CooksonMama Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 8, 2015
    Sacramento
    Yeah, I'm not exactly subtle or gentle when I grab them. I will change that as of now. Initially I was grabbing them to inspect their chests, which were scraped up and featherless from climbing in and out of their coop. We added ramps and I checked them two or three times a week to make sure they were healing well. I would use a bright colored hand broom or piece of fabric to herd them and then scoop them up. Since they've been handled more, I don't need a prop and they are finally taking treats out of my hands, so being nice about picking them up will be much more feasible. By hanks for your help!
     

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