What the heck??!!

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by Keltara, Sep 24, 2011.

  1. Keltara

    Keltara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Okay. So I'm really upset. For the past week, Jasmine...
    [​IMG]

    ...has turned aggressive toward her human family. When I reach to pet her, as I always have done, I get a good bite! For the past couple days, I have been asserting myself back at her. If she bites, I poke her very hard in the breast with a firm loud "NO". She will then fluff herself up and strike back with another bite to which I stand my ground and poke back firmly with another "NO". This has gone on at times for several minutes. Today she was really standing firm and I ultimately wound up standing and kicking her. She is the lowest on the pecking order (or at least used to be. I'll have to watch to confirm that that is still so), and has always been the sweetest of our little flock of 3. We don't have a rooster. Is what I'm doing with her the right thing to do? I figure that I'm trying to establish to her that "I" am the top hen and she must submit. It doesn't seem to be working though as she bites myself or my girls anytime we try to pet her. She does not exhibit aggression toward the other 2 hens. She and her sisters are 24 weeks old. None of our hens have begun to lay yet. Being that they are at 24 weeks, could the fact that egg laying is not far behind be a reason?

    Please help. This behavior has only "just" surfaced and if at all possible, I really want to nip it in the bud.
    What should I do??

    ~Kelly~
    My Country Chronicles Blog
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2011
  2. ll

    ll Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would stop what you're doing and try the love & treats approach.
     
  3. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

    5,916
    545
    341
    Oct 31, 2008
    West Michigan
    My Coop
    That really is quite a change in behavior! My guess is that you have generally always done the love and treats approach and all of a sudden it is not working the same way it did before. I did not notice a big change in my hens behavior before they started laying, but it could be contributing to the change I suppose. I guess a few things you could try: If she bites or pecks, you could gently but firmly press her back down until she submits by squatting (you could also gently pinch the back of her neck at the same time) -or- you could train her that she will only get treats if she accepts a pet from you with out biting. It may take some trial and error unfortunately; I hope she is just going through a phase.
     
  4. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

    28,746
    5,364
    576
    May 11, 2010
    Is she going broody? The hormonal changes will turn a friendly hen to an aggressive one.
     
  5. Keltara

    Keltara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:She's not going broody, because she has not begun to lay yet. Hmmmm.
     
  6. Keltara

    Keltara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I do give them treats all the time. Whenever I give my girls treats, they will eat from my hand (usually corn and sunflower seeds), and while they are eating, I am petting their backs or underbellies. When I do this to Jasmine (since the behavior change), even when I have the treats open, as soon as she sees my hand coming for a pet, she bites. Do you think I should continue the treats with her, but only pet her sisters and not her?
     
  7. bald k9

    bald k9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    512
    0
    139
    Sep 5, 2009
    Rural Edwardsville
    Maybe instead of poking her in the chest, Just use your finger and just peck the top of her head , like the rooster or alpha hen would do!
     
  8. Keltara

    Keltara Chillin' With My Peeps

    scratch'n'peck :

    That really is quite a change in behavior! My guess is that you have generally always done the love and treats approach and all of a sudden it is not working the same way it did before. I did not notice a big change in my hens behavior before they started laying, but it could be contributing to the change I suppose. I guess a few things you could try: If she bites or pecks, you could gently but firmly press her back down until she submits by squatting (you could also gently pinch the back of her neck at the same time) -or- you could train her that she will only get treats if she accepts a pet from you with out biting. It may take some trial and error unfortunately; I hope she is just going through a phase.

    Jill
    I hope it's only a phase as well. Your suggestions seem sound, however I don't know if I'd be able to get my hand on her back to press her down without her giving me a good bite. It will be hard to withhold treats from her because if the others are getting them from me, she is right there with them and for me to push her away so only her sisters enjoy it, means she sees my empty treat hand coming and will bite. I will try your suggestions though. maybe I need to buy a sturdy pair of gloves and try that way.​
     
  9. Keltara

    Keltara Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Hi Ernie

    Actually I initially tried doing that for that very reason, but that little bugger is so fast, that I kept missing, and she didn't [​IMG]!
     
  10. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    All you're doing is fighting her, which makes her keep being aggressive right back. She's got head hen written all over her, if you ask me. Put your hand on her back and push her to the ground, flattening her like a rooster would do, but don't fight with her. Had a head hen once who would keep fighting as long as you pushed back at her, so that doesn't work at all.

    For biting, I also scoop them up and hold their beak closed with my fingers. They really hate that usually, but it's mainly the young cockerels who need that treatment, rarely a pullet. I've really had only one aggressive hen and I still have her--she's half blind with Sumatra blood in her, complete with spurs, not a great combination. She's almost had her neck wrung a few times with that biting thing, but she also flogs. I can't see a BO doing that, though anything is possible.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by