Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Chickens Behaving Badly

Don’t be fooled by cute fluffy butts

Sometimes, I liken chicken behaviors to childrens’ or some misbehaving adults for that matter. Some days their behaviors are down right appalling, surprising, and rude. Over the years, I have seen some behaviors in the flock that make me sit down and scratch my head. Most days are smooth. However, on others I have been known to play referee, try and change behaviors, or even reprimand ones that cannot be overlooked. I continue to learn lessons everyday from this little flock of seven, even if it involves chicken time outs now and then. These chicken lessons never grow old no matter your age.

If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all.
Yes, sometimes the girls get in a squabble. Sometimes its over a favorite nesting box, other times over tasty morsels discovered on their adventures. Their songs go from sweet chortled chatter to all out mad clucking. Sometimes, so loud, that I have to go outside and investigate. It’s not possible to remind chickens of their manners, but they sure can be distracted with treats.

Sometimes attitude adjustments require time outs.
I have been known to remove and rehome chickens that could not behave and show respect for the others. Living together and having their lives overlap, I cannot tolerate chickens that do not get along for the sake of the flock. Like people, life is just better when everyone shows mutual respect and kindness to one another.

Pick on someone your own size.
Older hens will pick on new flock member and even on younger pullets until the pecking order is re-established. I think it is best when introducing new members to the flock that you always introduce more than one at a time, safety in numbers. Chickens use their beaks to communicate. Like peoples’ words, they can be sharp.

Live life to the fullest.
Despite there being the occasional bully hen in the flock, it is best to ignore and try to just enjoy life. Bullies are just an unfortunate part of life. They come and go and their actions are unpredictable. Don’t let them take up too much space in your head. Perhaps this is why chickens have small heads.

Working together everyone comes out for the better.
When you sit back and see the flock getting along, having fun, exploring and enjoying a dust bath together- being so comfortable that they can contort into yoga poses, gently preen one another, and go entirely boneless- then you know life is good and it doesn’t get much better.

Life’s too short, don’t hold onto issues.
Let things go. Don’t hold onto anger. Tomorrow is another day. Each morning when I open the coop door, the chickens pops out like sweet little fluffy kernels of popcorn. With each new day, comes an attitude of excitement and anticipation of what the day will bring.

Don’t be sneaky or act maliciously toward others.
Dottie Speckles lived this way and chose to harm other chickens in the coop by inflicting wounds on their backs as they slept on the roosts. It took me a while to figure out, but while the others slept she stirred and did her dirty work by the light of the moon. Eventually, I put two and two together and realized how sneaky and malicious she was toward those who were her “friends”. She was rehomed.

Don’t leave others out in the cold.
Every night, not matter the weather, our head hen Tilly does a head check and makes sure that everyone is in the coop for the night. It doesn’t matter how she feels about them. She puts issues aside and does what is right for the common good of the flock. She has never cared for Dolly. Yet, at night, Dolly has a spot on the roost with the rest of them.

Life is better surrounded by others.
Be sure to envelop your life with people around you always. Be sure to fill your life with those that can show you smiles, hold your hands, share a hug, lift you up, cry on their shoulder, belly laugh together and dance like you are young again.

Photo Credit: Tilly’s Nest

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  • LOL ! This post was cute ! I remember the attitudes and characters of our chickens we had on the farm when I was kid ! My mum always told them to play nice in the sand box or else lol !! I have always found it funny when the chickens get in panic over nothing and it sets them off into a clucking fit lol They can be quite the nervous Nellie's and cruel to each other to , they are also quite comical at times as well . Thanks for sharing . Have a good weekend !

  • What a great post! There are many lessons to be learned on the farm. :)

  • I enjoyed this post. I have a hen "Red" she is mean to the bone and has never in years gotten along with any chicken or rooster. That is until now! Finally I have her in a pen with Gaston the French Wheaten Marans Rooster and he has calmed her down.. He is my meekest Rooster of all so easy going. She has become a part of this family and is happy and sweet. Whew I thought that would never happen…She is a Rhode Island Red. finally at peace and giving some peace to the chicken yard.