Psycho Hen

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by heatherlaw, Jun 19, 2016.

  1. heatherlaw

    heatherlaw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a small flock of 7 hens and one rooster. Most are LF but I have 2 banties (my rooster and a silkie) and 2 chicks. All went well for a long time but lately Lua, my speckled Sussex, has become an evil demon hen. She chases the babies that I let my silkie hatch and viciously attacks my rooster. He fights back but he can't see well because of his head pouf and she often rips feathers out of his neck. I decided she had gotten too aggressive so I took her to my moms for a few days in hopes of taking her down a notch in the pecking order. The day after I brought her back she cornered one of the 6 week old babies and stood on it while pecking it's head and riping out feathers. I'm convinced she was trying to kill it. I ran to its aid and grabbed it, but when I tried to walk away she came at ME! She clawed at me and pecked and flogged me with her wings. I gave her a good kick but she ran at me again, this time intercepted by my roo, whom she attacked and dragged by his head feathers until I grabbed her and stuck her in a cage.
    I am baffled by this kind of aggression in a hen. I know she's a hen for sure (I've watched her lay an egg and have had enough roosters to know the difference). She's always tried to move up in the pecking order and has been aggressive about treats too but I didn't think much of it. I used to have a little sizzle hen whose head she plucked bald. I don't know what to do with her. I sent her to live with my moms LF flock because she obviously can't be around bantams. At my moms house she's the bottom of the pecking order but still frequently challenges the top hens in an attempt to move up. Fortunately my moms head hen rules with an iron fist and doesn't allow such behavior.
    Is there anything I can do to stop this aggression issue? I don't trust a hen who would attack people as well as chickens.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I would give her to a party with resources to keep large fowl. Also confinement with adults can put chicks at risk when they can not get away. When I have had more aggressive hens, application of a competition rooster caused the hen to mellow. Her butt would be soundly and quickly kicked. Your rooster for a variety of reasons is not suitable for the job.
     
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  3. heatherlaw

    heatherlaw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She's with my moms flock now which are all large fowl and do put her soundly in her place. I don't intend to bring her back, I'm just concerned that this people aggression thing may continue. She has no fear of people and even after being kicked ran at me again. I almost sent her to freeze camp.
    As for the chicks, they were broody raised in the flock and had free run of a large area so it wasn't a space issue. They usually found a place to hide or ran back to mama but this time she cornered one with no escape.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I make it a point to not kick or otherwise threaten any of the chickens unless freezer camp is soon be realized. Additionally do not back away from an aggressive bird. I essentially ignore them and will wear heavier clothing if a bird is suspected of having unpleasant attitude so I can take attack without needing to respond. The cornering is in part enabled by something that confines escape options.
     
  5. heatherlaw

    heatherlaw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I realize not everyone would agree with how to handle that but she was being extremely aggressive and I refuse to be forced to wear protective clothing in my own yard because a bird is aggressive. Also, I cannot remove every bush and object from my yard so that cornering isn't possible. I am simply looking for advice on how to deal with an overly aggressive hen. I've dealt with aggressive roosters, but never a hen. I tried "pecking" her with my finger and walking through her, not around to show her I am in charge but nothing seemed to get through to her.
     
  6. waddles99

    waddles99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    NJ
    You handled it correct. I have no idea what the above person was saying but it is a very bad idea to ignore the attack. When she is attacking you, she is imaging you are another chicken that is a part of the pecking order. She is trying to establish herself over you in the order. By letting her attack you, you are letting her dominate you. This is very bad, as it encourages this behavior from her. If you let her get away with this, it wont stop. So don't ignore it. Let her know that you are in charge. Don't be abusive, but it is ok to put her in her place. I never had a hen that bad, but if a rooster is doing it, I will give him a kick. If a bird is attacking you, they deserve it. And trust me, it works. Unlike ignoring the attack and just perpetuating the behavior, this shows the chicken that you are in charge. The roo that is currently in with my hens is one of the meanest you will ever see, but every time he attacks, I give him a swift kick, and he backs off. Even the meanest bird will show you respect if he knows you're in charge.


    Never ever ever ignore this behavior. By ignoring it you are encouraging an extremely undesirable behavior.
     
  7. heatherlaw

    heatherlaw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have heard that and it's worked pretty well in the past. Last summer I had a particularly cheeky cockerel who would attack anything and everything. I "pecked" him with my finger every time he approached me when I was handing out treats and would make sure to walk through him in the yard. He flew at me once but I was ready and grabbed him mid air and pinned him down until he'd had enough. He never attacked me again and kept a respectful distance. This hen seems unfazed by any of it. I couldn't believe she ran at me a second time!
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
  8. amynrichie

    amynrichie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't feel one bit guilty about sending her to freezer camp. I have zero tolerance for mean animals here.
     
  9. heatherlaw

    heatherlaw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was very tempted. The only reason I didn't is because she's 6 months old and a great layer. But if she attacks anyone again into the freezer she goes.
     
  10. waddles99

    waddles99 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The likelihood of her attacking is good, so I would say you are going to have to butcher her. There are plenty of birds out there that are good layers that are well behaved too.
     

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