RIR Compulsive people - pecking

karinm072

In the Brooder
Apr 7, 2015
36
4
49
Brockton, MA
Hi, I have 4 hens. Three are 35 weeks old (EE, BO RIR) and one RIR who will be 3 yrs in the spring. My younger RIR, Pippi is constantly pecking people. It used to be shoes & clothes, then lightly on skin when someone first comes outside. Now she is relentlessly pecking hands and any exposed skin she can find. My elderly mom has to wear high boots outsider from getting pecked so bad that she has bled. Just a couple of weeks ago she would peck my hands but it was tolerable, but now she is trying too hard & all the time. The other day I locked her in the run when I was winterizing the run because she was relentless. I have been trying to "Cesar Milan" her by flicking her back on her comb & body (like another chicken might peck her) but she always comes back for more. I refuse to give in to a chicken & she needs to know that I rule the roost! She is not highest in the pecking order either, she's 3rd & occasionally 2nd. Please help me get my girl past this behavior. It wouldn't be as bad if she was distant but she is actually very friendly & loves to be held! Thanks.
So, after reading other posts I would like to clarify that her pecking is actually biting - open beak, full on biting, not sweet little pecks. I just read about someone who pins them down on their side to stop it. I'm going out to go try that now! Any suggestions?
 
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Sutremaine

Songster
5 Years
Aug 19, 2014
361
54
106
UK
If you're doing the Caesar Milan thing, you need to keep at it until the animal stops doing the thing (do or do not, there is no 'try' :)). She pecks you, you donk her. Whether it's the first time or the thousandth is irrelevant. If donking doesn't break her focus on attacking you, run her off a little. You don't need to stamp your feet or anything -- making a 'shoo' motion with your arm will be a good start. Aim through the bird, not at her. If she doesn't move back, then your arm will move her back. Should that still not keep her back, you might have to run her around like an unruly rooster.

In short, you need to match her intensity.
 

karinm072

In the Brooder
Apr 7, 2015
36
4
49
Brockton, MA
Thanks for your response! I have been consistently, every time "pecking" her back & pushing her out of the way. I did go out right after I posted knowing she would come at me & tried the "hold her down on her side" move. She was stunned & I felt victorious! I even began to clean right in front of her face & she still remained calm. I'm sure I'll continue this practice for a while, but I feel like I can see our peaceful light @ the end of the tunnel. One of my more dominant girls (who's been having her own issues lately) stepped in & pecked her when she was on her feet again, seeming to tell her "I'm higher than you & I don't even mess with mom". Thanks again.
 

chicklover 1998

Songster
Sep 30, 2015
1,615
102
118
Oskaloosa,Ia
is she your top hen or do you have a roo by carrying her around like a baby if front of your other birds might help to curb it she doesn't want to be embarrassed so she may stop.
 

karinm072

In the Brooder
Apr 7, 2015
36
4
49
Brockton, MA
No Roo & she's not top hen, she is 3rd or sometimes 2nd. Unfortunately (for this purpose), she loves being held, bathed & carried around so I do not think that will help. I am going to continue holding her down on her side, it stopped her today. Thanks.
 

donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
4,069
581
Southern Oregon
When you discipline an animal, the discipline needs to be enough they submit to you and accept your dominance. Apparently you've been playing with her, not disciplining her. Another chicken won't allow her behavior, they'll go after her and chase her down, pin her in a corner and let her have it good for a few minutes, then walk off and let her stew on that. What you've been doing is the equivalent of folks with dogs who ineffectually say "Oh no, Fluffy, don't do that" while not actually deterring or correcting the behavior. You're on the right track, you simply need to step things up a little.

Properly disciplining an animal won't make them afraid of you. My horses, dogs, etc all know I'm the alpha. They don't run and hide from me. My Great Dane knows the black farmdog is dominant over her. She doesn't run and hide from him, but she does treat him with respect. Your hen will still be friendly to you, but she will also be more respectful, and enjoyable to be around.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
96,590
130,336
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
No Roo & she's not top hen, she is 3rd or sometimes 2nd. Unfortunately (for this purpose), she loves being held, bathed & carried around so I do not think that will help. I am going to continue holding her down on her side, it stopped her today. Thanks.
I've found pinning them down, not necessarily on their sides, works pretty well....only took once or twice for me.
Essentially you are dominating her in a way she understands.
 

Peeps61

Songster
5 Years
Apr 19, 2014
1,369
974
236
NW Florida
Hi!

Donrae and Aart have given great advice. I've found chickens to be the same as most other animals I've owned or worked with. My horses, dogs and chickens all know who's boss, and I am rarely challenged. When I am, retribution is sure and swift. The punishment fits the crime. Most of my hens will allow me to pick them up off the nests to get eggs. (I have limited times during the week when I can collect eggs, so....). But, almost all of them either bit or pecked me the first time I tried. They got light swats and they don't peck or bite me anymore, although they may protest. Step it up so that she knows you are not playing if pinning her down becomes part of the "game" to her. Good luck!
 

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