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My hen understood I was angry? They usually run away, but sometimes submit–how do I get them to submit?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

My chickens will eat out of my hand, but usually run away when I extend an arm towards them to try to pick them up. Yesterday, however, one hopped a fence and started digging through my garden. I was angry, and marched outside to chase her out of there. Much to my surprise, she seemed to pick up on my anger, and rather than running away, she bowed her head and spread her wings a little bit, much like I've seen chickens lower on the pecking order do for other chickens (generally before being repeatedly pecked). I bent over and picked her up without a chase, flinch, or even a squawk, and carried her back to the run.

 

I wouldn't have guessed that chickens could "read my emotions", but I can't think of any other explanation. They have a very obvious body language with each other, but I don't have a neck to puff up or wings to push downwards to signal my mood. Are there any chicken whisperers out there who have learned what sort of body language chickens can pick up on? ...or do y'all think this was just a coincidence?

post #2 of 6
Edited because I read it wrong. Agreed that it was a submissive squat, not reading your emotions.
Edited by oldhenlikesdogs - 2/29/16 at 2:58pm
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
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Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #3 of 6
She did not know you were mad. She was squatting, they do that when they think a rooster is there.
post #4 of 6

Yes, submissive squat.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #5 of 6
It was a submissive squat, yes, but in my opinion, it's possible that she picked up on the assertiveness and purposefulness in your body language and that's why she decided to submit. Chickens do seem to respond to confidence and assertiveness, even if they don't understand anger.
Edited by Amina - 3/2/16 at 6:28pm
post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amina View Post

It was a submissive squat, yes, but in my opinion, it's possible that she picked up on the assertiveness and purposefulness in your body language and that's why she decided to submit. Chickens do seem to respond to confidence and assertiveness, even if they don't understand anger.

I agree. @adamdport  mentions that they don't squat when he reaches out in the run area.

It was a submissive squat, but the chicken also knew the 'head chicken' was angry.

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