She turned on me 😩

M Brennen

Chirping
Jun 15, 2020
437
406
90
Northern Vermont
My pullets used to attack my ankles, but not so much as they have grown. I have been chalking it up to curiosity. I hear attacked by one of my roosters tonight, however. I picked up a hen and she squawked terrible. After that my rooster attacked me twice. Was he just being protective? All my birds are young 4-5 months old.
 

Kazzandra

Songster
May 14, 2009
99
73
132
NC Appalachian Mountains
Really amazed to see this isn't behaviour more of you all to have experienced. I've had lots of dominant hens like this.
This behaviour is not mean behaviour from the description I'm reading.

Every day I have a cochin hen that I named Bitty (for this behaviour, actually) who will peck to groom, to get my attention, and to 'grab' at things when she's excited to see me or treats. It might seem mean and it can draw bruises but the beak is the only 'fingers' a chicken has, just like with a parrot.

The only way to get the behaviour to stop, in my experience, is to reroute the behaviour as much as possible (identifying when they feel they have to use this to get you to care and removing those situations) and to indeed, do something they don't like in return-- though something gentle. In my case, I usually pick up Bitty and she fusses at me for it and then I put her down.

Keeping at that she has *mostly* stopped this behaviour, but still sometimes she has an oops moment.

Almost all of my chickens will peck through my hair if I'm sitting with them, and sometimes oops hit my flesh. They love to groom me just as they'd groom themselves.

Remember, this is not 'betrayal' to a chicken. This is how they touch and socialize. This is most likely not mean or even trying to dominate you.
 

Marinefam2053

Songster
Jul 18, 2019
81
156
107
Deep South East
She is lovely... or at least she looks it!! 😍

I think you’re right to stand your ground. The only thing I can think if you’ve been spending a lot of time with them, then maybe she sees you as part of the flock and she’s trying to dominate you. I could be wrong though, and it would be more cockerel-like behaviour, but I can’t see any other reason.

If I was you, I would ‘peck’ back with my fingers when she does it, or pick her up and carry her around for a while.

I had an issue with a cockerel a while ago and someone recommended pinning them down on the ground for a while if he lashed out, or I suppose you could try that too, depending how she is, and how comfortable you feel.

Maybe the start is don’t show her your ankles 🤣 that’s just a joke. But I hope you combat it with her.
I have a Rhode Island Red that got her whits about her just before she started laying months back and would run at me when all the girls got let out into the yard in the morning. She got me pretty good on the leg as your girl did to you. I had to stand up and be the Alfa chic in the yard. It took a good week or too of letting her get close enough for me to “peck” her before she got the chance. I even had to have my teenage children get defensive back to her as well. She knows her place in the yard now. Good luck, you are the dominant one, and once you get her good enough a couple times, she’ll stop.
 

KerriChick

Chirping
Aug 5, 2020
55
148
63
East Bay, CA
Our BO Lemon I call ‘pecky chicken’ because she goes after bare ankles and is pecky if I bother her in the nest box or under their coop when I am filling up the feed and water. If I wear my boots and jeans she is fine, but she’ll go after my hands and my rings too. No blood drawn but several welts. She was also the ‘babied’ chick and only pecks me-the food bringer and general chicken minder. Has never gone after the kids at all and they carry her around all the time. If I immediately pick her up when she does this(she loves being held) she chills out. I have also had to ‘peck’ her head with a finger a few times as a gentle reminder of who is the boss. She is just a greedy little pumpkin that is impatient with the scrap bucket. If I raise more chicks I will hand feed less, I think if you get one with a greedy disposition it can be more problematic. She lays beautiful eggs tho and we love her in spite of her greedy little nature. Lol
 

ryder lake

In the Brooder
Jun 28, 2020
28
24
23
I can’t believe I’m having to type this, one of my girls just came at me, twice. She had done the same thing a few days ago, but I chalked it up to her trying to grab the treat out of my hand. Today I was standing in the coop tossing scratch out in their run.

I don’t know if this matters, but I was actually wearing the same pants during both cases, the pants are capris so my ankles/lower legs are exposed.

The only changes have been the weather and I’m not spending my entire day outside with them. I have three 30 week old Speckled Sussex. The one that pecked me is the largest and before the shorter days she was the only one laying, but has stopped with the shorter days.

What do I do?! Help!! I know to stand my ground, tried that and got attacked again. Just keep at it?

photo of “injury” 🤪
ive had chickens attack me mainly roosters, have you had any predators hanging around your coup? chickens can get defensive if theyve had encounters with predators or even if they have been hanging around the coup, i had that problem a few years ago, some coon got in the coup and killed a few chickens, the two big roosters got exstremely defensive after that, one time i entered the coup with a large watering can (plastic) to fill there drinking container, and the rooster literally attacked me put its beak or claw right thru the watering can.
 

fuentemoon

Songster
Premium Feather Member
Feb 11, 2018
191
859
136
Eugene, Oregon
I definitely have an attack hen. How aggressive she is varies, but I call her ms rooster. She definitely seems to think she is defending her sister primarily. Our oldest/head hen reprimands her when she goes after me which is kind of funny. Lately I have been able to stop and redirect her by pointing at her and then to food or the ground and I tell her to get eat and be a good chicken👉🐔
 

CHlCKEN

🌺💛🥚🥚🥚💛🌺
Premium Feather Member
Jun 21, 2020
2,136
6,329
321
Tennessee
I’m sorry this is happening. The speckled Sussex are actually my most friendly breed! I only have one right now, but she never runs away or even flinches when you touch her or go to pick her up. She comes up to you to say hi and loves attention. I’m surprised that this is happening. I don’t want her to injure you anymore so I’m sure we will all do our best to help with this. Post a video of her when you can, I hope we can solve this easily for you!
 

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