Help, my chickens have high anxiety

Jon Ray

In the Brooder
Dec 29, 2017
13
43
49
I have 2 frizzles hens that are about 3-4 months old now. They have a coop and a 5' x 8' run out into the yard.

When they were little would hold them and they were fine. Now that they are older they absolutely freak out anytime I even come into the yard. If I enter the coop or chick run to clean out the coop as I did today, they run from me and even trying to run themselves through the chicken wire fence.

I don't want them to hurt themselves and I never mistreat or have mistreated them. Is there something I can do to make it so my chickens don't fear me or have the behavior to want to run from me? I picked both of them up and held them briefly today to let them know everything was okay. It's like the older they get the worse their fear is and it happens with anyone else too, not just me.
 

orrpeople

Grading essays - be back soon!
5 Years
Jun 15, 2016
5,499
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State of Jefferson
Meal worms are an awesome way to make friends... (Every feed store carries them in small-large bags) I sit on the ground or a small stool and first toss a couple of them so they get a taste for them, then gradually toss them closer to my feet. It may take a few visits to the coop, but eventually they may even eat them out of your hand and come running when they see you. Best of luck to you!
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
7,127
8,765
556
Consett Co.Durham. UK
Wearing different coloured clothes to usual and carrying cleaning implements can all be terrifying for them, so you need to be conscious of that. Talk to them, move slowly and as @orrpeople advised, have plenty of healthy treats like mealworms, grated apple etc and just sit with them for 10-15 mins before you start doing chores. Moving slowly around them is important and stopping and reassuring them if they start getting stressed. It might be necessary for you to gently usher them into the coop whilst you clean out the run and vice versa until they get calmer and more used to the routine.
 

Jon Ray

In the Brooder
Dec 29, 2017
13
43
49
Thanks guys for putting some perspective on it. I'm in NSW, Australia so not sure what treat options I have here but I did give them some fresh cut Cilantro from the garden after I was done, which they seem to love. I also give them worms from my worm farm every now and then.
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,888
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On the MN prairie.
Thanks guys for putting some perspective on it. I'm in NSW, Australia so not sure what treat options I have here but I did give them some fresh cut Cilantro from the garden after I was done, which they seem to love. I also give them worms from my worm farm every now and then.
Yep, keep bribing them with food. Because chickens are prey animals, their instinct is not to come toward anything, but to run. Hang out in the coop, or if they free range, out where they do their chickeny thing. Sit down in a chair or on the ground, toss them goodies, and lure them to you. Don't reach for them right away. Just let them get used to you and recognize you as The Bringer Of Good Things. They'll get used to you sooner or later.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
17,164
33,716
1,062
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
A lot of it is their age. Hens will calm down a lot once they reach point of lay.

Treats are good. Moving slowly, talking to them calmly, all that helps. It will pay off eventually! But until they're past their "teens" they'll probably be less friendly and more apt to run.
 

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