Why is my hen nipping/pulling on my clothes and skin?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Noymira, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. Noymira

    Noymira Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a Black Copper Marans hen who is the first to greet me at the coop door, and the first to try and get under my feet wherever I walk, squatting until I pet her. As soon as I sit down she comes right over to get petted, she'll even jump into my lap and lay down. I have noticed that she will also nip or pull at any zippers/buttons/tabs on my clothing, which I know is normal (shiny things!). But she will also nip at my arm and legs on occasion, not enough to leave a mark, but enough to be annoying. I've been pecking her back (with two fingers together on her back, not any harder than she did to me) and it seems to help a little bit, she's certainly not afraid of me even after I do that.

    Is this normal behavior? I'm not invading her space (she comes right to me before doing it), she seems to be using it to get my attention, kind of like a puppy nips at things. Is gently pecking her back ok? I'm used the same technique on horses who nip and it seems to work, but is it ok for chickens? I know I'm not hurting her, but I do want to modify her behavior. She's one of the sweetest birds I have.
     
  2. karimw

    karimw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a few that will "groom" me by pecking at bits of hay or as the case was yesterday spots of mud on my bare legs [​IMG] I expect they are trying to be helpful and they have grabbed flies and mosquitoes off me before so I try not to get too upset with them. I also have a couple of roosters who have learned if they pick at me they get attention, so that could be the case for you. I don't know how you would get them to stop, I kind of like the attention [​IMG]
     
  3. ParadiseFoundFarm

    ParadiseFoundFarm Goddess of Good Things

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    Quote:Yes, but only of the most loving and tame birds.
    She's mothering you and bonding with you.

    If you change this and discourage this, you will no longer be able to say:
    Quote:
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011
  4. Noymira

    Noymira Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 9, 2011
    Chittenden County, VT
    Quote:Yes, but only of the most loving and tame birds.
    She's mothering you and bonding with you.

    If you change this and discourage this, you will no longer be able to say:
    Quote:
    Even if it's slightly painful? I'm not thrilled about being nipped, maybe I'll just have a stern talk with her. Yes, I talk to my birds, a lot, my husband thinks I'm slightly crazy... [​IMG] They love it though.

    I don't want to change her sweetness, it's very endearing. I guess I'll have to get used to it.
     
  5. N&MSchroeder

    N&MSchroeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with the other posts. I think she is grooming/bonding with you. When mine nip a bit hard I just say "Ouch" kind of loud and they won't do it again. Just like they squawk when they are pecked. [​IMG]
     
  6. Noymira

    Noymira Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 9, 2011
    Chittenden County, VT
    N&MSchroeder :

    I agree with the other posts. I think she is grooming/bonding with you. When mine nip a bit hard I just say "Ouch" kind of loud and they won't do it again. Just like they squawk when they are pecked. [​IMG]

    That's a great idea! I will try that. I've been shaking my finger at her and telling her to stop it as well, but again images of "crazy chicken lady" flash before my eyes when I do that.​
     
  7. spotstealer

    spotstealer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine all do the same to me, and anyone else who happens to be around. They actually seem to compete for my attention. They even roost on my black lab (an awesome pheasant hunter by the way) if he is out laying in the yard. He isn't too fond of the pecking though!
     
  8. FLchook

    FLchook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ya, shes grooming you... Do you have freckles? I have a few on my arms, and some will try and pull those off LOL
     
  9. Noymira

    Noymira Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chittenden County, VT
    Quote:That could be, I do have freckles on my arms and scars on my legs, so she might be trying to get the "dirt" off. That's funny! Oh well, I'll just have to endure her treatment and try squawking when she gets too rough. I'm just worried because the others BCM's watch her in a very interested fashion when she does it, I'm not sure I could take it from all 5 at once!
     
  10. Kitty Cat

    Kitty Cat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She probably just wants more attention.
     

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