Why is my pullet suddenly aggressive?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CalBickieMomma, Nov 11, 2019.

  1. CalBickieMomma

    CalBickieMomma Songster

    Hello fellow chicken people! I have a young mixed flock of pullets and one cockerel that are 22 weeks old. I know one or two have started laying and the others are showing signs of starting soon.

    Anyway, one of my Easter Eggers (I have two) has suddenly started acting aggressive towards me - I mean full on attacking my hand when I hold it out to her with pecking and kicking and that low clucking sound they make when trying to be bossy. I’m not afraid of her or anything like that, just wondering why this is happening (she’s showing me more sass than my cockerel has!).

    Could it be hormones (because maybe she’s getting ready to lay)? Could it be because I was gone for three days camping (I spend a lot of time with them and she likes to sit in my lap and cuddle), and she’s mad at me? When I returned she jumped right into my lap and cuddled under my arm, but a little later after jumping down she got all feisty with me.

    Anyway, just wondering if anyone has had experience with this :confused:.
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Great Horny Toads

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    She does sound like a hormonal teenager. Sometimes that happens with one. You can push her gently down to the ground into a squat and hold her for a bit if she gets too feisty.

    I had one get bossy like that at sexual maturity. I accidentally tripped kicked her once because she kept getting in the way, and I dropped my feed can. It was enough of a startling to put an end to it, which was good. It was getting dangerous for me to walk with her around my feet constantly.

    Most pullets mature past that grumpy bossy stage.
    Sequel and CalBickieMomma like this.
  3. CalBickieMomma

    CalBickieMomma Songster

    Thanks for the feedback! I was hoping it was just hormones because she still wanted to cuddle :p. I also thought maybe she’s just overly feisty because she was always on the small side and needed to make up for it :ya.
    Sequel likes this.
  4. silkiekeeper

    silkiekeeper Songster

    May 16, 2018
    SE Minnesota
    My Coop
    I have a pullet kind of acting the same, except not so aggressive. She used to be so quiet and timid. Now all the sudden she runs up to me and yells at me until her face turns red. Hormones!! :barnie
    CalBickieMomma likes this.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Peck her Back!!

    Have had this happen several times, mostly with hand fed chicks often as they come of age and get spunky. It's pretty easily curbed with calm and deliberate determination.

    I peck them back, on the head or anywhere I can reach, with the tips of thumb and first 2 fingers, as hard and fast as many times as I can before they get away. Well, not hard enough to hurt them, just startle them and let them you mean business. That's what another chicken would do, so they understand that kind of communication.

    If that doesn't work after a couple applications, I hold them down to the ground with my hand on their back until they submit....again firmly enough to get the job done but not hurt them....add a few finger pecks and/or tug on the feathers on the back of their neck.
  6. Lizzy733

    Lizzy733 Songster

    Nov 13, 2018
    New Zealand
    Sounds like she's trying to dominate you - definitely 'peck' back so she understands your place in the pecking order versus hers.
  7. CalBickieMomma

    CalBickieMomma Songster

    Ha ha! I have been pecking her back - and picking her up and holding her to show her she is NOT the boss of Mama Chicken ;). It seems to be working so far, even though she has shown me a little sass the past few mornings. I just find it interesting, since I've hand raised chickens several times over and this is the first time a pullet got super sassy with me. I had to do this with my cockerel, too, and he's calmed down a bit since hitting puberty. He still likes to run up and do his wing herding thing, but I just pick him up and pet him. He even crows when I'm walking around the yard while holding him. Chickens are such silly creatures! Thanks for all the advice!!!
    Lizzy733 and oldhenlikesdogs like this.
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Not sure picking them up is 'dominant', pinning them to the ground sure is tho.
    Shezadandy and CalBickieMomma like this.
  9. CalBickieMomma

    CalBickieMomma Songster

    I’ve been pinning her down, too :).

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