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I have two hens, just at 5 months old.  The larger of the two started pecking my pant legs and white shoes about a month ago.  I'm not sure if she's being aggressive or just saying "Hey, pay attention to me".  If I wear other then white shoes, she leaves them alone.  We can pick her up and handle her without any issues.  She doesn't mind when we enter her hen house or anything, and leaves the cat alone.

Just recently she has decided to attack my dog, cocker spaniel. The first time she chased him all around the back yard.  He thought it was great fun.  She didn't like it though when he turned around and tried to chase back.  Since then, she goes after him with her claws.  She's caught him off guard once and grabbed his side, made him yelp.  He doesn't like playing with her anymore, but she will chase him aggressively until I put him back in the house.  I've been letting them free range throughout my small backyard, but now my husband wants me to make a coop to keep them in.

Both chickens are Buff Orpingtons, both lay eggs - not consistently.  Any idea why she's acting this way?

Tracey C

The Dalles, OR

TKBRabbitry.com

Tags: Aggressive, buff, chickens, orpingtons

Views: 1436

Replies to This Discussion

It sounds like she is the dominant hen in your flock. When there is no rooster present, it's common for the dominant hen to take on the role of protector for the group. Unfortunately, it sounds like a precedent has been set, and she views your dog as a threat. I'm not sure that it can be undone, other than to say never let your dog chase your chickens, even if you think it's in fun or play. Chickens don't play. They don't run around and chase each other for the fun of it. Chasing is for protection of the flock, or running away as self preservation. It's not fun in the chicken world. (like it is/can be in the dog world) If you want to try to undo what's been done, I'd say you should step in and stop your chicken from chasing your dog before it starts when your dog is with the chickens. I'd leash your dog, and keep him near you, while you go about your business in the yard. To keep the hens busy, throw some feed on the ground and let them scratch nearby while you are out. Close enough that your dog is visible with you, but far enough that your hen doesn't chase. With your dog leashed, you should be able to step between the two and stop the chasing if she tries to start it.

I can't tell if you leave the two of them in the yard together unattended in the yard, but if you do, I don't think it's wise to continue that.

 

My hens peck at my feet to see if they are edible. :) They particularly like to see if my freckles will come off. lol

Hi Tracey,

My barred rocks chase any cats that are in my yard and squirrels. They also will peck at my feet if they see anything interesting to peck at. But, there's a difference in their body language. When they,re being aggressive they move very quickly and stick their necks out a little further while charging at what ever they are going after. When they're just pecking at something interesting they'll kind of look at it sideways first and then peck at it. I don't know if that's helpful or not. Hope so.

Dawn

Plymouth, MA

I know this is a couple of weeks by, but just wanted to say howdy and that Ms. Rachel and Ms. Dawn are right on top of it.

I also wanted to add to Ms. Rachel's comment about leaving your dog and the birds unattended and what she may have left unsaid.. Although cockers aren't overly aggressive  they are hunters and the dog may soon reason out that it is being sent back in the house because of the bird and begin to resent it.  From there it would be only a short thought to realize he really doesn't need to run.......

On a lighter note..Since she only goes after your white shoes, I'm betting you feed your hens the ocasional old piece of bread.

Mine go after anything white. Even potato peels that I toss on the compost pile.

With 50 chooks here it can be amusing to throw a handful of tater peels in the yard and watch the quickest grab one up and run with 5 or six chasing in all directions. Once they realize they've  been had and it is only a disgustingly unsavory potato they drop it and another grabs it up and the chase is on again.  Even by chickens that already dropped it....just in case it magically changed to bread  after they disgarded it.....

Although my hens will run off the cat if he ventures too close to the Chicken Palace, they pay no nevermind to either our Black Lab or Schnauzer, who both return the favor. (I have to call the lab off when I give my birds a treat of corn or he will stand side by side with them gobbling it up.)

Hi Tracey, 

They all have a thing for white color's so  I would say that is your shoe issue. Orpingtons tend to hold their own. Not overly aggressive but they don't back down either. They sound like well adjusted, very secure, over confidant, know they are loved teen age hens establishing their territory to me. :-)

My little ones use to have a thing for shoe laces. They seemed to think it was food or a predator but would constantly get my shoe laces untied pulling on them until they finally grew more and lost interest. It provided hours of free entertainment though unless I was in a hurry that day lol. 

ohhhh on the "freckle" comment lol... Yes  forgot about that and I learned not to go in there with a band aid on my leg either, they have it off and running with it in seconds lol. I had to where jeans until my puncture healed up and even then they would pick at the pink scar for the longest. 

rachel whetzel said:

It sounds like she is the dominant hen in your flock. When there is no rooster present, it's common for the dominant hen to take on the role of protector for the group. Unfortunately, it sounds like a precedent has been set, and she views your dog as a threat. I'm not sure that it can be undone, other than to say never let your dog chase your chickens, even if you think it's in fun or play. Chickens don't play. They don't run around and chase each other for the fun of it. Chasing is for protection of the flock, or running away as self preservation. It's not fun in the chicken world. (like it is/can be in the dog world) If you want to try to undo what's been done, I'd say you should step in and stop your chicken from chasing your dog before it starts when your dog is with the chickens. I'd leash your dog, and keep him near you, while you go about your business in the yard. To keep the hens busy, throw some feed on the ground and let them scratch nearby while you are out. Close enough that your dog is visible with you, but far enough that your hen doesn't chase. With your dog leashed, you should be able to step between the two and stop the chasing if she tries to start it.

I can't tell if you leave the two of them in the yard together unattended in the yard, but if you do, I don't think it's wise to continue that.

 

My hens peck at my feet to see if they are edible. :) They particularly like to see if my freckles will come off. lol

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