Chickens have very quirky personalities and most love being around people (mainly because they know we feed them).
Most chicken owners will be chased by their chickens at some point, but is this due to aggression or is it just because they want to get to you as quickly as possible?
As keepers of chickens who are free-range and free to run up to a human when they see one, hardly a day goes by where they don’t come dashing over when we come out of the house. Over time we’ve got to know the difference between aggression and chickens who’re after their dinner.
Chickens can chase you for three main reasons which are; they’re hungry and they think you have food, they like to be around you or they’re chasing you as an act of aggression because they’re top chicken and they think you’re a threat to the flock.
Read on to find out more about why chickens might be chasing you, what it means and how to prevent signs of aggression towards humans.
Reasons why your chickens might be chasing you
Being chased by a chicken, especially when it’s a rooster can be pretty scary, but it’s not always the case that a chicken is chasing you because they’re being aggressive.
People who aren’t used to chickens can become pretty scared when a group of them come bounding up to them and it can be particularly daunting if it’s a small child.
So, let’s find out more about why chickens could be chasing you and how you can deal with it:
1- Chickens chasing you for food
If your chickens are allowed to free-range around your property, then chances are they’ll come bounding up to you when you go outside because they’re looking to see if you’ve got any food for them.
Chickens are eating machines and will graze throughout the day as well as their normal feed, but if you sometimes come out with a cup of corn or an extra treat of veggies, they’ll associate seeing you with food.
This doesn’t mean you’re not feeding them enough, as long as they’re getting fed regularly with a good chicken feed and they’re a good weight they will be getting enough food.
We feed our chicken layers pellets in the morning when they come out of the coop and again in the evening before they roost. As well as this they’re grazing for natural foods throughout the day and they get a cup of corn and grain mix in the late afternoon.
Even with all this food they will still come dashing up to us as if they’ve never been fed!
If your chickens are following you everywhere for food, there’s not really much cause for concern although it can be annoying when they get under your feet.
This article was first published on November 20, 2020 by Pentagon-Pets.
By throwing a handful of feed when you pass, this will keep them occupied and out of the way.
Having your chickens following you in a non-aggressive manner can actually be a good thing if you want to get them back into the run for some reason. The article explains how you can use this to your advantage:
2- Chickens who are attached to their owners
Sometimes chickens come running up to people because they’re nosy or because they just enjoy human contact.
It’s easy for people to misinterpret a chicken running up to them as an act of aggression, especially because chickens tend to do things as a group and they can run pretty fast when they want to.
Some chickens actually prefer human contact to other chickens, in the past I had a chicken who ditched the flock to become a human and she used to come running at me every time I went outside.
It can become a bit frustrating when you’re trying to get things done or you’re just trying to get in the car through a gang of chickens, but it’s also part of their endearing natures.
Chickens do have amazing personalities and this is why we keep them, being harassed by a group of non-aggressive chickens isn’t too much of a problem if people understand that they’re not trying to hurt you.
Chickens will often chase after people more if they run away from them which can lead to someone who’s scared of chickens becoming more frightened if they speed up.
The best thing to do in this scenario is to stay calm which will lead to calmer chickens.
Pentagon Pet is the owner of this article that was first published on November 20, 2020.
3. Aggressive chickens and roosters chasing you
So we’ve covered the nicer reasons why chickens might chase you first, now it’s on to chickens (mainly roosters) who’re chasing you as an act of aggression and with intent to scratch or peck.
It’s unusual for a hen to chase people unless you’re unlucky enough to get a very feisty one at the top of the pecking order who sees you as a threat to their position or to the flock.
In general, hens will have a much more placid nature than a rooster, although this will depend on the chicken and the breed.
This statement may be a bit unfair to roosters because many of them are fairly placid and won’t chase anyone unless provoked, but if you have a rooster who does go after people it can make life very difficult if they’re free-range.
Roosters are very territorial and it’s in their nature to protect their hens from danger along with other roosters who might be a threat to their position as top bird.
We have a rooster who has tried to chase almost everyone who comes in his path and particularly my husband who he sees as his biggest threat. We’ve been working on this issue by doing the following things which you might find helpful if you have an aggressive bird:
- Walk past the bird in a calm manner which doesn’t show treat or alarm.
- Hold out a coat or large sack if the bird tries to attack – this makes you look scarier and prevents pecking.
- Pick up the bird (making sure you have no bare skin) and keep hold of it gently – this shows dominance and that you’re in charge, not the chicken.
- Spend more time with the bird to get them used to you being around and the fact you’re not a threat.
- If the situation escalates place the bird into solitary confinement for a while which can help to prevent further aggression.
If people are panicky or start running near a rooster this will often make them react more than if you walk past them calmly. This is why roosters often chase small children and also dogs.
Sometimes being calm is easier said than done, but I do find this approach works well when dealing with an aggressive bird because it prevents them from getting flighty and it also shows that you’re not scared.
I hope this post has helped you to find out more about why chickens chase you. You might also find the following related post helpful too:
Our recommended coop
Chicken coop for different flock sizes and different weather.
This article and its contents are owned by Pentagon Pets and was first published on November 20, 2020.