10 Years
May 7, 2009
Brooksville, FL
I have seven hens, all around 2-4 months old. I built them a spacious deluxe coop and run. They are well fed, well watered, and get all the treats they can stand, and yet they still seem to think I'm the bogeyman. I tried handling them when they were chicks to get them used to me, but to no avail. I tried feeding them meal worms out of my hand today, but only one or two would dare get close enough, and even then they would eat them in a flash and run away. They have never had any trauma or been mishandled. I'm not looking for bedtime kisses or anything, it would just be nice not to feel like Godzilla every time i go to let them out. Any suggestions?


11 Years
Jan 14, 2009
Mt. Pleasant
I had the same problems with some of my hens and my ducks too. I just kept offering treats to them. (they really love canned corn) day after day I have 5 hens at the moment 4 of them will eat out of my hands. 2 of them will set down and let me hold them. One of them is an ameracauna when she was about 2 months old she was a spaz I couldn't get with in 3 feet of her without her jumping and running like the wind. Now she is the nicest hen I have. every morning she comes out of the coop and sets down until I pick her up. I say just keep trying!! They will come around! When I gave them treats I strictly did it out of my hand. They had to learn if they wanted treats they had to learn to trust me enough to atleast eat out of my hand. I think it paid off! Best of luck!


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
They'll likely get better as they get older. Two things that will help:

1) get a chair, and a good book, and go sit out there for 45+ minutes each day. Ignore the chickens, just sit in the coop or run and read. If you really want to accelerate things you can put a little pile of feed on each of your feet but then you have to remember not to wiggle
Don't try to pet or grab the chickens, just let them come over and investigate and get used to you being there reading your book. Repetition over some weeks will make a noticeable difference.

2) when you visit them, bring some sort of nice little treat (that doesn't interfere with a basically-balanced diet). A handful of sunflower seeds, a couple leaves of lettuce or other leafy greens, that sort of thing. Don't throw the treats at the chickens, just drop them at your feet when you go in the coop. Soon, you will be writing in to complain about being mobbed every time you go out there

Good luck, have fun,



10 Years
Apr 11, 2009
High Springs, Florida
My suggestion (that worked for me) is to visit your local bait shop (NOT pet store...too expensive) and buy CRICKETS! They will love you FOREVER! The convenience store closest to me happens to sell bait and tackle. So every other time I stop to get cigs, I buy 200 or 300 cricket. I keep a plastic coffee can in my truck for this. And now when my birds see me coming, especially with the blue can, they are SO happy to see me. But you have to hand feed them. They will start jumping up on your lap and knees when you sit down to feed them. And it is so funny to watch them, me and my wife have lawn chairs set up and let them free range while we are sitting out there.Be sure to try and pet them while you are giving them the crickets too. We do this every evening to unwind after work...we call it Chicken TV!
Soon you will be there best friend!
Good Luck!

Also... If you do a repeatative type whistle, or click, or kissy sound(as my wife does) they will learn that this means good things, and will come when you call. This makes it so much easier to put them up each evening after free ranging. I just do my little whistle (or kissy sound from my wife) and they come running from where ever they are!
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Hilltop Farm
Premium Feather Member
15 Years
Nov 18, 2007
My Coop
My Coop
They are still young. I spent hours sitting on a bucket , milk crate or chair with my birds. I also gave them treats. Now when I go out into the yard they all come running to me and I have to be careful not to step on them. I agree with patandchickens.


10 Years
Apr 10, 2009
NW Indiana
Well, I'm sure glad I read this thread!
I have 5 10wk old pullets, just got them a week ago and I was wondering when they'd warm up to me.
One was super friendly at the start, but has cooled a bit.

All will eat from my hand but still fear the Hand of Death if I try to pet them.
I have managed to pick them all up and after the initial squawk, they all settled down for some petting.

I spend some time with them at least twice a day (I work) and was hoping they'd all be getting used to me.

So far their favorite treats are yogurt - which they get every morning - and clover flowers.

Punk-Rock: I seem to get a huge population ofcrickets every Summer and will catch some and feed them to the girls. Should be fun for all of us

Who knew they could have so much personality so young!


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 9, 2009
rainsville al.
when i first got my black gaints they didnt like me a bit.One day i got abucket and sat down with feed in my hand and put it on the ground close to me and when one came i would stroke her when i go in im have to doge chickens so i can get in.You might want to try it.
3 silver duckwing OE'S,2 white cochins,10 black gaints,3 RI,3bb red OE'S,1golden laced wyandotte ,5 miniture australian shepards,1 blueheeler,1 mutt,27 kiko/boer goats,6 piglets,44 cows,and 1cat


10 Years
Jun 1, 2009
The best advice has already been posted, all I can do is concur.
I, too have a milk crate I sit on, my activity is planting them snacks in containers. I enjoy planting, and it keeps me from being "bored" and trying to pet them and such. I am basically ignoring them, bu they are curious about what I am doing so they actually come to me to investigate. I think they can tell that I'm not focused on them and they feel more comfortable about approaching me. Plus, I am moving, not just sitting still and then suddenly moving and startling them, they see me moving about but not in anyway towards them.
So, yeah, you pretty much just have to hang out with them, but not be focused on touching them.
I had one leg stretched out to the side as I was sitting on the crate and Pearl actually startled me by hopping up on it, but it's my numb leg so I didn't feel it enough to be so startled as to flinch and scare her!!

One day I planted them flowers, another some broccoli, another some cabbage.... (also the containers kind of keep them from destroying them as would happen if they were planted in the ground)
Just hang out with them and enjoy their company!!


Flock Mistress
10 Years
Apr 15, 2009
I have hens that I trained to come at a particular sound, so they associate that sound with good things and come running when they hear it. I'm not a big touchy-feely person with my animals, but I DO spend most of my time around them. Lately, my hens see me and come running regardless of whether I make the sound or not. They have actually gotten so bad that I am constantly having to shoo them out from under my feet. I almost never pet them and only handle them to make sure they are healthy, but they crowd around begging for my attention. It's gotten out of hand. So, be careful what you wish for, you may get it.

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