Rhode Island Red Hen suddenly aggressive/personality change!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ShannonSherman, Aug 24, 2010.

  1. ShannonSherman

    ShannonSherman Hatching

    Aug 24, 2010
    we went away for two weeks and we have to buff orpingtons and one rhode island red
    we have thought they were all hens
    they are about 5.5 months old
    while we were away one of the BOs started laying and the red has gotten very aggressive
    pecking much more aggressively, not backing down when we try to put her in the coop for the night
    flying at me and pecking and almost cornering me in the coop!
    i was really scared yesterday and she gets crazy when there is an egg, up in the coop and won't let anyone near it
    anyone have any thoughts or suggestions?
    do you think we should get rid of her?
    i'm too scared to go in there right now to feed them!
  2. katdam

    katdam Chirping

    May 19, 2010
    can you post a pic of her? my rir roo does that when my hen is in the hen box, but he's not that agressive...on the other hand my other rir roo just came into "manhood" ,same age as yours, and acts the same way..i had to seperate him because he would attack me.
  3. hensonly

    hensonly Songster

    May 15, 2008
    upstate NY
    I had the same thing happen, but in my case it was a roo that got aggressive. While I was away, they got fed and watered and eggs collected very early and very late in the day, when they were on the roost. When I got back, it seemed like they'd gotten used to not having anyone in their territory.

    I just started always taking treats when I went in, cracked corn and sunflower seeds are a favorite. I'd drop some into the run to draw them away from the door, and when I went in, if the aggressive bird came toward me, I'd toss a handful of corn in front of him. Gently, so I wasn't throwing it AT him. He'd keep watching me, but stay with the corn. After a few days, he was ok with me in the coop, and I started moving around more, tossing yummies every time he started giving me the eye. If he came toward me, I just stood still. I wasn't going to back off and give him the victory, but I wasn't going to create a battle either. I just wanted him to stop seeing me as a threat. It took a couple of weeks before I stopped feeling like I had to watch him every second, but that was almost two years ago and there's been no problem since.

    I'm careful not to corner him or make him feel threatened. I don't give him a reason to defend his hens against me, and he doesn't. I can pick them up and he doesn't like it but he tolerates it. When I put them down, he gets yummies for being good. I train my dogs the same way - I don't create a confrontation, and I do reward good behavior. This builds trust, and when there's trust, an animal will let you do a lot more to it without retaliating, because they feel comfortable. Back any animal, including people, into a corner where they feel endangered or cornered, and they will react as their instinct dictates. Build enough trust and they will have fewer and fewer situations where they feel the need to defend themselves.

    I know that 's oversimplifying and not every animal will respond as well as others, but it's a lot easier and a lot better results than always having a battle on your hands when you need to do something with your critters - worth the extra effort, to me.

    Good luck.
  4. BethieofVA

    BethieofVA Songster

    Mar 27, 2010
    Yorktown, Virginia
    One of my RIR hens is the head hen and has become quite agressive. I only have four, so culling her is not an option to me. I just hope it is PMS and she will mellow once she starts laying!
  5. ShannonSherman

    ShannonSherman Hatching

    Aug 24, 2010
    thanks, i will try to figure out a way to post a pic, wondering if maybe she is a he?
    not sure what to think
    her/his shape really looks like a hen...
    but the comb is definitely a lot bigger and the wattles than the BOs
    she is VERY loud and today got out of the coop and came up to the porch and sat there all day being very loud and i was at work and my husband once tried to go out and she started coming at him
    there are also claw marks on the window screens where the coop is (of our house) very high up, as if the hen wants to get into our house
    she is not aggressive with my 6 year old son who is helping out getting eggs and bringing her in when she escapes
    i am just nervous after the "attack"
    i think we spent so much time holding them before the trip and then maybe it was weird having us back plus they started laying
    i need to go spend some time with them, but i'm nervous!
    how would i know if it is a rooster?
    she's not cockadoodle dooing, but she is VERY noisy
  6. katdam

    katdam Chirping

    May 19, 2010
    don't be scared to go back in..i have 4 RIR roos and i have been attacked by all of them (not at the same time !)...i have one that is injured and in the bathroom and he has attacked me and my husband for going in there..i have "bite" marks on my shines (i do wear pants) and my hands and arms...to me it feels like someone pinching me real hard... just arm yourself with a broom...your going to have show your the boss..carrying her around will help and putting your hand on her back and making her squat (like your the rooster) might help...i have done this when a hen thought she was a tough guy and she behaves...i was leary about treating the rooster in my bathroom because he was aggressive and a BYC member told me i was just going to have to do it..i got over my fear and just did it..that's what your going to have to do... if she were a rooster she should have greenish\\black, curved tail feathers..a hen would have black tail feathers that look like the have been cut, kinnda boxy..
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging 9 Years

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
  8. trochefarm

    trochefarm Chirping

    Aug 19, 2012
    Parker, CO
    Oh my gosh! I'm having the exact same problem! I have four girls, two RIRs, an Australorp, and an EE. They're all around 6 months old and have been very sweet up until this point. The Aussie, EE and one of the RIRs have started laying. One RIR has not, and she has become aggressive toward me when I go into the run. I've tried restraining her (gently, of course), but when I release her, she comes right back at me. I wear high boots into the run, but she's even started jumping to get above those.
    I've also noticed she's jumping up onto the higher areas (top of the coop, etc) and watching over things. She's the only one that does that. I'm 90% sure she's a "she" because she looks identical to the other Red, only a bit fatter and a bit bigger waddle and comb.
    This is my first "flock", so I called my grandmother, who used to raise chickens. She said she simply "put them in the pot" when they got like that. I hate to do that just yet.
    I'm going to try seperating her into a smaller space, with maybe a very short run, where I don't need to walk in. Hopefully she'll calm down a bit.

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