Random behaviour change

Kitsune_Kitten

In the Brooder
Jan 20, 2021
11
2
11
Dunedin, New Zealand
Hello, I'm new to this whole chicken business and my father and I decided to keep chickens recently. I've grown attached to some of them, but seeing as we live in the city, we can't keep roosters. My current favourite is a white Araucana named "Tortilla". Seeing as she was the only hatchling of the eggs we got at that time, I decided to act like a mother for her. I have so far spent an hour every day holding her and petting her and making sure she feels safe, but today she was very shy and when I tried to get her to come to me to climb on my arm, she jumped with her feet forward at me, then ran away before doing the safe thing again. She also randomly started pecking me and I'm not sure what brought this sudden change in behaviour.

If you do read this, thanks. I'm just worried about my little Tortilla.

If you need any information that would help, please just ask me and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
 

shaila

Songster
Dec 30, 2018
100
597
171
Alabama, USA
Welcome to BYC :D

How old is Tortilla? Can you post a picture of her?

I'm guessing Tortilla is either still a chick or a "teenager" because you hatched her and only recently got into chickens, but knowing the age and seeing her might help you get the right advice.

In any case, I suggest "pecking" Tortilla when she pecks you, using your index finger and thumb to make a beak. Just enough force to startle her. It's better to teach them pecking humans isn't okay while they're young than wait until the pecks become painful. Even hens can be naughty if you don't set them straight.
 

Kitsune_Kitten

In the Brooder
Jan 20, 2021
11
2
11
Dunedin, New Zealand
Welcome to BYC :D

How old is Tortilla? Can you post a picture of her?

I'm guessing Tortilla is either still a chick or a "teenager" because you hatched her and only recently got into chickens, but knowing the age and seeing her might help you get the right advice.

In any case, I suggest "pecking" Tortilla when she pecks you, using your index finger and thumb to make a beak. Just enough force to startle her. It's better to teach them pecking humans isn't okay while they're young than wait until the pecks become painful. Even hens can be naughty if you don't set them straight.

Here's a photo of Tortilla, she is around 2 months old, I just went to say hello to her and she tried to peck me again. I tried your advice using a pecking motion, but she jumped away before I could.
 

Attachments

  • 20210122_134757.jpg
    20210122_134757.jpg
    110.1 KB · Views: 9

Kitsune_Kitten

In the Brooder
Jan 20, 2021
11
2
11
Dunedin, New Zealand
This^^^ would be very good info.

How many chicken do you have @Kitsune_Kitten ?

Currently, we have 10, but Tortilla is being kept in the garage as seeing as we tried to integrate her with the others, she got attacked and was hiding under a ramp that we keep in the coop. She had an injury on her back and a bit missing from the top of her beak so we brought her back inside. She is in a different container but has a view of our two youngest chickens. (Named Tequila and Kentucky)
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
92,302
118,153
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I tried your advice using a pecking motion, but she jumped away before I could.
Ya gotta be fast!

Currently, we have 10, but Tortilla is being kept in the garage as seeing as we tried to integrate her with the others, she got attacked and was hiding under a ramp that we keep in the coop.
Are the others older?
Hard to integrate a single bird.
 

shaila

Songster
Dec 30, 2018
100
597
171
Alabama, USA
Here's a photo of Tortilla, she is around 2 months old, I just went to say hello to her and she tried to peck me again. I tried your advice using a pecking motion, but she jumped away before I could.

If I went by just Tortilla's age, I'd suspect she might actually being a cockerel starting to feel his hormones kicking in. Looking at the picture though, Tortilla's comb looks to have a darker spot, but its not developed enough to rule out being a pullet with a budding attitude. (someone else might spot something I'm missing though)

Still try to get a peck in on Tortilla if she gets one on you. Chickens, especially while young, can be pretty fast, but if you set yourself to act before the distance is closed between you two, you'll have a decent chance to get her back.
There are non-aggressive types of pecks, but having one coming at the end of a charge generally isn't a loving action.

Currently, we have 10, but Tortilla is being kept in the garage as seeing as we tried to integrate her with the others, she got attacked and was hiding under a ramp that we keep in the coop. She had an injury on her back and a bit missing from the top of her beak so we brought her back inside. She is in a different container but has a view of our two youngest chickens. (Named Tequila and Kentucky)

I agree with @aart that adding a single bird to a flock can be very difficult. It can be done, even a timid chicken that ends up on bottom of pecking order can be accepted enough that they can get access to food, water, and a nesting spot. You'll just have to find a way to re-introduce Tortilla that she can escape being bullied while still getting the benefit of learning flock rules.
There are articles here on BYC covering other people's experiences with introducing new chickens, I'd suggest looking over them and seeing what you can apply to your situation. Here's a couple.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/integrating-new-birds-at-4-weeks-old.72603/
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/introducing-a-single-hen-to-an-existing-flock.71997/
 

Kitsune_Kitten

In the Brooder
Jan 20, 2021
11
2
11
Dunedin, New Zealand
If I went by just Tortilla's age, I'd suspect she might actually being a cockerel starting to feel his hormones kicking in. Looking at the picture though, Tortilla's comb looks to have a darker spot, but its not developed enough to rule out being a pullet with a budding attitude. (someone else might spot something I'm missing though)

Still try to get a peck in on Tortilla if she gets one on you. Chickens, especially while young, can be pretty fast, but if you set yourself to act before the distance is closed between you two, you'll have a decent chance to get her back.
There are non-aggressive types of pecks, but having one coming at the end of a charge generally isn't a loving action.



I agree with @aart that adding a single bird to a flock can be very difficult. It can be done, even a timid chicken that ends up on bottom of pecking order can be accepted enough that they can get access to food, water, and a nesting spot. You'll just have to find a way to re-introduce Tortilla that she can escape being bullied while still getting the benefit of learning flock rules.
There are articles here on BYC covering other people's experiences with introducing new chickens, I'd suggest looking over them and seeing what you can apply to your situation. Here's a couple.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/integrating-new-birds-at-4-weeks-old.72603/
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/introducing-a-single-hen-to-an-existing-flock.71997/

Thank you, I will try that.

Also with her pecks, they are definitely not friendly as she usually opens her beak a bit and closes it on my hand nipping it, and she drew a bit of blood today
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
92,302
118,153
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Yeah the other chickens are older, I was thinking of putting her in a warm cage next to the run that we keep the rest in so that they can get used to each other, would that help?
What do you mean by a "warm cage"?
Integration can be tricky.
Sounds like you have group of older birds out in the coop.
This single 2mo bird in the house.
And a group of younger birds in the house.

How old are the younger birds?

Might be best to integrate the single with the youngers,
then integrate all of them with the olders in the coop.



Integration Basics:
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

The more space, the better.
Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
Good ideas for hiding places:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom