Very aggressive mama hen

TJAnonymous

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Feb 29, 2020
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Central Arkansas
I have a CCLB hen who is a first time mama. She hatched out a lone chick about a week ago inside our goat house. The chick has a deformed foot and has some trouble getting around. Her mom took her outside 1 time and the chick was unable to hop up the step to go back inside. I also took advantage of the situation to shut the door so the broody couldn't attack me while I caught and examined her chick. (I initially thought it had a broken leg). I gave the chick back to her mom inside the goat house and that's where they have stayed ever since...

I've been trying to provide food and water inside the goat house so the chick can grow bigger and stronger. Soon the chick should be big enough to hop up the step (hopefully) to get inside...

My problem is that since returning the chick to her, the mama has become SUPER aggressive towards me. She does not act aggressive towards the other chickens at all. But the minute she sees me, before I even step inside, she starts growling and puffs up. As soon as I reach for the food and water, she attacks. I had to smack her down with a stick at least 5 times today... She finally ran outside and abandoned her chick in the process. When the chick called to her, she came back. I'd already left by that point....

So how do I deal with this in a less violent way that's less likely to get her, me, or her chick injured? I was trying to feed/water after dark but that's not always practical for me.

Is there a way to establish dominance in a way she will respect my space? Or are the mama instincts going to continually cloud her judgement?
 
My problem is that since returning the chick to her, the mama has become SUPER aggressive towards me. She does not act aggressive towards the other chickens at all.
Well, the other chickens did not steal her only baby.
Can you post pictures of where she and her chick are? Can you just sit quietly right outside her comfort zone and ignore her and the chick to give her a chance to reacclimate to you and not feel threatened? Any way to leave food and water where you don't have to get close to her?
 
Well, the other chickens did not steal her only baby.
Can you post pictures of where she and her chick are? Can you just sit quietly right outside her comfort zone and ignore her and the chick to give her a chance to reacclimate to you and not feel threatened? Any way to leave food and water where you don't have to get close to her?
I can get a picture tomorrow. Too dark tonight to get one. But in short, yes... The goat house is a 6 ft x 8 ft shed, essentially. There are raised nesting boxes on the back wall. The previous homeowner used to keep his chickens and goats together in this shed. I've since take out the chicken roosts but the nesting boxes are still there. She hatched the chick in one of the nesting boxes. I took her and the baby out and lowered them to the floor since it is a good 3ft drop. Except for the one time she took the chick outside, she has stayed in the back corner of the goat house ever since. I placed a 1 gallon waterer in the back corner with her under the nesting boxes so the goats wouldn't knock it over. I had put a little feeder back there too but it's too much temptation for the goats so I simply toss her & the chick some chick starter when the goats are eating their breakfast. They (and whatever "helpers" show up in the meantime) tend to eat it all up before the goats go looking for any scraps. I do a deep litter in the goat house so there's plenty of hay & straw for them to scratch through looking for bugs or seeds too. It's pretty soft in there so I think its easier on the chick's deformed foot.

Anyway, I can sit just outside the door of the goat house where she can see me but not feel cornered. Maybe I'll try that with some mealworms and see if she gets an attitude change.
 
And mind you.....I only took the baby because I thought it had a broken leg. It's foot/leg was bent at a 90 degree angle. Until I had it inside the house and was able to examine it closer in good lighting did I realize it was a deformity. However, had the leg really been broken, I couldn't very well have left the chick with her mama and expected a good outcome.

If you want to see the foot and what I was dealing with....the thread is here:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/4-day-old-chick-w-broken-leg.1531546/#post-25820653
 
LoL, no doubt!
Nobody grabs a broody raised chick without a darn good reason.
Your only mistake was that split second she lost site of it and then showed her that you had it during that time.
They hold grudges worse than a rooster when they're like that.
Your heart was in the right place just your technique put you on her sh*t list for a little while.:)
And mind you.....I only took the baby because I thought it had a broken leg. It's foot/leg was bent at a 90 degree angle. Until I had it inside the house and was able to examine it closer in good lighting did I realize it was a deformity. However, had the leg really been broken, I couldn't very well have left the chick with her mama and expected a good outcome.

If you want to see the foot and what I was dealing with....the thread is here:

https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/4-day-old-chick-w-broken-leg.1531546/#post-25820653
 
I was also going to suggest building steps inside and out so the chick can hop up the steps to get outside and back in. I use pavers but with that deformed leg you might need something that makes smaller steps. You could try a ramp but those often don't work with healthy chicks because they don't know to go to the end and walk up.

As far as feeding them without the goats getting to it, you can try a creep feeder. That's where you build something the chickens can get to but it keeps the goats out. It can be built out of wire or wood, just something the chickens can get in but the goats can't get their head in. With goats that can be challenging.
 
Thanks for the responses... I do have some steps created from 4" x 16" cinder blocks but the baby still hasn't been able to navigate them. She was so tiny... She's over a week old now so hopefully getting big enough that she can make it up the steps. It isn't a huge distance... About 8" but enough that she was unable to do it before.

I had a little slat that I'd hoped could be used as a ramp but the goats broke it.

Unfortunately I had to smack the hen with a stick again today. The waterer had gotten clogged up with straw and goat poo. Considering the extreme heat today I wanted to be sure they had access to clean water so I had to fight her to get to it.
 
Well, the broody took her chick outside soon after I posted yesterday. The chick was able to make it up the first step but couldn't navigate the 2nd one which is a couple inches bigger. Mama hen was inside the goat house and it was nearly dark so I carefully tried to help the chick navigate the last step. Mama hen came out of nowhere and flogged my arm. 🙄 I DID get the chick back inside but not without battle scars.

I didn't even try to go in there this morning to refill her waterer. I'd rather her bring the chick outside to drink so maybe I'll just watch closely today to see what she does. It's going to be over 100 degrees so I don't want to push them into heat stroke.
 

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