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Whats it going to take?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone! Four days ago we got our first 8 hens ever.  We are very new to raising chickens but are excited to have them.  The owner of our local nursery is a life long friend and set us up with 3 partridge rocks, 1 speckled sussex and 4 wyandottes who are all around 6-7 weeks old already.  We really want to get these girls as friendly as possible and yes we can be patient but, I'd like to get the right info from the start before doing something we shouldn't.  We visit them in the coop about 4 times a day for 30-40 mins at a time.  We sit with them, talk to them and in morning and/or evening we give them a few dried meal worms as a treat.  In only a couple days they are already familiar with us being the 'treat people' and definitely come sneaking near us looking for treats, but any movement and they freak out and run away as fast as possible.  If we stay calm and move very slow, they'll even eat the treats right from our hand.  Can you guys give us some experienced info on how we go about working with them to the point where we can reach down and pick them up and enjoy them?  Like I said, I'm aware its going to take time and I'm ready for that, I just want to approach in in the right manner.  We didn't get hens that were quite as young as I'd liked but these girls are prefect and already part of the family. :)

post #2 of 3

Wish I could help you.  I've never had hens I could reach down and pick up.  However, they are still friendly and fun girls.  Mine used to free range every day.  One used to come to my side of the car when we got home.  She'd tell me all about what had happened while we were gone.  Then she'd run over to Gary's side of the car as he always was out last and have to retell all her stories all over again.  It was so funny to listen to her.  None ever wanted to be pet.  They will, like yours, eat treats out of my hand, but run away if I reach down to try to touch them.  They do come when they are called which is good if they are out and I need to lock them in.  Since they were babies I've always said "here, chicky, chicky" every time I feed them.  They remember that and come running.  

post #3 of 3

In their natural environment chickens instinctive look out for the danger of hawks and other birds of prey swooping in from above to attack them, so anything reaching for them from above them will scare them. As they grow older and more familiar with you and your behaviour around them, they should calm down some and not be so jumpy with you. It will take a bit more time though. Giving them treats and spending time with them is a great and effective taming method, so keep that up! And give them time. I have a hen here that I bought at point-of-lay and whenever I reach for her she squats for me! Other hens I've had would duck and dive though. It comes down to instinct and their individual personalities. 

 

“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 

 

~ Shel Silverstein
 

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“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” 

 

~ Shel Silverstein
 

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