Update: Shy and Aggressive Hens

LittleChickenLady

Songster
8 Years
Mar 4, 2011
1,860
4
144
Clanton, Alabama
Hi, this is my first post. Yay!

Okay, I have three hens right now. One is a Buff Orpington and the other two are Old English bantams. All three were hand raised because I showed them in 4H last year for my tenth (and final) year so they're about a year old. One of my Old English ones is extremely shy. If you get around her she runs away and when you try to catch her you'd think she was being killed. Once you catch her, she's calm though. I was wondering if anyone knew of a way that I can make her like to be handled more? She acts like she wants attention but doesn't want us to touch her.

Also, my other Old English has been extremely aggressive for the past week. When you walk into the coop area she'll puff up her chest, spread out her tail, and peck at your feet. If you kneel down to her, she'll jump up on your knee and “talk” to you like usual. If you go to pet her (which she usually lets you do with no problems) she'll peck at your hand. Hard. I saw a post from another site saying that the Old English breed is a moody breed, but that you can make an aggressive chicken calm again by showing you're dominant. How exactly would I do that without making her not want to be handled anymore?

I haven't had any problems with my Buff though. She's my baby and acts just like a little puppy.
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Update: So I brought home a little rooster for my little aggressive hen. So far she doesn't seem to be as mean when we go out there, but she's not being broody either. I guess she just wanted a man.

As for the shy one, I went and bought some mealworms for her. Only problem is she won't eat them out of your hand.
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But on the plus side, my other girls just loooove them. My Buff even will jump up to get them like a dog.
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LittleChickenLady

Songster
8 Years
Mar 4, 2011
1,860
4
144
Clanton, Alabama
Thanks! I'm from Indiana. I lived on a farm growing up that had horses, goats, geese, chickens, ducks, rabbits, cats, and dogs. Now that I'm living with my boyfriend I'd like to have my chickens as pets instead of just for eggs. We just bought some new chicks last week and hopefully we don't run into this problem with them when they get older.
 

Pinky

Songster
11 Years
Nov 15, 2008
2,724
43
183
South GA
The second old english hen you talked about is broody. She won't go back to her normal self unless you let her raise some chicks or try to break her from being broody. Be calm and gentle around her (no sudden movements). You do this and she won't see you as a threat, so she will have no reason to peck you.
The first hen I would try holding more often. Give her treats when you hold her and soon she'll want to be held.
Oh and
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!
 

LittleChickenLady

Songster
8 Years
Mar 4, 2011
1,860
4
144
Clanton, Alabama
Thanks Pinky.

We don't have a rooster, so obviously she can't hatch her own eggs. We have baby chicks that are about a week and a half old that are separated from them though. When we first brought them home she was extremely interested in them and we let her go check them out. Should we let them be around each other more? I don't want to just let them run around with the big girls for good though, but would some interaction with them make her calm down at all?

What kind of treats should I get for the other hen? I've seen mealworms at the store before. Would that be good? I'm just afraid that one of these days we're going to give her a heart attack by trying to make her like to be handled.
 

Laigaie

Chirping
8 Years
Mar 4, 2011
136
3
89
Fayetteville, AR
Mealworms are ideal for really awesome treats. My girls are still pretty picky about treats (their original owners must've been major spoilers!), but mealworms or superworms are gone as soon as they see 'em. They'll even try to eat the oats the mealworms come in. They are a tad expensive, but if the chickie can only get them by being held and handled, you'll be her best friend really quick.
 

LittleChickenLady

Songster
8 Years
Mar 4, 2011
1,860
4
144
Clanton, Alabama
Thanks Laigaie. I'll go pick some up here soon and give it a shot. We already give our chickens scraps from things we don't finish and she seems to love that stuff. Hopefully she'll like those too.
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