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Why is my hen suddenly biting me?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Platy04, Jan 24, 2016.

  1. Platy04

    Platy04 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 24, 2016
    All my hens have been nice until a day ago. I walked in the coop with flip flops on and one of my Americana hens ran up and bit me. When I reached ot toward her she bit me again. She also makes weird sounds when i'm around. She's still acting like this today. I believe she's low in the pecking order and I have a rooster. None of my other hens are acting like this. My hens have just started laying. I haven't ever been mean to her. Does anyone know why she would start acting like this and how to stop this behavior?
    Thank You
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    Hello and welcome to BYC!

    2 scenerios could be at play here. I have 2 birds in my flock that will bite me...one is innocent, the other is evil in nature. This first biter is a low in the order Barred Rock who is a mommies bird if you will, super sweet and sits on my lap. But she has learned that hands carry treats and she regularly bites at my hands until I cough up goodies. LOL. Lately she has even taken to chasing after me and grabbing my pant legs. Ha!

    The second bird, and this happens in many flocks with no rooster, thinks she is above me in the order. She will "pick stones" to intice me into a show down and bites me if she thinks I am threatening her hens.

    If your bird is low in the order it is possible she is looking for attention, the goodies or both. :)
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 13, 2011
    I always wear shoes out there, never sandals, and also don't hand feed. My birds can be too underfoot when I'm scattering goodies, but no biting allowed. A really evil obnoxious bird would be gone, and otherwise just having them move out of my way works very well. Broody hens are in a different category; they rule! Mary
  4. applebutter14

    applebutter14 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 8, 2014
    i have a very tame salmon faverolles and a little after she started to lay eggs she would always peck my knees, my hair and my hands, but mostly my hair. i rarely give them treats out of my hands so i don't know why she would be picking them, or my knee, or my hair...[​IMG]
  5. Platy04

    Platy04 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 24, 2016
    I don't think she's broody, shes not laying in the neting box. But I have never had a broody hen so I don't know.
    The way she bites also doesn't seem like she wants treats. She ran up to my legs today and even through my jeans I could feel her biting me. Do hens low in pecking order ever try to dominate you? do you think shes trying to get a higher status in the flock? none of my other hens seem to do this.
  6. azygous

    azygous Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Was this the first time this hen has seen flip flops? Did her sounds appear as if she was growling?

    Chances are this hen perceived something about you as a threat and she was taking it upon herself to protect the flock.

    One day of this behavior isn't enough to be able to figure out what's going on. I suggest you wear the footwear you've been wearing before this happened. Wait a few days to see if the hen attacks. If she doesn't, try the flip flops again. If she attacks, then you'll know it's probably the flip flops setting her off.

    Chickens can be weird about what humans are wearing sometimes. Some of my friends have learned not to wear open toed sandals or shoes, especially with painted toe nails, when they visit my chickens. I had a rooster who, whenever someone came to visit wearing hiking boots, would attack them fiercely.

    I'm betting you'll get to the bottom of this mystery, and be sure to let us know what you discover!
  7. Spartan22

    Spartan22 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 2, 2014
    North Canton, Ohio
    Couple of my barred rocks and rhode islands pecks on my pant legs each time they see me unltil I pick them up they won't stop.
  8. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend... Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    Does she stand tall and peck you? Does she lean down to the floor and pick up things and stare at you out of one eye while she is a bit giggly? These actions are domination type stances. If so, she trying to dominate you. This type of behavior is difficult to get out of them. It is natural for every chicken to defend their position in the flock. The only thing I can suggest is remove her from the flock for quite some time. She won't bite you if she is separated and maybe this separate will change her attitudes. You may need to keep her out of the flock for a month or more. Then reintroduce her from a cage for another few weeks so the flock gets to know her again. Maybe this will change her ways.

    You can also try pinless peepers on her. This will prevent her from being aggressive while she wears them.

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