Help, How to smooch up to my chickens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by barbara4rb, Apr 5, 2008.

  1. barbara4rb

    barbara4rb In the Brooder

    Oct 22, 2007
    Albuquerque, NM
    I have about 25-30 free ranging chickens on my property. No one lives there, but there are two of us who feed them daily. We do layer mash, scratch, and feed bread. The gang is always happy to see us when we come in the feed them. Typically they follow us into the store room and supervise getting their food.

    Yesterday an acquaintance dropped by with her 6 year old daughter (after I'd fed the chickens). When the visitors first came in the yard, the girl spotted the chickens, and OFF she ran "to see" them. (Property is a square acre.) Before I knew it, she'd chased after my chickens, sending them running and squawking madly--up/over fence into neighbors, up into the trees. Mom was like, "Oh she loves animals." This girl did a lap of the perimeter chasing everyone. By the time I finally got her to stop, the birds were really upset.

    Well, today I came in, and the birds--who are normally waiting at the gate and walk us in--were like, OH, IT"S A HUMAN, RUN. Dang it. I've been trying to be gentle and quiet and now this. They did come in and eat, but let's just say they were leery.

    Does anyone have any idea how I can smooch up to my chickens with some yummy chicken treats??? Something they will really like. I already promised that they'd never be chased again. Grrrrrr no more wild kids.

  2. TheChicInnKeeper

    TheChicInnKeeper Chirping

    Mar 10, 2008
    Asheville, NC
    Bring cracked corn and sunflower seeds!

    They should really like that!. I've also read on this site that they really like yogurt!

    It would be worth a try.

    Good Luck!

  3. You are going to have to get their trust back again. In other words really kiss chicken butt! My chickens love treats. Here are a few things my chickens love and are happy for days. A cut up melon, especially watermelon, cukes, squashes-esp butternut, and of course grapes!
  4. tnkinhunting

    tnkinhunting Songster

    Feb 7, 2008
    East Tennessee
    Mine love cornbread! For that matter, bread of any kind!
  5. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    Put up a large sign that reads

    "Unattended Children will be given a Latte' and a puppy"
  6. raindrop

    raindrop Songster

    Feb 10, 2008
    Western Oregon
    Bring scratch, maybe mealworms. It will take time, just stick to your routines and move slowly. I bet they will be back to their normal trusting selves in a week or so.
  7. kiwichick

    kiwichick In the Brooder

    Jan 9, 2008
    I got my girls at 16weeks old and they'd had very little human contact. I've now got them trained to come running when I shake their scratch container and/or make kissy noises. It's hilarious how fast they can flap their way across the yard whenever they hear me. Flax seeds and grapes are their favourite treats.
  8. barbara4rb

    barbara4rb In the Brooder

    Oct 22, 2007
    Albuquerque, NM
    I appreciate the suggestions, and will try them. This afternoon I went in quietly and there weren't any chickens to be found! (Normally they're peeking through the slatted fence waiting for me.) They were in the neighbor's yard or under the rose hedge. "Come here, I've got treats" (rattling can with scratch in it) They were busy plotting their escape. RUN!!! Only saw the east end of west bound chickens. I tossed bread near them and they were not impressed.

    I then saw 7 of my hens with their white rooster behind the workshop. They went the other way as I approached. (This time, is was north end of south bound chickens.)

    AND I'm nest boxes that both have about 15 eggs in them have no hens. I think it is a chicken conspiracy to teach me a lesson.

    Any more suggestions???
  9. chickenannie

    chickenannie Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    Use food food food. And call them somehow, so that your call is their signal to come and eat. Mine would never appreciate the rattling of food in the can. As for the egg laying and nest boxes, hens generally need to be happy to lay eggs. They have to feel safe, well-fed, protected, like the nest box location and feel, etc. This little girl has really freaked them out and you'll have to work to make them feel safe again. Can you lock them up with their nest boxes for a few days, take good care of them and help them feel secure again?
  10. red-hen

    red-hen Songster

    Mar 4, 2008
    Take your time. One single day of rattling a can of food at them isn't going to do much. This is a long haul exercise since that insane child with the irresponsible mother drove them nuts - and they probably didn't recognize your efforts as trying to contain the child as anything more than another wild human. So take a step back, take a deep breath and plan to spend time sitting on a box reading a book amid your chickens.

    First, put the food out, then take your box and sit outside their area. You're going to be there a while. Don't expect them to come to you - be happy if you even see hide or feather of them at all.

    Do the same tomorrow - and the next day - and the next day. Do this until they don't mind coming for the food you've left and they don't mind seeing you sitting quietly so far away. The day after they look at you like you're not a threat - move your sitting box a couple feet closer to the feeding place. Keep this up ... only move the box on occassions when they don't care that you're around. Eventually you'll be sitting next to the feed and they'll feed next to you.

    It will be slow - but you don't have much choice after that fiasco.

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