How come my chickens are scared of me?


9 Years
Feb 27, 2010
Upstate of South Carolina
How come my chickens are scared of me? I know they know it's me because when i go to feed them, they will run in their run. That's about as close as they'll come to me though. It is such a hassle to try to catch one, so I can help it (if something is wrong). I've tried treats, but they still don't come to me. I've has them since the were 2 days old. (May of last year) It makes me sad to see people on BYC who have chickens that will let them hold 'em and "love" on them. What gives with my chickens?
You've been on here, a member of BYC for some time.

I understand that some breeds are more friendly than others, by nature. Also, if you had them from two days old, did you hold them, talk to them, carry them around, each of them.. all of them from back then.. hand feed them back then.. "hand raise" them from chicks to be friendly? (Or, is there someone else who "scares" them, torments them? Has made them afraid of people?)

What breed or breeds are they?

Maybe you can look into getting a more friendly breed as you aquire replacements?

Best of luck.
I don't know a thing about chickens (yet!) but I wanted to say that I understand how frustrating it can be.
I hand raised a litter of 5 kittens when their mother disappeared. I treated them all exactly the same way with lots of handling, etc. Several of them are very sweet and cuddly and several are very skittish. It may just be that you have a group of chickens that just have a bit of a stand off-ish personality. Good luck finding your answers. There are A LOT of very knowlegeable people here. I know you will have some good answers soon. Hang in there!!
My fav chicken "wild chicken" I have had since she was 4 days old..I held her every second I could and spoiled her with cheese and moths and anything she liked to eat. I would pet her until she feel asleep in my hands. I continued to hold her as she grew up, I had a tough spot before she stared laying. She became mean and attacked me ( she was close to the frying pan lol ) but after she started laying to returned back to her sweet self. Now she will run after me just like she did when she was a chick. She comes inside and I give her special treats ( cheese ad bread and peas...lunch small pieces ) she will climb into my lap and fall asleep as i smooth her feathers and talk to her. She will run up to me and the dh and scratch our shoes till we pick her up and warm her feet and hold her close. Shes an BA, and the only one like this. She is very bonded to us, shes our special chicken and lays me a beautiful brown speckled egg every day. I sit down alot in the yard and let the chickens come to me and hand feed them with some bread or maybe some whole corn, I will dig up earthworms for them and call them over. I have one BR that don't mind being picked up and does not want to be picked up like my wild chicken. you can try sitting among them and hand feeding them and trying to reach out and stroke their feathers. Also I go into the coop every night with them and talk to them and take the time to pet the ones i can reach, rub combs and wattles and stroke backs and bawk bawk to them. I would be sad if I couldn't snuggle my wild chicken and listen to her talk back to me. cheddar cheese works over even the toughest chicken! I Have one of my RIR coming in like wild chicken and even coming up to me and begging for food and attention. On the weekends they are out and I am around them, during the week I work but as soon as I get home I let them out. I spend alot of time with them, I wish it could be 247 though
but have a pesky job! I hope this helps you. Its a bummer that you cant get that special chicken loven...but don't give up!! get the cheese!! or grapes ( chicken crack) also warm oatmeal...yogurt..meal worms if you can get them! Keep me updated !!
That is such a sweet story!
My chicken are Marans, Silkie, Buttercup, Sumatra (I don't think they are supposed to be friendly), and EE. I have treated them like my little kids, and no one else in my family even touches the chickens. Could it possibly be that certain chickens in the flock are "spooking" the others? Tomorrow I think I might try some warm oatmeal since it is so cold. I will update y'all with any progress.

Oh and Chicken_Pauper, I have been on BYC for awhile. I love it! :)
i would say, go in and handle them when they roost...
it is a mellower time...and they will get used to handelling...
I sometimes worry that i am starting to become an excentric
as I love to talk too my know...I almost think they
know they seem too perk there head and respond when I say there name

let them be when out....but try and tempt them with hand treats...
the shy ones will follow the others...if they think its something good...
eg steak tuna or dare I say chicken...
work on this for at least a week...
then...when they see you they will come running...and not percieve you as someone wanting to catch them...
you seem wonderfully carring and devoted to your chickens..
If you have an axe in hand, i would run too.

Seriously. you could feed them treats by hand then catch, hold, and pet them. Some breeds/birds just do not like being held or petted. Try silkies, most of mine like the attention.
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I disagree. Give up and let them be chickens. wMine run up to me and like yesterday I stepped on one of their feet cuz they just won't get out of the way. I just don't get it as to why some folks have to cuddle and kiss on a chicken. Morgan, my dog, is my best friend but he don't have to tolerate that.
I let him be a dog and give affection when he has a need, not when I do.
there is a chance there is something that has happened to spook them from people. Maybe someone has harrassed them. I caught a neighbor kid chasing my chickens; i am sure his legs will heal eventually

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