Can you influence chicken personalities??

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by LadyHawk_2006, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. LadyHawk_2006

    LadyHawk_2006 In the Brooder

    May 18, 2008
    Savannah, Ga
    Hi everyone. I got my first chicken back in May, an Easter Egger. I work at a wildlife center and someone brought her to me thinking she was a baby hawk [​IMG] , he had found her in his yard being harassed by a cat. I volunteered to take her home and it was immediately evident that she had been hand raised and thought she was a people. So we kept her as a pet, and she was the best pet I ever had! She loved to sit on my lap with her head cuddled under my arm. Sometimes I'd fall asleep on the couch with her nestled on my chest making quiet chicken sounds. Sadly, just this past Monday, she was killed by a hawk in our yard (the only day I didn't put her in when I left the house for 20 minutes! [​IMG] ). I was devastated when I found her, the hawk was still eating her. [​IMG]

    I don't want to feel like I'm replacing her, but eventually I want to have another one, preferably another EE. So my question is, for a chicken to be as loveable and cuddly as she was, would I have to hatch them and imprint them on people? Or will it work if I get day old chicks and handle them a lot?

    Thanks for your help
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2008
  2. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    Chickens are just like every other animal. The more you handle them the friendlier they are. The younger you get them the easier it is to make them friendly. Day olds or hatching yourself shouldn't make a huge difference though. You can tame adult chickens if you feed them treats and handle them a lot. Like all animals they do also have their own personality though. Some will become friendly with minimal handling and some will always be a bit aloof despite handling. It helps to pick a breed that tends to be calmer and friendlier and stay away from the higher strung flightier breeds. EEs are usually good and most bantams are bred to be pretty friendly since they are often kept more for pets than production.

    I would suggest you get at least 2 though. Chickens are social and I don't really agree with keeping a social animal alone even if it has human interaction. They do best with at least one of their own kind and unless it's a rescue situation I would never plan to have only 1.
  3. orcasislandchickens

    orcasislandchickens Songster

    Jul 9, 2008
    I have gotten day olds from the hatchery, and week olds from the feed store, and handled them a lot and gotten the sort of tameness from all of them that you describe. This is a definite instance of you get out what you put in. The chicks may be shy at first but I just handle them anyway. Sooner or later even the shyest and most fearful ones give up and get over being afraid. I just tamed down a couple of flighty 4 week old bantams. It is easier if you have a couple of your pet ones in the house for awhile, you go in and check on them and pick them up more often.

    You hear story after story of a hurt and injured hen becoming a velcro (sticks to you) bird after being brought inside and handled while it heals. I believe that it is not just age, or breed, but exposure and experience that tames them.

    Good luck. I'm glad your first experience with chickens was such a good one. She sounds like she was a very nice hen.
  4. Songster

    Dec 4, 2008
    Carson City, NV
    I'm sorry the hawk ate your friend.

    But the personality you describe is why I ordered Americaunas as I was on another board where people were saying they'd come sit in your lap if you were outside.

    I hope you get more chickens, and I agree that social animals should have at least one of their own kind to talk to.

    Plus it'll be double your fun. And maybe if one sees a hawk coming it can warn the other one.
  5. LadyHawk_2006

    LadyHawk_2006 In the Brooder

    May 18, 2008
    Savannah, Ga
    Oh trust me, we don't need much prompting to get more than one! At first my DH was skeptical about pet chickens, but it took about 2 seconds and he was in love also. I had always planned on getting her a friend, but I only had her for 6 months before she joined the food chain [​IMG] The only comfort I get (if you can call it that) is that it was a wild hawk and not one of the neighborhood cats that would occasionally scale our 6 foot fence!

    She was just so lovable, I wanted to know if it was just her or if others could be like her so easily. I never thought losing her could hurt this bad.
  6. walkswithdog

    walkswithdog Crowing

    Jul 17, 2008
    DC Region
    I took in three black australorp girls about four weeks ago, they were 3 1/2 months old. At a month later they have gone from never fed out of hand to won't quit pestering me. They hated the baby chicks. Yesterday, the lead one attacked a hawk trying to save a chick. Ripped to shreds she still tried to make the hawk leave.

    She's in the kitchen, having earned a shot at survival and a trip to the vet for her bravery. She had 30 stitches. I'm pretty sure by the time she's done in here she's going to be quite tame. She's earned the title Bear, as in momma bear, after her display of bravery. I really hope she makes it.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: