RIR super aggressive

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Ewebr11, Oct 15, 2014.

  1. Ewebr11

    Ewebr11 New Egg

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    We have 2 hens, one is a Rhode Island Red and the other is a Bantam. We adopted them from a friend that moved out of state. When we got them we were warned that the RIR had started pecking at toes. Everyone in my family has experienced this, so typically we walk around with a spray bottle and spray here when she gets that look in her eyes. Over the past month she has gotten increasingly worse. I was trying to clean out the coop yesterday and she wouldn't let me clean it out without attacking me numerous times. I called my dog over to hopefully make the chicken go away so I could finishing cleaning the coop (the dogs get along great with the chickens) but instead of going away the RIR started pecking my dog. I eventually just gave up. This morning I let them out of their coop and she ran at me at full speed and jumped up to attack me. I don't know what else to do about her behavior. Nobody wants to go outside because of a chicken! Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Well, unfortunately the things you have done have only escalated her behavior, and her response is as expected - at this point the best option for your situation is to cull the bird.
     
  3. Ewebr11

    Ewebr11 New Egg

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    I don't really understand what you mean by what I have done caused her to be that way? I got the idea of spraying her with water from this website as it seemed to work with many other people. I haven't abused her in any way.
     
  4. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The problem with this sort of behavior modification (spraying, pushing the bird away with your foot, etc) is that it's very easy for the bird to interpret it as an attack - you're basically playing into the bird's game, and returning it's attempt to dominate you by trying to dominate it.

    Some birds respond to that by submitting, others escalate.
     
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  5. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Yes - you approached it as "get her before she got you" by spraying when you saw indications that she might be preparing to come at you -so you weren't responding to negative behavior, you were responding to the perception that she *might* behave negatively and the connection is not made between being aggressive and getting sprayed, but rather a connection between you being in the area and having an unpleasant experience (being sprayed)- and then, most recently, you brought the dog into themix in an attempt to intimidate her. As the resulting behavior shows you, she has escalated and is now determined to get you before you get her - because the attempts to correct her previous behavior have shown her that you are a threat and she must do so.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2014
  6. suliah

    suliah Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In my experience... some chickens are just mean, and they get meaner, no matter how you approach it.

    Sometimes it works to put them in their place, sometimes they see it as a challenge.

    Sometimes it works to feed them and show them that you're not challenging them, other times it doesn't.

    You did what you could. It didn't work. You could try something different, or get rid of your hen.

    I've got a rooster in my coop right now that is headed for the table for the same reason.
     
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  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I agree that spraying her because you thought she was going to attack only made it worse. YOU attacked her before she could attack you. An aggressive hen isn't that common, but it happens. I have one now, but it's partly due to her bad vision and frustration from that and partly due to the Sumatra lineage. She has almost died several times by us fending off her attacks and grabbing her by her scrawny neck (she has spurs).

    We know her and know when the attacks are coming. Some other hens actually fend her off of us, come to our defense. Sometimes, all she wants is for us to pick her up and hold her and then she calms down. This is why we call her The Tiny Terrorist. We know the cause of her aggression, but most of the time, you just don't figure it out.

    Whatever the reason for your hen's aggression, either cull her or find a way to deal with her so you are not fighting back at her. I know breeders who will cull any bird for aggression, including the females, if they crop up. Most of the time, it's the males you deal with.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2014
  8. Ewebr11

    Ewebr11 New Egg

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    Thank you all for your insight, but I think my first message got confusing or I said it incorrectly. I have NOT ever spray her if she was just hanging around. I have only sprayed her when she has come charging at me, or when she has pecked. I totally understand people saying that I caused it if I had been spraying her if she was just around me because I "thought" she was going to attack...that's not what I meant at all.
     
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    That makes better sense, however, in a chicken's mind, it's pretty much the same thing. You fought with her rather than manage to subdue her to show her you are in charge. And most of the time, if aggression is ingrained in the bird's genetic makeup, you won't change that no matter what you do. If she continues to be a problem, you'll have to make a decision. Being buffaloed by a 6 lb bird is not any way to live. Hope you can figure out what you want to do with her. [​IMG]

    My own problem hen will only attack harder if you push her away. She insists on having your attention, negative or not and her spurs hurt. If you pick her up and hold her close, however, she calms down because that is what she wants most of the time. Just like I said, she is a terrorist, attacking to get what she wants.

    Why not try that once or twice, just as an experiment? Hold her close until she quits struggling, which she will do, not being used to someone picking her up when she attacks. Just see what she does after a couple of those sessions.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2014
  10. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    I think she needs to be culled; unfortunately, that leaves your poor little bantam alone, which is totally unacceptable. Find some friends for her, or get some chicks, and get rid of THE BEAST. Mary
     

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