Will my mean chickens influence my new chicks?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by fougere5, Mar 9, 2017.

  1. fougere5

    fougere5 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 24, 2013
    Hey all- I have 8 chickens right now. They are (I believe) golden comets. But they are nothing like the nice flock of golden comets I used to have! These chickens, to be honest, are jerks :p They are not at all docile and they like to bite. I am planning to get an order of golden comet chicks this spring to add to the flock. My question is, will my current meanies teach the new chicks to be mean too? I'm not sure if I should get rid of the mean ones and start fresh, or... ?? For what it's worth, I have a good size coop and the chickens are free range in the spring, summer, and fall.
    Thanks for any input!
  2. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Most chicken behavior is due to breed temperament, but some of it can be traced to the way we interact with our chickens. But I doubt your older chickens will teach the new chicks to be mean.

    You don't go into detail on what the behavior of your "mean" chickens involves or when they engage in this behavior, but I would guess you're having aggression problems at feeding time or when you dispense treats. Chickens can get pretty zealous when it comes to food.

    If the behavior involves interflock behavior, space and lack of perches can encourage squabbles and injuries.

    How about a little more information before I continue this guessing game?
  3. fougere5

    fougere5 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 24, 2013
    Basically, they'll just run up to you and bite you on the leg out of nowhere. If you're anywhere near them they try to bite you. Reaching for something nearby? Bite. Walking by? Bite. etc. We raised them the same way we raised all of our other chickens... had them inside until they got feathers, handled them, etc. Once they were out in the coop and independent, they just started getting aggressive toward people. None of our other flocks ever behaved this way.

    They seem to get along with each other. In the warmer months (generally April through October/November depending... we are in Maine) they are outside from dawn til dusk free-ranging. They have their feeder and water outside near the coop, too, but their diet is mostly what the find while free ranging. They have the normal "pecking order" that flocks have, but they don't seem aggressive toward one another.

    Edited to add... I don't think ALL of them are being mean. I know 2-3 are for sure, but as I can't tell them apart it's hard to say how many are acting that way.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    When you say their diet is mostly what they find while free ranging, does that mean that they don't have processed feed available to fill them up on a daily basis? Still guessing here. I'd start with that. Then, I'd do some dominance training just the same as I would with a roo. When ever one of these bad girls approach, I'd take a big stamping step in her direction and follow through with a chase. Do this especially when you are dispensing treats, and don't let that bully back for the treats until you say she can come back. I would do the same with a rooster, and carry a slender stick to use to herd the roo where I want him to go. (a gentle tap on the tail feathers or flank is sufficient.) This is not being mean. It is showing your girls that you are the boss, and underlings are not allowed to show aggression to the boss. And the boss tells the underlings when they can eat, and makes them move away when ever he wants to. Don't ever go around a chicken. Walk through them. Make them move out of your way.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I would reverse this^^^

    Be the 'Head Hen'!!
  6. fougere5

    fougere5 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 24, 2013
    Thank you :)
    Yes they do have processed food available to them daily- they have their feeder next to the coop and it goes into the coop with them at night.

    I appreciate the advice on dominance training! Will definitely do that. Thanks so much for your input and advice!! Have a great day

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