She loves me, she loves me not- the agressive HEN!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by JerseyWooly, May 15, 2011.

  1. JerseyWooly

    JerseyWooly Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 5, 2009
    Hi Folks,

    I've only had two chickens my whole life, so I don't know what is relevant and what is not- forgive me if I include too many details.

    I got these chickens in July and raised them in a box in my livingroom- a Welsumer and a Rock, both hens. By Christmas, they were bigger, but it was too cold (so I thought) to put them out yet, so I built a coop in the garage (I don't park my car in there). In the spring, I put the coop and a really nice run I'd build out in the back. The first night I saw a skunk hanging around (never saw one on my property), so I moved the chickens in and reenforced the coop. Again, ready to move them out, the night before, a storm comes and the top of a near by pine tree as thick as a telephone pole falls down and crushes the run. They have been in the garage ever since. I let them out every day except in weather below 32 deg. When I do, they come back in like a half hour anyway.

    Ok, so a year ago, the dynamic in my family changed. Last summer, my wife got laid off. Previously, I took complete care of the chickens. I fed them, I let them out, I cleaned their coop, I let them in, I searched all night when they didn't come home, everything. But since my wife has been home, she lets them out every morning, and gives them bread. My son is now old enough to do chores, so he chases them down every evening before sundown and gets them in the garage. All I do now is feed /water them and clean the coop.

    Now last summer, one evening when hearding them into the garage, the Rock, Godzilla, turned at me and took a very agressive stance. I chalked it up to her not wanting to go in too early when there was still play time because I have always been able to pick them up at will. I noticed it a few times after that as well. Now comes this spring and if I am in the yard and I go near her, she will go for my feet and peck hard, especially if I have now shoes. She will take a very agressive stance and not budge an inch if I happen to be going in her direction, and today when I brought some bread out for them, she was more interested in attacking me than eating.

    She does NOT act this way to my wife and my son, and the other chicken does not act this way to me. One more thing, she is not the top hen or whatever you call it. Mothera is (the Welsomer). They both lay eggs so I know she's not a roo, though I did think she was when she was born. It can't be a adolescent thing because it started when she was a year old and had already been laying for six months. Besides, why only agressive to me?

    Anyone know why this happens and what I can do about it? I read somewhere that to deal with an agressive roo, pick them up and carry them around in a comfortable way for 10 minutes a day. Would that work here? SHe doesn't attack once I am carrying her.
     
  2. tazcat70

    tazcat70 I must be crazy!

    Definitely carry her around....she thinks she is higher on the pecking order than you.
     
  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    She may also think she is the roo of the flock. Either way, yes, carry her around, and back her down by walking toward her. If she ever climbs on the back of the other hen, knock her off the hen. The same technique is used on roos, as the lead roo won't let another one mate in front of him.
     
  4. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oakland, CA
    i agree with the others. you can search "aggressive rooster" on byc and follow the same advice for a hen - lots of posts. as with any online advice, some of it is bound to be bad.
     
  5. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    If the hen is pecking you - anywhere - she believes she is higher on the pecking order. You need to change that.

    There are lots of ways - some more dramatic than others - but the primary message to get across to her is she shouldn't mess with you (or anyone else).

    Pick her up every time you see her. Dont put her down until she gives up.

    Or - just chase her around or agressively approach her every time you see her. She needs to know that you are the boss.

    I prefer to hold them by their feet until the submit - its fast and painless to the bird though it does tend to upset them some.

    Do that 3 days in a row and she will have the picture loud and clear.

    After that its just occasionally giving her the stink eye and going after her.
     
  6. amgreen1980

    amgreen1980 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 30, 2011
    Steelville, Missouri
    What about when they are young? I have a 5-6 week bantam hen? that only wants to peck my hand if I am hand feeding them something. She could care less about the food/treat, just pecking my hand/fingers over and over. Is she/he too young to be showing aggressiveness that should be addressed? She is also very agressive to the other chicks. Should I start 'breaking' her of this behavior now?
     
  7. CheekyChooks

    CheekyChooks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2011
    Doncaster
    One of my chicks does that too and their beaks are getting big enough now that it hurts. I've started not to hand feed due to this ... but it was nice bonding that way so I would like to start it again when they are old enough for treats etc ...
     

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