Anyone who cares for chickens knows what it’s like to deal with chicken behavior problems. Sometimes, it can seem like an aggressive chicken comes out of nowhere, and now you and your flock are living in fear. While it can take some serious time and effort, you can control a violent chicken with determination and fearlessness. Learn why your chicken is attacking you and how to deal with aggressive behaviors with this guide.
Before you figure out how to deal with an aggressive chicken, you need to understand that chickens aren’t engaging in these behaviors from a place of meanness. Often, chicken behavior problems are simply a chicken attempting to assert the pecking order or protect the flock. Roosters, in particular, act aggressively because they either perceive you as a threat or want to assert themselves as dominant over you.
Aggressive behaviors in chickens can be automatic, genetic, or hormonal, and can even be learned behaviors from you or other chickens. It could be that your chicken was just born more aggressive, or it could be attempting to establish dominance over you and the flock. You can often use treats and other tricks to get your chickens to like you, but an aggressive bird might require different methods.
When working out how to control a violent chicken, remember that your main goal is to have the chicken view you as the dominant flock member. It may take some time, but you want the bird to take its place below you in the pecking order. You want the chicken to understand that aggressive, dominant displays of behavior towards you aren’t acceptable.
You can use several strategies to deal with an aggressive rooster or chicken, so don’t worry if one doesn’t work. Simply move on to the next to find the best solution for your flock.
Before attempting to control your aggressive rooster or chicken, you must take some important safety precautions. Roosters have spurs on the backs of their legs, which they use to attack and defend themselves. Chickens can also draw blood with their beaks, so you’ll need to prepare for dealing with the chicken with these safety measures:
It’s always best to wear full-coverage clothing when working with chickens, but protecting your fingers, hands, and skin from an aggressive chicken is essential. Taking appropriate safety measures will help prevent you from sustaining any wounds or injuries while working with the bird.
The first method you can try to deter an aggressive chicken is a face-off. You should attempt to stand your ground with an aggressive chicken — never turn your back. You want to establish yourself as the dominant member of the flock, and turning around and running away will only encourage the bird’s behavior.
Wearing your protective gear, face the chicken and stand tall. Try to make yourself as big as possible, flapping your arms and stomping your feet. Do this until it backs off. If it runs at you, you can use your bucket to keep the chicken away from your body without hurting either of you. It might take a few encounters before your bird learns to back down, so be patient.
The flipping method is another way to try and stop your bird from being aggressive. Try to stand your ground first, and if the chicken or rooster starts running at you or acting aggressively, you can try to flip it. To flip the chicken, grab it while it’s upright, flip its body upside down and hold it against your body like a football. Hold the bird until it calms down and stops flapping its wings. Then, gently set the chicken back on the ground.
When flipping a chicken or rooster, never pick it up by its feet and suspend it in the air. Dangling a chicken by its legs can hurt it and cause unnecessary pain. Your full-coverage outfit and gloves should be enough to protect you from your chicken, but if you aren’t comfortable tucking it in your arm, you can flip it upside down and hold its body securely with both hands.
Another way to stop chickens from pecking you and acting aggressively is water. You can use a hose to spray the rooster or chicken and get it to stand down. Keep your hose head right by the gate so you can pick it up and walk around with it while you’re inside with the chickens. You don’t need much water pressure — you want to avoid hurting the bird. The hose water should work as a simple deterrent for bad bird behavior.
You can also isolate the bird if it’s lashing out at other chickens in the flock. If an aggressive chicken or rooster is bullying the other birds outside of normal flock behaviors, isolating it can help curb its behavior. Have the chicken watch the rest of the birds go about their day without interference from the problem chicken. This experience can show the bird that its aggressive behaviors are unnecessary and might reduce some of its poor behavior.
Sometimes, a chicken or rooster is too aggressive and won’t respond to de-escalation measures. If you have a chicken causing severe harm or injury to you or your flock, you might need to cull it as a last resort. Culling a chicken is always a sad measure, but it is a solution to a dangerous bird. Find a quick, humane way to cull your chicken, like euthanization or a fast neck break, to end the bird’s life swiftly and painlessly.
Never give an aggressive bird to someone else. It might be tempting to hand an aggressive chicken to someone who says they can handle it, but the chicken will most likely stress out the new flock as much as the old. If you can’t curb aggressive behaviors, it’s not likely a new flock or situation will either. Protect your flock and others by culling the chicken if you can’t calm it down.
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