Getting chickens to gain trust? Help

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sebloc, Aug 31, 2016.

  1. sebloc

    sebloc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello

    We have 6 chickens that we got at the age of 2 weeks. All of them have major trust issues. When we need to pick them up, it's a challenge of chasing them around in order to get ahold of them. When we try to extend a hand to feed or pet them, they automatically back away or run away. They're afraid of us, though we can't figure out why. It's been this way since we got them. We feed them food from our hands, give them some garden worms once and a while to gain trust but nothing's working. We can't even hold them on our laps if you wanted to. Any suggestions would be gladly accepted. If we needed to grab one that got hurt for some reason, we're worried they would hurt themselves even more trying to run from us. I want to be able to at least pick them up and hold them in my arms if needed.

    We can hand feed them, but not much more. We've tried to handle them around the age of 2 weeks and up, but they were always afraid of us no matter what. No matter how many times we tried to grab them, they constantly were afraid of us. :(

    I see all these pictures of people holding their chickens in their arms, and I'm like, "how?"
    I know it sounds stupid, but it's an issue that's been bothering me. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
  2. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Chickens are prey animals. It's their instinct to run away from things that chase and grab them. The more you chase and try to catch them, the more afraid they're going to be. If you want to gain their trust, it's going to take time, and even then they may not want to sit on your lap. By nature, most chickens aren't cuddly pets. If you want to try to tame them, you might want to try just sitting quietly among them until they get used to your presence. Then you might try throwing food out for them, at a distance at first, gradually bringing it closer and closer to you. I'm talking a period of days here, not hours. In the mean time, if you need to catch one you think might be injured, wait until it goes to roost at night. If you are concerned about an immediate need, you might want to be sure you have a large fishing net on hand. At least this is what I would do if it were my flock. My chickens aren't pets, so I don't try to catch them.
     
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  3. ChickenChaser9

    ChickenChaser9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I found that this is the key. Just go sit with them and they will eventually come over and investigate you. Feed them treats and talk to them. They will still run from you trying to catch them as its instinctual for baby chicks to flee from anything that looks like giant grasping doom from above as that what keeps them safe from aerial predators but as they grow up your continued time spent amongst them will teach them that you are not a source of danger. Just don't expect it to happen over night.
     
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  4. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Since you mention you've already been handing them food and treats by hand, I guess I'll ask how often you do that and if you do it consistently? I hand out mealworms (my girls favorite treat) twice a day and they only get them directly from my hand and while being held or touched, so they're used to that routine and expect it when they see me.

    Also how do you try to pick them up? I assume you've been chasing them and trying to grab them from above? Have you tried crouching down, luring them in with treats and then touching them that way? A crouching human is less scary than a tall, standing one.

    It's really patience and persistence. Even then not all of them will want to be best friends with you. I have one that follows me around and sits on my boots and another who takes her treats and obligatory pats and then runs away.
     
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  5. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    I never handle my birds other than for a reason too have to pick them up...They are great the way they are...Just enjoy them...I sure do...
     
  6. sebloc

    sebloc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Listen, It's not that I want to pet them or pick them up, I just want them to have an extra layer of trust in case I need to. Once I day with food, 4 times a week with treats. Thanks.

    Thanks for making this my 200th post :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
  7. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    Sorry....I think your expecting too much from your Chickens?
    I have to chase and catch mine too...
    Unless handled lots from a Chick? They are flighty and act like Chickens....

    Sorry to not of been the answer your looking for.....
     
  8. ChickenChaser9

    ChickenChaser9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Jersey Giants are NOT flighty. We have not had to "chase" them for over month if not two months. They run up to us, not away from us. The only one who keeps his distance is my Rooster and he as always been an independent fella.
     
  9. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You could try increasing the number of times you hand out treats/food (don't have to hand out more overall, just do it more frequently). Since you're not looking to handle them as pets then your goal is really to just have them not run away as much, so if you always have a little something to give them, they'll start coming to you instead of running away, since they'll want their snacks.
     
  10. ceceuu

    ceceuu Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have two stumps in my chicken run. I just go out there and sit and watch. My chickens come up and investigatè. How old are your chickens? I've found they tend to become much tamer and more sociable when they start to lay eggs. Also, some breeds are more friendly and tolerate touch more than others. Sitting quietly watching them play is a great pass time and will help them get used to you. My chickens get their scratch in the afternoon so when I appear they think I'm the bringer of good things.... food, treat, or to let them out to play. I l9vd to just sit and watch them. Folks on this forum call it "chicken TV."
     
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