"Be friendly" training

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by matthewschickens, May 7, 2011.

  1. After many years of chicken keeping, you'd think I already know the answer to this question.

    Today at a farm show I got some Silkies and a Serama. On two of the Silkies and the Serama it doesn't look like the former owner was always nice to them, so they're missing a few feathers and a lot more skittish. Does anyone have some tips on how to train them to be more friendly? I have trained my older birds to be relatively friendly but I really want these guys to be friendlier than the other flock.

    Thank you.

  2. GiddyMoon

    GiddyMoon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    Tucson, AZ
    I am new but I think you know...food, food, food...and pray [​IMG]
  3. TeamChaos

    TeamChaos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 8, 2009
    I think giving them space and respecting their boundaries. Offer treats and be patient with them- it's easy to want to scoop them up and think that you're going to teach them that you're nice, but until they are open to the possibility of trusting you, everything is terrifying.
  4. KlaHaYa Gardens

    KlaHaYa Gardens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2011
    Kindness and consistency.

    If you want the birds to be friendly enough to eat from your hand or follow you around, feed them.

    Like this:

    Throw food about you where they are, but at a distance where they feel comfortable to eat. This will vary depending upon whether you have them caged or loose.

    You can eventually throw the food closer and closer to you.

    Ultimately, you can offer food from your hand, and they must eat it from your hand if they are hungry.

    If you do this, don't EVER give the bird a reason to mistrust you. Don't do some sneaky thing when the bird finally trusts you.

    Also, some birds are naturally flighty than others and always will be. Some are more docile than others, and always will be.
  5. Pele

    Pele Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2011
    Aw, I'm glad that you were able to give them a better home! It's good that you have an established flock that already has learned not to fear you, it'll go a loooong way towards training the skittishness out of your new additions. Chickens are deeply social, and just like a person they'll feel silly if they're bolting and everyone else is calm and collected. They'll note the lack of panic and learn that you're not Godzilla, and they arn't Tokoyo.

    Oh, and food! Chickens will forgive anything for food! Lots of treats, and I personally like to sit and let them gather around me. They feel a lot safer when you're not towering over them (activates their 'hawk! run!' instincts).
  6. Want Less

    Want Less Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2010
    New Bern, NC
    I'd give them plenty of space (I swear chickens are claustrophobic when people enter the picture!) and lots of patience. Treats always help too :)
  7. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    Another thing I noticed was that my hens were much friendlier when I spent time with them. When they were pretty new I'd sit in a chair down by the chicken coop and watch them and they'd jump on my lap, whatever. Now I pretty much never take the time to hang with them, just open them, close them, talk to them when I run out the door and they're nearby, and it's a lot harder for me to catch them now when I need to. But, when I go outside and they're nearby they pretty much always come running up to me even still (not close enough to catch tho), and I've had times when I was walking down the driveway to get the mail, and I hear pitter patter behind me, and there they all are, following me like a dog - then I have to turn around and take them back home, give them a treat so I can escape to the end of the driveway where the mailbox is - ha.
    Last edited: May 8, 2011

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