hens squat and appear scared/building trust

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by RMo2, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. RMo2

    RMo2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello!

    I am a first time chicken owner. We have 5 chickens (2 production reds, 1 PPR, and 2 EE). When I brought the chicks home we also had a GLW roo that was re-homed once he started crowing. After the roo left, the girls started squatting down and acting scared when I would try to pick them up. I have since mostly stopped picking them up, and let them come to me. They will gather near me when I come out to check on them while they free range, but if I move too quickly they appear scared. I have always been very gentle with them, handled them a lot when they were chicks and provide plenty of hand-fed treats. Is there anything else I can do to build more trust? Anything I did wrong? I see stories here about chickens who hop up in the laps of their owners, but mine have not done this since they were a few weeks old. They will inquisitively peck at my freckles, hair, rings, etc but otherwise will not voluntarily come up and want to be held etc. I recognize that chickens aren't necessarily intended to be mans best friend, but would like to know if there is anything I can do to foster the closer relationship behaviors.

    Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  2. jewel1

    jewel1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are you sure your hens aren't squatting because they are about to start laying? If they are jsut scared, they should skitter away. Squatting is them confusing you with a Rooster trying to mate with them...
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2013
  3. RMo2

    RMo2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok, so I agree the squatting is the whole mating thing. Actually someone else posted a pic down the page on this forum that shows exactly what they are doing.

    Any tips for fostering trust?

    Thank you so much for your reply!!
     
  4. louisegail

    louisegail New Egg

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    I agree they may be squatting in submission as they would for a rooster. Mine just started doing the same a few weeks ago...and all of a sudden I am getting 12 - 13 eggs daily from my 13 young hens.
    Mine have taken it a bit far though. the run up to me whenever I go out to their yard and now several won't go in to roost at night till I pick them up and put them in. This just started when they started laying! And when my husband is constructing an automatic door to close them in at night.
    I definately need to work on this as i drive 5 miles each way twice daily to tend them
     
  5. Nutcase

    Nutcase Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    Hand feeding chickens helps to build trust. It's definitely something you should be doing if you want them to feel more comfortable around you.
     
  6. Sandstorm495

    Sandstorm495 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You said that since the rooster left, the chickens have been acting scared. Maybe the reason now is because they felt protected and safe when the rooster was still with them.
     
  7. jewel1

    jewel1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine are also a little skittish around me (except when squatting), with my Black Australorp being the worst. My Barred Rock and Coumbian Wyandotte have started to like me.

    I do hand-feed a lot...which got them to start running to me to see if I have treats. I also talk to them in a soothing voice when I'm out in the yard and put a plastic chair out in the middle of the grass and just hang out or read when they are pecking aorund sometimes...which makes them come close to investigate and sometimes jump up on me to say hi.
     

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