Damaged Chickens!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by p23rodriguez, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. p23rodriguez

    p23rodriguez Hatching

    Jul 26, 2012
    Hey guys,

    So I managed to start my flock with 4 pullets. Brought them home and setup up a tiny run and hutch. (from Tractor Supply) We've had them for about 6 weeks now and I've stupidly managed to chase them around the yard (31 year old male here) because I was giddy about having backyard chickens and wanted to get a hen so the kids (two of them) could feed them from their hands. Well, now my chickens are psychologically damaged and are terrified of me. I'll accept any bashing on my stupidity and I genuinely feel really bad. I want my little chickies to be very comfortable being around me. I'm thinking this should revolve around food, but I'm a little lost on how to rebuild my relationship with these little yard ornaments. Again, you guys can lay into me about how dumb it was to chase them, but please help me rebuild my relationship with my girls!

  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    NOT the end of world.... chickens really are not all that smart, and have no pysch to be damaged.

    Sit out near them, maybe outside of the run and just watch them. Depending on how old your children are, have them sit quietly with you, maybe read to them. If you don't do anything wild, they will calm down too. A flock or a herd, picks up on the vibes around them.

    If you have to round them up, take a long stick, position yourself so that the chickens are closer to the house, they will naturally move away from you, but you don't want them to run or be wild or excited. People often want to hurry, thinking the faster you do it, the better it will work. Just stand still as they move away, when they stop, take a slow step or two toward them, and again they will calmly move toward the door. Again stop, until they stop, reach out with the stick and just tap the ground in front of any chicken going the wrong way, again, just a little tap on the ground in front of her, she will turn and follow the flock in. I myself, call "hut, hut hut..." but not real loud and not wildly. If you place feed in the bowl, fairly close to the door, the first ones will find it, and the rest will follow.

    It is always a good idea, to call, "Here chickchickchick" when you bring them food. After they calm down and after you have done this for a week, they will be glad to see you, but you may not be able to feed them out of your hand. At this point, put the feed bowl a little close to your chair, not real close, say 5 feet. Pour the feed in it and let them start eating, and then sit down, they will probably move away, but they will want that feed, and if you sit quietly, talking a bit but quietly, they will over come that, and eat the food. The next day move the bowl a little closer, and the next day right next to the chair.

    The more you are with them, the more they will get used to you. They are a prey animal so wild motion will upset them, loud yelling will upset them. But they will calm down if you are patient.

    Mrs K
  3. p23rodriguez

    p23rodriguez Hatching

    Jul 26, 2012
    Thank you! I'm definitely going to take it easy with them and hopefully things will get much better. Thanks!
  4. appps

    appps Crowing

    Aug 29, 2012
    I'd just get some scratch mix or such that you can throw handfuls of to them to encourage them to associate you with food.

    Once they know you mean food and are expecting a treat to be thrown I'd just sit and each time throw it a little closer to you until they are around your feet eating. The next step then is just keep some and hold it out in your hand.

    You could also get in the habit of just sitting with them to have a morning or afternoon cuppa so they learn you won't chase them and they can stop being on edge around you.

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