What do I do when my 6 week old Bantam chicks start to bite me?

Lisa202

Songster
9 Years
Aug 20, 2010
718
13
133
Long Island NY
Hi all,

Last night when I was giving my chicks their nightly treat off my hand (last night yogurt) a few of the chicks ( brahmas & 1 EE) bit my fingers hard. I'm pretty sure this was not accidental as they are dead on when they peck at anything, let alone a hand full of yogurt. The bites hurt and I don't want this to happen again. Each time they did it, I shoved my hand at them and while they did back off, so did all the other chickens and then they were afraid to approach me again. I read that the pecking order is being established at this age and have noticed a little aggression going on.

so these are my questions...

did I do the right thing when they bit me?
do you think it'll keep happening?
and how do I stop this from happening again?

Thanks as always:)

ps. they are getting big and are still in their brooder that is 4'x4' and there are 10 bantams...do you think it has something to do with not enough space? They are moving into their coop outside this weekend.
 

Lbrad7

Songster
9 Years
May 19, 2010
1,310
25
166
Ringgold, GA
They are just checking you out. If they see a freckle or scab from a cut they will go for it every time. I actually think its funny execpt when they go for a scab.
lau.gif
Those kind of hurt! I don't think it will ever stop, its just what chickens do. I think if you keep pushing them away it will help a bit but don't be surprised when they take a peck at you again.
 

Lisa202

Songster
9 Years
Aug 20, 2010
718
13
133
Long Island NY
these weren't innocent pecks...they do that all the time to the veins in my hand etc...those don't hurt as they are just little pecks. what they did last night was full open beaks biting at my whole fingers. Could they be testing me?
 

Frannabelle

Songster
10 Years
Jun 1, 2009
307
3
121
MI
This is what some chickens do. Some peck more than others, so are more ornery, aggressive etc than others. I have a bantam barred cochin hen that is quite crabby and bites me. It does smart, so I just do my best to keep my hands away from her. Sometimes I just love picking her up and giving her lots of lovin', much to her dislike! It's my little revenge on her.
 

Lisa202

Songster
9 Years
Aug 20, 2010
718
13
133
Long Island NY
I did that last night...I made sure to pick up the 2 that bit and held them extra long. They seemed ok with me, they didn't try anything else.

I understand that some are more crabby then others, what I'd like to know is how do I let them know that they can't get away with bad behavior with me...or do I have to just accept it?

I really can't keep my hand away from any one chicken in particular when they all come running up to get what's in my hand. Plus...I have 4 brahmas and I can't tell which one (or 2, or 3) that are the culprits. They all look alike.
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gryeyes

Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers
10 Years
Sep 22, 2009
15,506
430
358
My slice of heaven in Somerset, CA
Don't laugh, but I "peck" them back. Honestly. I use my forefinger and I thunk the pecking chick really quickly, but lightly, on the side or top of the head, right after it does that. If it pecks me again, I do it again. That way, I'm not "attacking" all of the chicks, just the offender.

It does work, for me, anyway. They "get it" that I'm the top of the pecking order.
 

Lisa202

Songster
9 Years
Aug 20, 2010
718
13
133
Long Island NY
I tried doing that but I had a hand full of yogurt and just the motion of my hand going towards one of them freaked all the others out. My intention was to flick her back. (don't make me flick you)
 

Egg Crate

Chirping
9 Years
Oct 13, 2010
242
4
91
Ivoryton
Ours started pecking hard when they got about that age but it only lasted a month or so and they "resumed" a more gentle pecking technique as they got older. I think they were testing what they could get away with. They love to peck at wedding rings or anything out of the ordinary like a cut or freckle. If I got pecked hard I would peck the offender back with my other hand. It seemed like they got the message. A loud "OUCH" or two got their attention also.
 

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