What to do with the one that always pecks you repeatedly...?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SelfMadeFarming, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. SelfMadeFarming

    SelfMadeFarming Chirping

    Sep 9, 2013
    I have raised my flock of 5 since they were hatched. They are now 22 weeks old.

    One of my girls is a Dominique.

    She has always pecked at me. Now it's to the point where I'm wearing gloves to feed and water them to save my hands... It's not just a peck here or there, it is repeated pecking.
    I can not pet her or hold her. She is really becoming annoying, and none of the others do it, just her.

    I'm wondering if anyone else has had this problem?
    And should I even keep her, or give her away, or eat her for supper?


  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Do you have a rooster?
    Sounds like she is taking the role...and you know what they say about nasty roosters.
  3. SelfMadeFarming

    SelfMadeFarming Chirping

    Sep 9, 2013
    No I don't have a rooster...
    It seems like she is always scared and and flighty.
    I'm thinking she does it out of fear....
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    Maybe carry a squirt bottle with water and give her a squirt when she starts up that behavior? Are you 100% positive she is not in fact a young rooster?

  5. SelfMadeFarming

    SelfMadeFarming Chirping

    Sep 9, 2013
    I'm sure she's not a rooster.
    She actually is the next to smallest of the flock.
    The smallest is another Dominique. Both of them are very skid-dish.
    But only the one pecks me.
    They are scared of everything, even if I toss a snack into their run, they scream and flutter.
    While my other girls are calm and gentle.

    I was able to rub her on the back this evening, and she squatted for a few seconds and then turned her head and went for my hand. I wanted to see if she was going to lay soon as she has gotten very "Red" ... So I managed to touch her for a full 2 seconds, wow that's a record
  6. Melinda48

    Melinda48 Chirping

    Jul 13, 2013
    Columbia, MO
    I had one who did that and after I "kicked her out of the way,"actually I just pushed her aside with my foot three r four time, she stopped. I guess I had to be the dominant girl! :)
    1 person likes this.
  7. dandrews1971

    dandrews1971 Songster

    Id make it a point to pick her up every single day, cuffing my hand around her neck gently so she cant move it arounf to peck at me & just carry her around. talk to her, pet her, but keep ahold of her. Eventually shell quit being scared & stop pecking.

  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    First, she's not doing it because she's scared of you. She's doing it because she thinks she's the boss of you and because you're letting her do it.

    Watch your flock--the lower ranked birds never peck the higher ranked birds. Ever, unless they're making a play to move up in the ranks. If they peck a higher ranked bird and get away with it, then they are now dominant to that bird. If they peck a higher ranked bird and get their butt kicked, they realize they're still subordinate to that bird.

    Do not give this bird the opportunity to peck you. You know she's going to do it, so don't let her get close enough. It will take some vigilance, but do not let her approach you. You're the boss, you decide if/when she comes to you, it's not her decision. Push/chase her away from you consistently for several days. If she does manage to peck you, make a huge fuss---stomp at her, yell, chase her around. That's what a dominant bird would do. It won't make her afraid of you, it will make her respect you. Don't worry about making a pet of her, that can come later. First you need to gain her respect, not be her friend.
    2 people like this.
  9. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    I have a hen like this. She started in being a bit mean at 3 months old. She pecked me so hard I would bleed. She was brutal to the other hens as well, ripping their combs. I tried everything to stop this bird. All the techniques that are used on roosters and all. Eventually it came down to sending her to the stew pot or putting pinless peepers on her. The peepers helped greatly over the years. She has worn them on and off for 3 years. She still has her moments, but has a far less brutal attitude that she once had.

    It is common for a hen in a flock without a rooster, to become dominant. This is exactly how they act. Aggressive. Getting a rooster will solve the problem, so will the stew pot. Pinless peepers help, but don't actually cure the problem. It saved this bird from the stew pot, for now. Her day still may be coming!

  10. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Watch your flock and communicate on their level. A dominant/aggressive hen at the feeder will grab the back of the head or even on the comb while the other bird is squawking and fighting to get away. It's all very fast and violent. Stand over the feeder and wait for this bird to be eating and unaware and grab her head or comb...hold on while she struggles to get away and goes through the panic of it all, then give it a quick shake and flip her to one side. If you can't catch her to do that, lure her in with special feed, bide your time and do it then.

    Observe. If she pecks you again, repeat the move and then wait a bit and do it again. Do it each time you get a chance until she gets the message. I've never had to do it more than once, but your hen may be persistent since you've let her get by with it for so long.

    What a hen does not do: Pick up another hen and carry her around. Stomp and scream at another hen. Hold another hen on the ground~ unless she is pecking her head pretty hard in the process.

    You'll get farther on managing flock behaviors if you can communicate on their level.

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