She's obsessed with watching humans, how to break this bad habit?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Pet Duck Boy, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. Pet Duck Boy

    Pet Duck Boy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    Runt Runt was always the tamest of my 5 pullets, she always loved to be held. But ever since we came back from our 10 day vacation (The chickens were alone the entire time) Runt Runt has been constantly trying to get into our patio. It's not screened, and all that blocks them is a 3 foot high plastic fence that runs around the entire patio. I've NEVER had a problem with any of them getting into the patio during the 3 months they've been outside. And currently, it's just Runt Runt with this problem. She leaves her flock, and will pace around the patio until she decides to jump up on the fence, then into our patio. Now there's a window in our kitchen which is inside the patio, and just under that is some shelves for holding my mom's plants. The creepy part is, Runt Runt will jump up on the top, and litterally WATCH us from the freaking thing. Our house is open and doesn't have very many walls, so you can see the living room (Which is were everyone stays) from this window. My sister freaked when she saw that outstreched chicken head peaking through the window, spying on us. I thought it was somewhat cute at first (In a disturbing way) but now this is just plain annoying and creepy and I can't let Runty out without her doing this. The other 4 are just fine, and do what chickens do and roam around my yard scratching for food. I've tried scaring her by shoving things in her face, taping barbies to the fence, scolding her, but nothing. She's not scared of people, and the items scare her but after a few minutes she's back like nothing happened. Chicken poop is not allowed in the patio according to my parents, and if there is some found they all have to go back into the kennel for the day, which they don't like. Runt Runt is locked up in the kennel right now, alone. How the heck do I break this bad habit?
     
  2. Pet Duck Boy

    Pet Duck Boy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    I NEEED some advice, she's freaking out in the kennel right now....
     
  3. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    It sounds like she REALLY didn't do well when she didn't see you for 10 days... sounds like you have a chicken with separation anxiety!! My dog gets like that... it's creepy... when we're gone for more than a day, we cannot be out of her sight or she cries and freaks out and it's just annoying (imagine an animal doing what your chicken does, but it weighs 80 pounds and is always under your feet knocking you over).

    Now, I'm no animal psychologist, but it sounds like you are doing the right thing by letting her be in her pen for a while. She may freak out a little, but I doubt it'll kill her and will probably chill her out in a day or two. I know that people will cage up a hen that has been broody too long to break her, so maybe leaving your Runt Runt in the coop/pen/run for a few days is just what she needs to chill her out. It's hard to watch and listen, I know, but you and your bird will get through this!

    Keep us posted and let us know how she's doing. Maybe go out to the pen and hang with her. I don't know how big your chicken run area is, but I have mine big enough that I can take a folding chair into the pen and sit there with my birds and read (and I often do... I know, I'm a crazy chicken lady).

    Good luck and let us know how Runt Runt does. I'm pullin' for her!
     
  4. growinupinfl

    growinupinfl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 2, 2010
    Pensacola
    It sounds like she really did not like her humans gone. Maybe the other chickens bullied her and called her a "mama's chick.". And maybe she is a mama's chick. A few things I think you can try.

    *Go out to the coop or where ever you want her to stay and sit out their and give her treats and attention. If she is wanting you to pay her attention the quicker you do it the quicker she will leave you alone.

    *Second of all close the curtains or blinds. When she figures out she can't see you, if that is her main goal she will most likely leave. [​IMG]

    * Or you can just get used to it and let it be a living form of art that will be a source of amusement for many and if anyone comes over you really don't like. Tell them that she since when people are evil and likes to peck their eyes out. You won't have to worry about them coming back.

    * Last but not least you can do like my grandmother did with her 'Babe' started that. She brought the chicken in the house and they watched TV together. Babe even learned to take her potty business outside. The chicken sat next to her as they watched wheel of fortune and football. Eventually 'Babe" even went to her antique store with her. It was hysterical. This chicken behaved in loyalty much like a dog would. But instead of trying to sleep on the bed she would go to the bathroom and perch on the shower stall in the Missouri winter, and the chairs on the back porch during the summer.

    Honestly I don't think just closing the curtains will help. She maybe actually pretty smart for a chicken in that she is curious about the humans. I think it would be interesting for you to go spend time with her and see what she wants and how trainable she is. [​IMG] Who knows you might be able to train her to do something pretty cool and win money on AFV or just have a really good laugh and some great memories.[​IMG]

    Christal
     
  5. noodleroo

    noodleroo Snuggles with Chickens

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    Apr 29, 2010
    Rockport, Tx
    I wonder if she sees her reflection in the windows. You might try putting a mirror out where she can see herself in a more acceptable place. If that doesn't work and it is people that she likes to look at, try a little framed photo of 'a person', like the kind that come in the frame when you buy one from the Dollar Store. If that doesn't work, you might just have a house chicken on your hands. Get her some chicken diapers so your parents won't be upset about the poo and let her in. Good luck!
     
  6. Pet Duck Boy

    Pet Duck Boy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2009
    Orlando, FL
    Turns out she did lay an egg, which might have contributed to her anxiousness but she still paces back an forth around the patio at times. But thankfully, she's not jumping the fence. That would be cool to train her, like grownupinfl mentioned. She's always seemed smarter and wasn't bothered by being seperated from the flock, though the others are tame, one can't be taken more than 20 feet from the others or she'll freak out. But I'm utterly shocked it was Runt Runt who was the first to lay. (This was the second egg) She's only about 2-3 pounds her comb and wattles are still pretty small and she's 18 weeks. No signs of eggs form the others.
     
  7. SkyWarrior

    SkyWarrior Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    Wilds of Montana
    Well, I would also say that Runt Runt has separation anxiety. [​IMG] While I don't know about separation anxiety in birds, I know about it in dogs and cats. Here are my possible suggestions:

    1. Ignore the peeping chicken behavior. Don't reward it by going to see Runty all the time. Close the blinds on that window. Instead, let Runty get bored and do something else.

    2. Spend an afternoon leaving and coming back within 5 minutes or less. Use a cue phrase like "I'll be back." to your chicken.

    3. Give Runty something interesting to peck on. I could imagine that a puzzle ball filled with goodies would work for a chicken as well as a dog or cat.

    4. Spend a fair amount of time with Runty. It's what she needs.

    Here are my cat and dog articles on the subject:

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/5489086/eight_ways_to_help_separation_anxiety.html?cat=53

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/5499880/dont_leave_me_alone_10_tips_for_dealing.html?cat=53

    Good luck!

    Maggie
     

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