Update: Pissy -> Going Blind Chicky?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by zumzumfoxy, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. zumzumfoxy

    zumzumfoxy Chillin' With My Peeps

    207
    1
    91
    Jun 29, 2011
    Hey all!

    So my lowest-of-the-pecking-order and currently getting bigger than the others, Stormy (blue Cochin), is a sweetie. She was picked on a LOT by the top girl, Chai (my EE girl- lavender with red mottling on her feathers and a brown head). Stormy's a complete sweetie and generally avoids the others, though lately sahe's been getting ballsier and getting in with the others at food time. [​IMG]

    Thing is, when I bring my left arm upward- or even my fiance doing it- to her when she's roosting, she BITES. Hard. Multiple times. We've tried loudly stating "NO!" or "BAD" at her (and my fiance thwapped her twice lightly on the head, which I'd prior done but got no better luck from), but now she's cowering a little. (Which is understandable, since she pushed her luck with me and tried to do it repetitively. I got 10 chickenbite welts on my arm! b*^T&#).

    Do you guys have any bitey chickens? How do you remedy this?

    If she keeps it up I just might swap her out for a new Cochin with less grump. Don't get me wrong, she's an AWESOMELY docile, cuddly little girl but whenever we lift our arm up near her, she considers it an attack and gets bitey. T.T She's such a sweetheart until she does that. To be honest it's heartbreaking having to discipline her via NO!/BAD at her (with the occasional light thwap). I hate that approach though; it took Chai a couple days of fearing us when she was worse, but Chai's never done it again. o_O

    Any ideas?

    Thanks guys! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2011
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    8,613
    163
    316
    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Well, I don't think that thumping her on the head will get you good results. Maybe she's just like that because she's been picked on by the flock, being on the bottom and all.

    I've been pecked a few times, and I have some hens that are really outgoing and love attention, and some that don't, and I respect that. I would just give her her space.

    She's telling you, "No, I don't want to be touched." And that's OK, because she's a chicken......not a kitty or a dog.....
     
  3. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

    8,664
    3,333
    441
    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    Quote:Agreed. Sounds like she's being defensive. Just let the poor thing be - she already gets picked on by the rest of the flock, and now her owners who are supposed to be her protectors. Give her time, let her approach you, and you MIGHT be able to regain her trust so she'll let you pick her up, or do whatever it is you're trying to do when she thinks you're attacking her.
     
  4. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

    2,435
    15
    171
    Oct 7, 2010
    Conroe, Texas
    She does not feel safe with being messed with at roost time. Chickens do not see well at night so she is defending herself. By thumbing her you are probably reinforcing her fear.

    Do you talk to her when walking up?
    My docile silkie pecks out at anything when he is on the roost when he can't see well. I just talk to him, avoid the peck and gentle pet him while talking. Once he realizes it is me and all is safe he relaxes.
     
  5. zumzumfoxy

    zumzumfoxy Chillin' With My Peeps

    207
    1
    91
    Jun 29, 2011
    See, I thought that go bap wouldn't really work. (It did with Chai, but probably due to her arrogant attitude as top-chicken, which is funny since she once was on the bottom of the pecking order.) It seems to have worked, but ever since I got her, she's been afraid of just about everything. She's a lot better now and I want to keep helping her get more assertive- just not in the welt-causing way! [​IMG] I don't agree with the bap method either- it's hurtful to both sides. I did think that it would possibly make her distrust us more or do more damage, though it doesn't seem to be the case- just as a test, I just brought my arm up, and she didn't bite. [​IMG] I just dislike the way it came about. (Head-tapping- was trying to simulate 'dominant rooster' behavior; read somewhere that roos do that when hens get out of line.)

    I also didn't know chickens could do the "I want space" thing. Usually if they dont' come over for cuddling, they just scoot away and I let them be (seeing it as the 'not now' gesture). I didn't think that being attacked could be a 'don't touch me', I thought it was something else. 0.o

    @Bo: It's weird though - it's noon over here, bright as day, and I always come over to her while talking softly and pet her gently while she's sitting on the roost (the 'big girls' are on the bottom- she's sitting there on the roost waiting for them a lot of times.). It's never my right arm that she pecks, only my left. She's relaxed, but gets aggressive to my left arm. It's the weirdest thing. She'll see my left arm under her, come up and go BITE-TUG! ... weird. Now that I'm holding her, with the same left-arm process first (providing her a roost to walk onto like usual), she's not doing it. None of the other girls have a problem with me patting them in the morning while they're on the perching pole.

    Stormy's back to being cuddly, though I'm hoping it's not simply fear submission or something. Am I reading too much into this? :| She's making happy chirps and everything.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2011
  6. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    36,056
    7,612
    646
    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Difficult one! Might be her vision? I mean if you stand in front of her and you lift your left arm, she can't see properly with her right eye or something?[​IMG]
    I had a roo who was incredibly loving, on my lap all the time... I raised him from birth. Then he hit his teens and started biting me. He took the skin off my arms a few times. When I walked outside he would sneak up on me and bite my calves, until one day I didn't see him coming and tripped over him, he got kicked, accidently, and tangled up in my legs. He never tried it again.
    As for the arm biting, I'd wait for him to hop onto the wire fence and go give him a cuddle. He'd be so busy trying to keep his balance, he didn't bite. Eventually he stopped, but the relationship was ruined...[​IMG]
    I asked a chicken loving friend for advice and she said he's just being a teenager. Hormones and all.
    Good luck!
     
  7. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,637
    52
    231
    Jul 22, 2010
    Anderson, Texas
    I tend to disagree. My young pullets bite me I thump them pack. Its always worked for me. I'm not gonna let them bite me & then pick them up & praise them for biting me. Guess everbody has their own style.
     
  8. zumzumfoxy

    zumzumfoxy Chillin' With My Peeps

    207
    1
    91
    Jun 29, 2011
    Huh.. you know it just might be her vision, now I think about it. She looks directly down at my arm before she does it/she'd do it, and she's heterochromic. Her upper half of her eyes were blue when I got her, with the lower halves brown. The upper halves now have turned to a bay color, but perhaps there's an actual vision issue.

    I still feel bad for going bap lightly on her head though, but hopefully it didn't hurt. :| I'll move my arms around in front of Stormy when I get home from work later and see if it's a vision issue.
     
  9. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    36,056
    7,612
    646
    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Hey, don't feel bad:hugs
    I get a bit "hands-on" with my chickens too. A gentle slap/tap doesn't hurt them, they are tough little buggers.
    If you have a bit of time, sit and watch her and see how she responds when something approaches her from her left side and right side. Maybe she'll give you a clue. Hope you get to the bottom of this.
     
  10. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

    2,435
    15
    171
    Oct 7, 2010
    Conroe, Texas
    Didn't catch that it was happening in daylight. Could be a vision issue if it is only at whatever is approaching her bad side.
    You could test her reaction to different familiar things approaching her on that side.
    If it is not visual than she may just have a weird quirk.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by