Buying Older Chickens


In the Brooder
11 Years
Sep 21, 2008
Raleigh, NC
Here it is fall and my husband is finally finishing the chicken house we've talked about since early spring.

I've been warned about getting chickens past the chick stage
....they won't be as friendly and eager to be picked up, etc...

I doubt that I can find refugees from a children's museum or petting farm where chickens are used to being handled so my question is.....
What's your experience on getting older chickens

(I am so excited about getting my hens!!!
I've bought several hens that were already laying or laying age. They are timid but with treats, scraps and offering things by hand they really have tamed up to me pretty well. We're working still on getting them tamer, but they've already made huge strides. My RIRs were raised here and happily take treats from me all the time so that could have influenced some of the surrounding pens of hens to accept my treats, but eventually their curriousity wins them over.
I adopted my first three hens from a shelter. While they never were cuddlers, I found them to be really nice. Of course, each had their own personality. I suppose if I had continually worked with them, they would have become lap sitters. But, as far as being mean, none of them ever were.
The breeds I got were a dark cornish hen, a black silkie, and a bantam partridge rock.
Thanks SGM and Mudhen! I appreciate your reply.

If I can win them over with treats all will be well. I've got lots of "slops" as my mama called them.
I'm worried because I had a couple of bad experiences with roosters when I was younger. I want "nice" chickens" that don't attack me and at least ACT happy to see me.
i just got 4 roo's this week, 3 were 9 month olds, and 1 is a couple years i would say,,1 dont like being touched, 1 loves it but dont want to be caught, 1 loves being caught and touched,,,,,,and 1 was dinner hehe

ive gotten chickens of all ages,,and to me, the chicks hate being "cuddled" more then the grown ups ,, it just takes a while for them to trust ya.
i "play, touch,hang upside down,, all my new arrivals,, just to see how they act,, then,, i dont try touching them for a while,, i sit next to em and talk, they even get REAL close and i wont touch them,, and when i finally do, it 1 touch and i let them know how good they are,, and within 2 or 3 months,, their just like my others.
I got 10 RIRs 2 1/2 weeks ago an they are all a little iffy when it come tome but they are all definetly warming up to me. 2 willlet me pick them up already. I think that it just takes time for them to warm up to you but I also think you would need to spend as much time with a chick then you would with an older hen.
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We purchased our hens when they were either already laying or just about to, and it has been a little over a month, but a few of them are friendly with us, some are still skittish. They ALL let us pet them when they are on their roost at night though. I think it is just a matter of them getting used to their new home.

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