Update - My aggressive RIR

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Stephanie-n-Hayden, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. Stephanie-n-Hayden

    Stephanie-n-Hayden Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 15, 2009
    Okay, a few weeks ago I posted my concerns about my small flock. For a bit of background, I have 1 bantam GLW, 1 Silky, and 1 RIR (who I rescued from another home where flock was being gotten by preditors). All was fine, and then my GLW hatched her first batch of eggs. Then, all hell broke loose. RIR was pecking GLW while she protect her babies in the nest box. After some of your suggestions, I removed the moma and the babies, put them in a large dog cage and housed them in the garage. It has been about 3 weeks now, and the garage is not smelling fresh in the least [​IMG] They had started getting cramped in there. Last week I tried moving the cage back into the coop, and watched to see the reactions of the other 2. Silky, fine. RIR, not so much. She immediatley stalked the cage until she was able to peck at one of the chicks through the bars. NOT GOOD!!!! So, we put them back in the garage until we figured something out. Do we get rid of such a good egg layer? I found someone willing to take her, but all the chickens they had have all perished from preditors. But, I didn't see any other options. I would not have her killing the babies. So, we have spent all day modifying the coop to house everyone happily. 8 x 8 foot coop, divided in half to house moma and babies on one side, and others on the other side. She now spends the majority of her time pacing back and forth along the divider wall trying to figure out a way to get to the other side. She is psychotic! Also, the RIR has become increasingly aggressive towards me over the past month or so. When I enter the coop to gather eggs, she runs at me, growling, and tries to peck at my feet. When I try to swat her away, she stands taller and tries to stand me down. I have become quite leary of her. Her eggs are not fertile and she is not even sitting on them anyway! I do not quite understand why a hen is so aggressive. I'd swear she acts like a rooster or something. What should I do to calm her down and make her chill. I have thought about getting at least one more RIR hen to keep with her or even putting a rooster with her to put her back in her place.
    Any thoughts as to why she is acting this way and what to do about it?
  2. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    If it was me; I would put the mom and her chicks back into the coop – being sure that they are separate from the others in the coop. Let the RIR pace – as long as mom is not fighting her at the fence and hurting the chicks.

    As far as the RIR possessiveness and pecking you when you enter the coop - I wonder if she (RIR) thinks she is protecting the chicks? I would not swat her, but would pick her up and hold her for a bit when she rushes and pecks you.

    The RIR has been thru a lot it sounds like. She might still be trying to find her place in the flock – it can take a couple months or more for some chickens to settle down. Give her some more time and a bit of extra love/understanding.

    Good luck - I also have broodies with chicks and "new" chickens adjusting to my flock.
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Since you have no rooster, I bet she has taken over that role of flock protector and flock aggressor so to say with the idea of keeping them all in line. You have to take lead over her and show no fear so holding and dominating her is your best bet on her behavior to you. She is likely going after the chicks because she recognizes that they are more birds and need to be "put into place". However, since she is a hen, she probably picked on the other hen during her spout of "I'm a hen too!". She's probably trying to fill two roles but doesn't really know what to do, especially as a new comer to the established flock. If your silkie is anything like my silkies, they are a bit air headed and tend not to really "get it" so kind of just do their own thing, else she may have joined right in on the pecking order fiasco.

    If you don't want to re home the RIR, you can whip her into shape as if she was a he, borrow a rooster to put her in line like you were thinking, or wait until the chicks are big enough to hold their own. Best of luck!
  4. happyfeet

    happyfeet Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 24, 2007
    we had 3 RIR hens, all were nastier than my rooster, who was pretty darn nasty. the RIR and rooster would chase all of us, including my small daughter around the yard and peck and spur us. one hen jumped up after chasing her about 500ft and pecked her in the eye, thank god she shut her eye and it cut open her eyelid and gave her a black and blue eye. the rooster spurred her in the face and got her eyebrow. he used to get my husband and rip his jeans. out of 29 chickens and 1 rooster (at that time) those 4 were the only mean chickens. as you can see i speak of them all in past tense! RIP nasty chickens!!!

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