Handling soon to lay pullets...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by pclark17, Feb 9, 2017.

  1. pclark17

    pclark17 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 5, 2017
    Western Kentucky
    I have a small backyard flock of two production RIR's and a barred rock. The BR is incredibly friendly and has been since she was a very young chick. She is always the first to come and see what I am up to when I enter the run, she will eat from my hand, likes to be picked up and doesn't mind being touched by myself or my two young kids. The RIR's are the complete opposite, they are still incredibly skittish around anyone, including me who is in there everyday. All three are 18 weeks old, they have ample room within their coop and a very nice sized run (12x12) that they are in all day. Usually in the afternoons I will let them free range in our fenced in yard for an hour or more with little supervision. I try to make it a point every day to pick each of them up, talk to them, and acknowledge them individually but the RIR's do not seem like they have any interest in being handled for any reason. Is this behavior typical? The three together get along very nicely, seem to have established their order with the BR acting as the Queen of the coop. Just wondering if there is any more that we could be doing to warm them up to human contact where they might show a little more interest in us picking them up rather than playing games of run away every time one of us comes near? Could I expect some of this skittish behavior to lessen once they begin to lay? Any feedback would be appreciated.
  2. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls Reading. Must read more. Premium Member Project Manager

    Jul 31, 2015
    Houston, TX
    My Coop
    Keep handling them daily....would be my guess.
  3. I never handle my Birds unless it's for a specific reason......Your birds sound fine and happy......I have a Speckled Sussex that has never been handled and she follows me all over the place and chats away to me.......Some are more Docile and some really do not want to be bothered with......

  4. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    Not all chickens like being picked up or handed so they may never be completely ok with it no matter how much you handle them. I did handle my birds frequently as they were growing up, picking them up twice a day, but right from the start one of them didn't like it so I'd let her perch instead of being held. While I was holding them I'd offer them treats as a reward.

    I no longer pick them up regularly but they still tolerate it, so that makes it easy to give them health checks as needed.

    My 2 more skittish birds (which we got at 6 or 7 weeks of age) did warm up to us much more once they started laying. Especially my EE, who used to spend all her time running away, she now likes the attention and will hop up on a ledge or branch and wait patiently to be hand fed treats.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2017
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ditto Dat^^^

    Some like it, some don't.
    Had a couple chicks that screamed while handled, no amount of handling calmed them...
    ....but once they got older both would walk up to me and want to be picked up.

    You can keep trying....or not...it might be more stress than they should be subjected too.
    Most of mine got less tolerant of handling as they neared point of lay.

    But I'm not a chicken cuddler, only handle them so they don't freak out when they need to be examined...some never get used to it.

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