Chickens are great fun to keep. However, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Keeping chickens does come with its fair share of hazards. Even from your chickens themselves. That’s right; they can learn to love to peck their keepers! But why do they do this, and how can you prevent it? Let’s find out!
So, how do you stop chickens from pecking you? You can stop chickens from pecking you by providing distractions and making slow and steady movements when interacting with them. Wearing gloves is a great natural defense from pecking, too.
Every situation is different, so it may take time to figure out what works for you.
Nevertheless, you’re in the right place if you’re wondering how to stop chickens from pecking you!
We will explore all, so keep reading!
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Why Are My Chickens Pecking At Me?
Chickens typically peck at their owners as a means of communication, an attempt to establish dominance, or they may simply be exploring you and your movements.
Some chickens could be aggressive, especially those raised solely by humans, without much contact with other chickens.
Chickens also peck if they are bored or lacking stimulation out of curiosity as part of their natural play behavior.
If you notice your chickens pecking at you, it is essential to identify the cause and take steps to discourage the behavior.
Understanding why they’re pecking may also help you choose the best method of eradicating the behavior.
How Do I Stop My Chickens From Pecking Me?
Experiencing consistent pecking behavior from your chickens can be discouraging, and it interrupts your daily life and chores and limits the ways in which you can interact with them.
Chicken owners can try various ways to stop chickens from pecking when trying to feed them or collect eggs.
Here are a few options.
Wearing gloves when handling chickens can be a great way to prevent them from pecking your hands.
Not only can gloves keep your hands clean, but proper farm gloves will add a thick layer of protection while allowing you to handle your chickens carefully and efficiently.
Avoid Reaching Out
If your chickens are used to being fed by hand, they may become accustomed to reaching out for food when they see your hands.
Avoid feeding your chickens by hand, and get them used to eating directly from their feeder or the ground.
Discourage anyone else who interacts with your chickens regularly to refrain from hand-feeding them.
Ignore The Behavior
Chickens peck for various reasons, and it can be a form of communication or exploration for them.
If you want to stop the behavior, you can ignore it and resist giving the behavior any positive or negative attention.
It’s entirely possible that your chickens will become bored with pecking you and move on to the next exciting thing.
Speaking of boredom, sometimes a chicken prone to pecking is a bored chicken.
Give your chickens plenty of toys and other distracting items to keep them entertained and occupied away from you.
Place these objects around the yard or coop so the chickens don’t need to attack you sheerly for their entertainment.
Move Slow and Steady
If you need to move around a chicken, do so slowly and calmly without making any sudden movements or noises that might startle them.
Moving too quickly around chickens may cause them to panic and peck at you in defense.
Above all, it’s crucial to gain insight and education regarding chickens and why they act in specific ways.
Keeping any animal as a pet requires knowledge, and chickens are no exception to that rule.
Knowing the possible reasons for the constant pecking will give you a better chance of eliminating the behavior and living in peace with your chickens.
Suggestions To Stop Chickens From Pecking
In addition to the suggestions listed above, there are other options for stopping chickens from pecking you, including the following.
Provide a safe, secure space for chickens to roam and explore, as this will help them feel comfortable interacting with the humans who come in and out of their enclosure.
That feeling of security will likely result in less pecking.
Food and Water
Give your chickens plenty of food and water to keep them from being hungry or thirsty and displaying pecking behavior.
It’s natural for them to chase the source of food and water when they aren’t getting enough.
Be Aware of Handling Times
Avoid handling chickens when they are sleeping or resting.
Waking them up or startling them will absolutely result in a peck or two, and unintentionally bothering chickens is a common reason that owners experience recurrent pecking.
Give chickens plenty of toys, perches, and other items to keep them entertained and distracted.
You can also encourage chickens to forage for their food by offering them a variety of snacks in different locations around the coop or yard.
When they have something else to do, they’ll lose interest in pecking you.
Use a deterrent spray or device to discourage chickens from attacking you or getting too close.
Be sure to use these devices responsibly, and according to manufacturer instructions, so you don’t cause harm to your chickens or yourself.
The route you take depends on the aggression level of your chickens’ pecking behavior. It may also help you consult a veterinarian to get a professional opinion!
Tips For Keeping Happy Chickens
Regardless of how often or why your chickens peck you, there are things every current and potential chicken owners should know for keeping happy chickens!
Provide A Secure Coop
Provide a secure coop and run for your chickens.
Ensure that the pen is well-ventilated and predator-proof and that the chickens have plenty of room to move around.
Access To Fresh Water
Give your chickens access to plenty of fresh water, and make sure it is kept clean and refilled regularly.
You can also offer a variety of healthy treats, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, mealworms, and other high-protein options.
Space To Roam
Make sure your chickens have plenty of space to exercise and roam around.
Allowing them to free-range can give them plenty of movement while decreasing stress levels and helping to keep them happy.
Supply Enough Bedding
Supply your chickens with bedding material such as straw or wood chips in their coop.
This can help keep them warm in the winter months, as well as provide a comfortable place for them to lay eggs.
Monitor Your Flocks Health
Keep an eye on the health of your chickens by regularly checking their feathers and feet for any signs of mites or parasites.
Contact your veterinarian to receive the proper treatment for your flock if necessary.
Give Enough Attention
Spend time interacting with your chickens by providing them with attention and affection.
Playing with them and talking to them can create a healthy environment that will keep them happy.
Preventing Pecking Behavior
Keeping your chickens from pecking you is crucial for both your safety and the safety of your chickens.
By providing a routine for your chickens, healthy, stimulating activities, and limiting stressful conditions, you can ensure that your chickens stay happy and are less likely to peck at you.
If your chickens do peck at you, it’s essential to identify the root cause and address it so that the behavior doesn’t continue.
Once you figure out the reasons for the pecking, you’ll find chicken ownership is fun, rewarding, and fulfilling!
Other related chicken guide you may want to read:
I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets, from traditional pets like dogs and cats, to the more exotic like reptiles and rodents. I currently own a Cockapoo (pictured) called Bailey. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site dedicated to sharing evidence-based insights and guidance, based on my vast pet ownership knowledge, experience, and extensive research.