Why Are Chickens Aggressive? How to Deal with Hostile Hens?

Years of poultry breeding selection have significantly shaped the temperament of the varieties available today. Some species are, unfortunately, more violent compared to others. Of course, it is prudent to choose a chicken breed with a pleasant disposition to other birds and humans.

After all, it is worth not taking a risk, especially if you have young children in the vicinity. However, if you insist on keeping aggressive chickens, ensure they are segregated safely to prevent ugly incidents. Keep reading as we define the main reasons behind chicken’s aggressive traits.

Why are Chickens Aggressive?

Keeping chickens may sound all fun and exciting until they turn on each other. For various reasons, lovely birds can just become feisty to the agony of the farmer. If you want to trim down the tyranny caused by such birds, it is vital to understand the triggers and how to go about it.

– Pecking Order

Chickens have a solid structure built on dominance. Similar to animal packs in the wild, they declare dominion by attacking the fragile birds. To sustain the top best position, chickens often create a pecking order amongst themselves. Usually, the ranks get determined depending on personality, age, or individual bird’s ambition.

– Stress

Poultry easily sticks to customs and routines. Therefore, if you happen to change their regular schedules, they are likely to become unhappy. Such behavior may start with the bird being excessively quiet or a decline in egg production.

Later, your feathered friends become worked up with aggression, thanks to the changes. Sometimes you may only notice this habit on one bird while others remain relatively calm.

– Overcrowding

Perhaps this is the biggest reason to chicken fighting each other. Most definitely, no birds appreciate squeezing in tiny spaces. For this reason, they may intensively increase the pecking order as they battle for control. In addition, they may fight over sleeping quarters and food.

– Sign of Sickness

In their natural habitat, fowls have an innate capability of detecting when one has a contagious ailment. As a precaution, the healthy birds may attack the sickly ones or chase them away to prevent them from spreading the disease.

– Fright

Like other animal kingdoms, you have to be the fittest or healthiest to receive the most favors in the chicken world. When seeking refuge from predators, chickens often sacrifice the weakest or most vulnerable in the flock.

Thus, they may attack or peck a particular bird to pulp and make them an easy target when an intruder strikes. In the long run, healthy and most robust birds stay safe while the weak find it rough.

– Boredom

A feeling of boredom revolves around lack of interest, nervousness, fatigue, jittery, or frustration. Birds also experience the same sensation and display aggressive traits as they try to relieve boredom. The tendency may worsen when chickens get kept indoors for long durations or during winter.

Are Chickens Aggressive to Humans?

Poultry rarely becomes hostile towards humans. However, remember that they are prey creatures at the bottom of the food chain. Therefore, if they feel that a human being is more of a predator, they may become violent.

Given that roosters are the head of a flock, they may appear more aggressive to protect others. That said, here are some reasons why exhibit aggressive traits towards you or others in the yard.

– Violent Species

Although aggressiveness differs from one bird to another, some breeds are more hostile compared to others. For instance, Rhode Island Reds are classified as one of the most aggressive chicken species.

Still, you can find docile and calm roosters in your flock. With this knowledge, it doesn’t harm to inquire from an expert on the typical behavior of certain birds before bringing them home.

– Broody/Breeding Hens

Instinctively, broody hens attack anyone or anything that comes close to their eggs. This is just a usual way of protecting their lineage from predators. Bear in mind that they may become even more hostile when the chicks come.

What to do With Aggressive Hen?

As mentioned above, your girls may turn on you if they are sitting on eggs or have chicks around. However, as the chicks grow older, they may slow down and relax a bit. If the aggression becomes a nuisance and affects the wellbeing of other flock members, consider isolating them.

If need be, you can pick them for home cooking or commercial marketing. This process is referred to as culling.

Most Peaceful Chicken Breeds

There are various reasons why farmers keep chickens. While some want a steady supply of eggs, others prefer the option of ready sumptuous meat. To some extent, some individuals invest in chicken breeding for the gratification and sense of fulfillment it brings.

All in all, your success depends on whether the birds coexist peacefully. Some of the kindest and calmest birds include Cochin, Jersey Giant, Cornish, Orpington, Brahma, Plymouth Rock, Sussex, and Dorking. You can also try your luck on Australorps, Houdan, Crevecoeur, Maran, Wyandotte, Sultan, Polish, and Dominique.

Most Aggressive Chicken Breeds

Even if selective breeding removed aggressiveness from chickens, some breeds still possess it. It might not be as intense as wild birds, but it can cause harm. Keep in mind that there is no definitive list of aggressive chicken breeds because several factors contribute to it. We are not even saying that you should not raise chickens classified as aggressive.

Nonetheless, novice keepers need to consider the challenges of raising insistent chickens. For newcomers in the chicken industry, you may notice mild to extreme violent species. Most unfriendly chickens include Asil, Cornish, Sumatra, Buckeye, Faverolles, Cubalaya, Old English game, and Modern game.

Bottom Line

It is worth pointing out that aggressiveness in chickens is either behaviorally, hormonal, instinctive, or genetically reinforced. Even if roosters are the main culprits, rarely would you find them fighting if there are no hens in your flock.

All told, the easiest way to stop chickens from fighting is separating them. This is doable with two roosters, but it can be a huddle if several birds engage in a brawl. If worse gets to worst, cull most stubborn chickens.  Above all, please find out the main reasons behind the mean behavior and solve them amicably.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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