Can't catch my shy birds...so I gave up

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by DazeGoneBy, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. DazeGoneBy

    DazeGoneBy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We are new chicken owners, and have a small backyard coop.

    I like to free range our 3 hens for a few hours around the side of my house, but getting them out of the pen is an issue. I've only got 3 birds, and the oldest has always been very sweet and easily handled. The other two think I am so very, very scary. They will come to eat out of my hand, but otherwise run from me. So, catching them to bring the around for grassy-ranging goodness was a pain.

    Then, I read about how they get submissive when they get of egg-laying age, and so rather than continuing to try to pick them up to carry them, I get out the can of dried meal worms, shake them while calling out to the girls, and they RUN after me. It is SO MUCH EASIER this way. They gladly follow, but don't want to be held. So, I found a workable compromise.

    I DO hope that in a few months when they are ready to lay they will let me hold them, but at least one is a snuggler and that is good enough.
     
  2. southerndesert

    southerndesert B & M Chicken Ranch

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    We keep 30 to 40 hens at any one time and there are very few that will let the kids pick them up and most are no way letting that happen....

    We use a fish landing net, a big one with long handle if for some reason we need to handle one which is very rarely. Doesn't hurt them and they calm right down when netted most times.

    Edit cause I can't spell...[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2011
  3. dbounds10

    dbounds10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Fort Worth, Tx
    I have 3 of 6 that wont let me pick them up. 1 is laying but still does not want to be handled. She will follow me where ever I go because they think I have food, but I cant pick them up when they are out in the yard. If I need to check them for mites/lice or check their feet I have to go into the run and corner them in order to pick them up. I think it is important to pick up and check your birds over at least once a month for general health.
     
  4. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Overrun With Chickens

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    Breeds can also play a huge factor in their behavior. Leghorns are not too fond of people and tend to steer clear of them. What breeds do you have? Also, it's much harder to catch a chicken in the open. We don't pick up our chickens unless they are in the coop.
     
  5. mdbokc

    mdbokc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    Yep, breeds are a factor. I have about 15 Golden Comets at present and all are easy to handle. The 6 RIR are the same age, raised the same and only one will easily allow herself to be picked up. The others stay just out of reach.
     
  6. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    I have a few hens that DO NOT want me to ever touch them, and once it came close to laying time, they friendlied right up and now I can pet them anytime.

    One suggestion I have is to allow them to free range about an hour before dusk, and they will go into the coop all on their own, and you won't ever need to chase them.

    And of course, bribing them with treats works instantly too!

    Glad you're getting the hang of things with your little flock!
     
  7. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    You can get them to come right up to you & allow themselves to be picked up easily; take a feed sack or piece of cardboard box into your run, and just sit & be still. Sprinkle some scratch or BOSS or steam-rolled oats or barley...whatever they really like, and sprinkle it around you. If you do this a couple of times a week, before you know it, they'll be hopping up onto your lap. You can put some feed in your hands & hold it out for them, and they'll eat right out of your hand, eventually. I have had individuals in the past fly up to my shoulder when I enter their run, knowing ( or thinking ) I have treats!
     
  8. DazeGoneBy

    DazeGoneBy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The one who lets me, and kids, and perfect strangers come pick her up is the buff orpington.

    We had a dominique who was just as easy to handle, but turned out to be a boy and so had to go (see my avatar).

    We replaced the dominique roo with a hen from the same poultry farm and who was the same age, but she has always been shy.

    The last one is a Delaware who has considered me the abominable snowman since the first week of her life when we got her. This may be because the chicken lady taught us to hold the chickens each of their legs between our fingers and palm cupping/supporting their bodies. The Delaware *always* hated this, but would fly up to hang out with you as long as you didn't restrain her feet/legs. When she pooped on my head, I stopped letting her get up on me.

    So, we have a stalemate!
     

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