Badly behaved chicken

Discussion in 'Beginners Forum' started by Devonshire Dumpling, Sep 26, 2020.

  1. Devonshire Dumpling

    Devonshire Dumpling New Member

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    Hi, I was given a chicken for my birthday in February, and she has complete freedom of the garden. At first she was adorable, but soon became pushy, flying at me and snatching food out of my hands or even flying at my face. She comes marching in the back & front door, desperate to steal food. She now rejects the mixed corn, poultry pellets, & various veggies I feed her, and is solely focused on helping herself to human food like pasties. Sunbathing & barbecues are unpleasant unless she is shut away in her coop. I have several friends with chickens in the garden, and none behave like this one. Am I doing something wrong?
     
  2. Biring

    Biring Active Member

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    How many chickens do you have?
     

  3. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    Does sound like there's only one. That's problem number one.

    Problem number two is allowing the bird access to unhealthy food stuffs.

    Changes are badly needed to fix the issues.
     
  4. CaliDavali

    CaliDavali New Member

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    Agree with @robin416 on adding at least one more chicken to the yard, and not giving unhealthy foods.

    Also, whenever we have a chicken that decides she's the boss of the humans, we use chicken language to re-establish our authority. First, we catch the naughty girl. Then we set her on the ground, still holding on tightly, and gently push her body and head down to the ground. We don't hurt her and aren't rough about it, but this is chicken language for saying, "I'm the boss, and you can't push me around." You will see hens and roosters alike using this tactic to establish the (literal) pecking order.

    A few times of doing that usually solves the problem. But then again, we've never had just one chicken at a time, either. She really does need some chicken company, although you can expect some fighting when she sees the competition.

    Good luck, and let us know how it goes!
     
    robin416 likes this.
  5. Devonshire Dumpling

    Devonshire Dumpling New Member

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    7DCDC8E7-8117-48D2-ADCC-F11B6E9C5E79.jpeg CB95F2D9-2C45-4714-A2C1-DAF656776DA3.jpeg 76321AFD-71D4-4BB7-BCF1-DA613AA08321.jpeg Thanks for your advice guys! It’s silly, but it hadn’t really occurred to me that being on her own might be the issue. When I was first given Clucks, I fully intended to add a few more hens. However, a friend lent me an unwanted Eglu. Despite being so big and heavy, it only has one nest in it. It’s easy & hygienic to dissemble and clean, but very heavy to move around. I need to find a better solution and add a couple more chickens! Clucks is adorable when she’s having dust baths and behaving like a chicken should
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 27, 2020
  6. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    If a single nest is the only reason you haven't gotten her a companion you can scratch that concern off your list. They all use the same nest. It's a thing with chickens. Communal laying.

    If you really want her with you for the long haul it really is important you get her off the people food and eating mainly her feed. This is like that adorable little girl eating nothing but junk food. It isn't healthy.
     
  7. Devonshire Dumpling

    Devonshire Dumpling New Member

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    Thanks for telling me that, I didn’t realise they could share. Was assuming I’d need a bigger Eglu with a whole row of nests! In that case hopefully I can find her a friend without delay. Maybe with some company she won’t be so determined to move into the house with us. I do provide her with a healthy diet, but much of it is wasted. I must confess the mixed corn doesn’t look very digestible to me, and I do supplement her with peas, sweetcorn, whole-grain bread etc. She lays an egg every day, and I fear she might be running herself down, as she never takes a day off.
     
  8. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    She'll be taking a break soon. The days are getting shorter which is a signal to take some time off.

    Do they not have regular poultry feed there? That's what has everything they need in the way of vitamins and minerals. She also needs calcium for egg production. As long as you continue to feed her junk food she'll refuse to eat the stuff that's best for her.

    She wants to move into the house because she's lonely. Having a friend for her should get her to quit that. Just understand, you might have to monitor how things go. Chickens can be very territorial and need slow introductions.
     
    Devonshire Dumpling likes this.
  9. Poultry Judge

    Poultry Judge Moderator Staff Member

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    One more companion bird for sure!
     
    Overmountain1 likes this.
  10. Devonshire Dumpling

    Devonshire Dumpling New Member

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    I give her an equal mix of layers pellets and mixed corn. She seems to take a dim view of both! I don’t feed her junk food, just vegetables and a bit of bread. She only gets other food when she steals it or gets into the dog bowls. It’s hard to keep her out unless all the doors and windows are shut. Hopefully the winter will break her of that habit, especially if she has a friend to distract her.
     
  11. robin416

    robin416 Administrator Staff Member

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    Instead of pellets try crumbles. If she was raised on crumbles she might not like pellets. Believe it or not they can be quite stubborn over that small change.

    Chickens are very social and do far better emotionally with their own kind. It's like seeing horses in a herd, they're almost always close together.
     
  12. Biring

    Biring Active Member

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    It might be an idea to add two hens. Then the fighting will be three-way and hopefully short-lived. And three hens is always better than two. They should settle down quickly and pretty soon you’ll have a functioning flock.
     
  13. Poultry Judge

    Poultry Judge Moderator Staff Member

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