Can you train chickens to NOT peck you so hard?

Debutante

Songster
9 Years
Feb 24, 2011
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This may seem like an idiotic question but my almost 5-week-old pullets (mostly, I hope) have started pecking our hands quite hard. This is not a big deal for me but it is frightening and painful for my little grandchildren. We want these hens to be "pets" and I don't believe they're being malicious, they just don't realize their own strength. :) Can chickens be trained like dogs and horses to stop being "mouthy" or rough?
Also, could this be a sign of cockerels in our midst? One (a Buff Orpington) is especially large and much fiercer than the rest.

Thank you in advance for your comments or suggestions!
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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I personally don't allow such behaviors nor to I hand feed, I scatter all treats. I think you can have either one way or the other, and it would be impossible to teach them to peck lightly.
 

Debutante

Songster
9 Years
Feb 24, 2011
74
52
152
I personally don't allow such behaviors nor to I hand feed, I scatter all treats. I think you can have either one way or the other, and it would be impossible to teach them to peck lightly.
Yes, I agree! We NEVER hand feed them anything and they don't get treats yet. The kids just like to hold them on their lap and pet them. Mainly, the chicks just peck at their freckles or at anything that seems "new and exciting". Like you, I'm not willing to tolerate any bad behaviours in chickens or my other animals!
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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That's the main reason I don't over handle my chickens because they will peck at you. I had some last year that got too friendly and started pecking my hands for stuff, one got hit on the head when I got startled and dropped my feed scoop on it, and another I ended up kicking slightly because it kept getting in front of me. Both stopped after my accidental corrections.

Chickens can peck at eyes so your kids need to be very careful, some members have learned the hard way about that.
 

Debutante

Songster
9 Years
Feb 24, 2011
74
52
152
That's the main reason I don't over handle my chickens because they will peck at you. I had some last year that got too friendly and started pecking my hands for stuff, one got hit on the head when I got startled and dropped my feed scoop on it, and another I ended up kicking slightly because it kept getting in front of me. Both stopped after my accidental corrections.

Chickens can peck at eyes so your kids need to be very careful, some members have learned the hard way about that.

YIKES!!! I'd hate to think about getting an eyeball pecked by a chicken! That'd be a whole new level of "BAD"! Thank you for the heads up. I think our chicken-cuddling days are over. :) I'll switch to letting the kids scatter treats around their pen, when the time comes.
 

ChickenCowboy02

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YIKES!!! I'd hate to think about getting an eyeball pecked by a chicken! That'd be a whole new level of "BAD"! Thank you for the heads up. I think our chicken-cuddling days are over. :) I'll switch to letting the kids scatter treats around their pen, when the time comes.
You don't have too stop just keep them away from eyes;)
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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YIKES!!! I'd hate to think about getting an eyeball pecked by a chicken! That'd be a whole new level of "BAD"! Thank you for the heads up. I think our chicken-cuddling days are over. :) I'll switch to letting the kids scatter treats around their pen, when the time comes.
All the handling up to this point will ensure they remain friendly birds that are nice pets that should follow your kids around and come running for treats.
 

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