Mean Chickens

So our chickens are mean.  When we collect their eggs they not only peck us but they grab a piece of our flesh and twist.  It is very painful.  You can she that she is just about to lay into me.

Unfortunately their meanness is causing other troubles too.  When we rented three hens out, two of the hens were so mean to the other one in their chicken enclosure in Seattle that she kept escaping.  Finally she was killed, likely by a raccoon.  And when those remaining 2 hens came home, the other chickens were mean to them.  One of them ended up getting killed by a bald eagle, likely because she was chased out of the barn and she did not belong to a rooster’s harem anymore for protection.

I am not sure how to solve the mean chicken problem other than we are paying attention to which breeds are behaving poorly and will not be ordering more of those types.


P.S. It is my sheepiversary today.  I have been owned by Shetland sheep for 13 years now!

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16 Responses to Mean Chickens

  1. Gail says:

    Buff Orpingtons are mild, sweet chickens, I have to recommend… Now our Gold Stars are looking pretty sweet, too. Just as with sheep, having the birds in adjacent pens for some days while reintroducing is helpful…

    • Thanks Gail! The Buff Orpingtons we have are all mellow. They are on the list of “too get” chickens. I have never had Gold Stars. You would think with 8 acres they could all just get along.

  2. Well there goes one of my recommendations. I was going to ask if they had enough room! 😉 I have found my Buff Orpingtons to be nice and my Blue laced red Wyandottes to be seemingly unaware of new chickens joining their group! They (the BLRW) are amazingly calm and non-aggressive birds.

    Happy Sheepiversary!

  3. I forgot to mention: that picture of your chicken, up close and personal, is AWESOME!!!

  4. Laura says:

    When introducing (or reintroducing) chickens to a new flock, there are two ways to go about it:
    1) put the new ones in at night when everyone’s asleep, and then keep an eye on them during the day to prevent any cannibalism (this one doesn’t work all that well…)
    2) put the new ones in a smaller enclosure within the main enclosure. Keep all of the flock indoors for several days, so they can get to know each other through whathever wire-type thing you close the newbies in. Gradually let them out into the main flock, keeping an eye out for any severe rumbles (this works way better). This can take longer, like a week, but they establish their pecking order without undue harm to the new ones (or original ones who are brought down a peg.

    I have Dark Brahma’s, and while they are certainly aware that I introduced some Partridge Cochin pullets into their midst, they aren’t overly aggressive (though they do put the young ones in their place). The ducks are the ones that are a little more worriesome! I’ve wondered about the BLRW’s – they are certainly a lovely looking chicken!!

    • Donna says:

      Thanks Laura! I will say that in over 10 years of the rent-a-hen business this is the first time we have had reintroduction issues. But this year’s chickens seem particularly aggressive. I am not sure why. They are pretty much the same breeds we have always had and we raised them the same way. We did use a different hatchery. Maybe different hatcheries have different strains with different temperaments?

  5. Teresa says:

    I’ve never heard of renting out chickens. Very interesting. I hope you don’t have any more issues~I would recommend the adjoining pens. I’ve also introduced so many at one time that they just can’t pick on that many at once. Congrats on the sheepiversary!

  6. Jackie Craw says:

    Happy sheepiversary! All the advise and recommendations have already been mentioned. We have also done the adjoining pen method and it helped. Nice chicken photo. Looks kind of like a mug shot!

    • Thanks Jackie! I just figure there’s no point repeating my mistakes over the last 13 years so I try to pass what the sheep have taught me on to others. Good to hear the adjoining pen method works. And I had to laugh, it does look like a mug shot!

  7. sheepsclothing says:

    Happy Sheepiversary! I’m still learning about chickens, but our golden sex link girl is a lot friendlier than the rhode island reds. Don’t know if its a breed thing, or just individual personalities. That’s a great chicken picture. For critters with not much brain they sure can show a lot of ‘tude, eh?

  8. Zakgirlsfarm says:

    Belated best wishes for your sheepiversary. Hope you had a wonderful day.


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