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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Chicken Behavioral Analyst Needed

Thelma on left; Lucy on right
Blurry, I know!
Do I have to pay for expert advise? Here is the question with background. Why would a chicken approach another and peck the beak?
Background to this picture:
I put the two chicks out in the grass. They finally started cheeping and pecking. Lucy ran faster than Thelma to inspect them. Lucy got much closer than Thelma. Finally, Thelma just walked away with a few clucks. Lucy walked closer to the chicks. Finally, Lucy ran to Thelma who was standing and waiting. Finally, Thelma and Lucy ran toward each other. Then, Lucy stood very still while Thelma pecked the very end of her beak. Thelma pecked from different directions but was always pecking very gently on the tip of the beak.
You can see Thelma is stretching to reach Lucy. Lucy is submitting but pulling back.
Here's what I think was happening. I think Thelma is Alpha hen. Thelma was telling Lucy to come. When Lucy did not, Thelma admonished Lucy closely and made her submit to beak pecking.
Your turn
What do you think is happening?


  1. They establish "pecking" order. You need to teach them you are really their alpha. Get a spray bottle of water and shoot a quick spray at the one who is pecking when she starts. It may take a dozen times but she will get the message. this also works when you are introducing new chicks to a flock.

  2. This was not anything harsh she was doing to Lucy. Thanks for that bit of advice. Mostly, I see bullying when I am too far to spray. They do stop when I make a ruckus or throw a pinecone in their direction. I am having so much trouble with the little chicks. The larger one has all the fuzz gone from his head. it looks as though there are only the shafts of the feathers left. I am going to take the lamp out of their box and let it shine on the outside of the box so they cannot do this all night long.

    The little one that I bathed is obviously terrorizing the larger chick!

    Thanks for the spray bottle advice.


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