questions on chicken discipline

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Herroyalhenness, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. Herroyalhenness

    Herroyalhenness Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2012
    Okay, I can't stress more that this is our first flock, and we love our babies very much. they just started laying last month, andrecently have been acting more... (for lack of a better word) b**chy than usual. I have two NH reds (Milly, and Henrietta), two Ameraucaunas (Clucky and Mercy) and two barred rocks (Kate and Pippa). Usually, the barred rocks are the ones acting like they're royalty, and we don't deserve to be in their presence (hence the name) lol. But all 6 of them have been letting me pick them up.
    Here's where it get's weird; when I reach to pick them up, they get down close to the ground, and spread their shoulder blades apart to get their wings in this weird position. What I do to calm them down is gently stroke their wings, and tell them how they're such good girls to calm them down before I pick them up. This usually goes fine, but when I do this with my barred rocks, my ameraucauna, Clucky non-chalantly walks over, and gives them a few good pecks. At first, I just pushed her away, and said "no". then I googled some sort of help. what I read was with roosters (clucky's the alpha hen, so I assumed it would work), you have to hold them upside down by their feet. I've had to do this a total of four times. Once, when Clucky decided to chomp on Pippa's comb, again about three days later after pushing her away, and scolding her when she was persistant in pecking Pippa on the back of the head. a third time today, same problem. I had to do it last night to my barred rock, Kate. the situation was somewhat reversed. she decided to start BITING Mercy. It seems to work for a little while. When I did it to Kate, she went off, and sulked in a corner (poor thing was so embarrased. I made it up to her by giving them all cheese today.)

    Anyway, I need to know, IS THIS METHOD HURTING THEM, OR JUST CAUSING A LITTLE HUMILIATION IN FRONT OF THE FLOCK? If so, anre there any other alternative disciplinary methods I can use (aside from culling them, that's not an option.)? Those little chickies have become the family babies, so they mean a lot to us. I would never intentionally hurt them
  2. Duffysma

    Duffysma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 12, 2012
    Wakefield, Virginia
    Hi! When hens are ready and willing to mate, they will hunch down with their wings spread a little when a roo 'courts' her! They will act the same for people :). The pecking is the more dominant girls' way of asserting her status.
  3. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    What you described is normal chicken behavior. They are squatting to the dominate rooster to mate them. When you show them attention as a rooster would, the more dominate hen will sometimes come over and peck to remind the lower rank that they are above them. Most of the time a peck or two is all there will be. A rooster usually doesn't interfere with that behavior. I would say if you ignore it that peck or two that will be all there is to it. With chickens their inter actions can look brutal to us humans, but it is what the chickens themselves expect. If the brutality doesn't drawl blood the best thing to do is leave it go.
  4. Nutcase

    Nutcase Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 2, 2012
    My Coop
    yep same here... we have at least two hens who have fallen victims to bullying - but it doesn't draw blood, they are just keeping each other in their places.
  5. dreamcatcherarabians

    dreamcatcherarabians Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 29, 2010
    Chicken Politics can be brutal, but for the most part, "No Blood, No Foul" is the rule of thumb.
  6. Herroyalhenness

    Herroyalhenness Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2012
    Lol, come to think of it, when I was petting the barred rock, the ameraucana came up to peck her, and I said "don't even think about it, or you're getting flipped again" (I tried holding them like babies instead of hanging them by their legs) she backed off as soon as I said it, so I couldn't stop laughing :lol:

    NYREDS Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 14, 2008
    Just when I think I've heard it all......
  8. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    You need to be very very careful holding a chicken upside down as this can cause them to vomit and as a result get fluid in their lungs. This can kill them. I would not recommend doing this unless you have a medical reason that necessitates it. (and even then it should only be done for a few seconds at a time)

    What you described is normal behavior. You only need to intervene if you see blood. Then separate the injured bird until they have healed.
  9. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 24, 2009
    Are you for real?! You feel you have to dish out discipline to chickens?

    They are - chickens - not babies or children. They live by their own rules and instincts and you should not treat them like humans, or expect them to behave like humans.

    Holding them upside down as punishment is at best pointless, and at worst cruel. They will not learn that way, and also you can not 'humiliate' them - they can not feel humiliated for 'sorry' for doing something.

    Do you really think they will understand being kind, good, or feel bad about pecking another chicken?
  10. chooniecat

    chooniecat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2009
    central ohio
    Normal behaviour on the pullets being submissive and occasional other pullet being dominant. Let them be chickens PLEASE and educate yourself by reading more on here. You will drive yourself nutty if you try to treat them like another species and, I say this with much love for animals in general, ultimately not help the animal. Kind of like people that are horrified at the pain they may cause a dog/cat when altering them(dogs/cats are tough-will love you anyways-and you have done a responsible thing) The ONLY thing I have done I consider TRAINING of my chickens is if they go near the road I come out swing with a broom or horsewhip to scare them towards barn.

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