Sweet chicken turned aggressive

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by pwkemmer, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. pwkemmer

    pwkemmer New Egg

    Feb 14, 2014
    Hello. My always docile and sweet RIR has been going through a heavy molt now that she's 18 months old. Previously, she had been sweet, docile and didn't seem to mind my company. Since she began her molt she has become aggressive and tries to attack me when I am near. She will also get aggressive with the other hens. Today she bit my hand and drew blood. Will this behavior disappear once the molt has stopped? I sure hope so. Any advice will be helpful. PWKemmer
  2. N F C

    N F C phooey! Premium Member Project Manager

    Dec 12, 2013
    My girl's personalities change a bit when they are molting (like they are now). I don't think they like to be touched or handled, or maybe even brushed into by another bird during this time. Mine seem to keep their distance from each other (except the BR's that groom one another). I think it must be a really uncomfortable time for them.

    They should go back to being their old selves once molt is over...at least they did the last time.

    And before I forget...[​IMG]
  3. song of joy

    song of joy Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    X2. I think the new pin feathers are sensitive and the hen does not want them touched by anyone or anything.

    However, the other issue is a hen who does not respect her boundaries. RIR can be people-aggressive and I'd recommend putting it to a halt. I had a RIR hen who would peck my leg when I approached or peck my hand hard when I would reach down to touch her. That's unacceptable in my book.

    To cure this behavior, I would put my hand firmly but gently on her back to force her into a squatting position, which is the submissive position a hen assumes when being mated by a rooster. I would hold her there for about 30 to 60 seconds, and then let her up. After doing that half a dozen times over the course of a week, she was no longer aggressive to me. She got a reminder lesson once every few months, when she would "give me the eye" like she was going to violate our agreement.
    1 person likes this.
  4. pwkemmer

    pwkemmer New Egg

    Feb 14, 2014
    It sounds a lot like training a new puppy. Once she is finished with molting, I will start with the behavior issues. Thanks for the advice.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by