Help - the new pullets still hate us!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by crawfordmama, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. crawfordmama

    crawfordmama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2010
    The Lakes Region, NH
    I have 4 BSLs that have been in quarantine for 3 1/2 weeks now. They came from our local feed store, and when they became too large for the brooder, the mananger of the store brought them home to his farm. Therefore, they've never really had one-on-one time with humans like my two hand-raised EEs have. I work from home, so I spend a ton of time with them each day. They hang out around me when they're free-ranging, and maul me when I bring them food and treats. In the run, they herd together and get as far away from me as possible. I can briefly touch their tails while they're distracted, but once they figure out I'm touching them, they make all sorts of noises, peck me, and run away. They even protect each other. If one sees that I'm touching another they peck me! I even got pecked last night while trying to take a look at them while they were roosting. So far, they look to be free of illness, but I obviously want to be able to inspect them thoroughly before I decide to remove them from quarantine. What else can I do? Thanks for your help!
  2. rcentner

    rcentner Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2009
    Le Roy, NY
  3. swordgeek

    swordgeek Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 23, 2010
    Westford, MA
    Don't give up on them! I raised my older birds from 2 days old, and they're all used to be held and petted. Consequently, I've been disappointed with my relationship with my new pullets. The new girls were 6-8 weeks old when I got them, and they'd been living like, well, chickens (!) at their old home since arriving as day-olds. Treated well, but not handled. Ever.

    Silly me, I thought they'd immediately take to me and the kids, and we've logged a lot of time with them. I spent a LOT of time just sitting in their run with them, talking and petting and feeding the older birds. They young'uns watched us interact with curiosity, but never came right up to me, or eat out of my hand. This had been going on for 7 weeks or so. Until a few days ago...

    I was doing my usual thing, sitting quietly with them all, and had a handful of cracked corn and BOSS with me. I held out my hand - no takers. I finally rested my hand close to the ground, and kept very still. Eventually, Flora, the EE who's the most adventurous came over and sniffed my hand. Then took a stab at the goodies. Then more. Eventually, I had the whole lot of them feeding out of my hand. A little while later, Flora hopped up on a log next to my 8-y-o daughter (the chicken whisperer) and she nonchalantly scooped her up and handed her to me. Flora let me hold her for a bit and stroke her. When she started to struggle, I put her down. With all the rain we've had since then, I haven't tried to pick another one up, but I'll keep trying till they get used to it.

    One thing I do now is slip into the coop after they've settled down for the night, but when it's still slightly light out. I talk to them quietly, and reach out and pet each one a few times in turn. They squirm a little, but allow it. They USED to hop down from their perches to get away from me when I did that. I'm hopeful! [​IMG]
  4. noodleroo

    noodleroo Snuggles with Chickens

    Apr 29, 2010
    Rockport, Tx
    Getting down on their level and talking calmly, moving slowly in a fairly confined space should force them to realize that you aren't the big scary predator that they seem to think. Just be consistant and patient and don't forget treats. My BYC page has more info on how I do this. They may never be as tame as your EEs, but they will gentle down...
  5. crawfordmama

    crawfordmama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 29, 2010
    The Lakes Region, NH
    This is great info! Thanks so much! [​IMG]

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