how do i get my hens to be more comfortable with people touching them?


8 Years
Aug 24, 2011
I have raised them since they were just a few days old and now they are 16 weeks or so... but they dont like it when anyone touches them!! I spend alot of time with them too and talk to them and try to hold them, but all they do is freak out when i hold them and then they fly away from me... any advise on how to make them more ok with me holding them?


In the Brooder
8 Years
Aug 6, 2011
Lacona, IA
I won over lots of new girls by tempting them with a tomato or grain. But the key to happy bonding is definitly good gloves.

Two Creeks Farm

8 Years
Apr 23, 2011
Hedgesville, WV
Amen on food

I have a RIR hen that hasnt been the slightest bit interested in me. Tonight, I was in my lawn chair eating a piece of pizza. The next thing I knew, that hen was in my lap trying to run off with my pizza LOL!


Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Some chickens don't like to be touched........

Did you see that old B&W Boris Karloff movie "The mummy" -- it has a line in it -- "I don't like to be touched, an Eastern custom, I fear" or something like that.
You didn't say which breed you have, but some more than others don't integrate REALLY well with humans, they want to remain in the bird-world. Having them eat out of your hand is one thing, actually picking them up and holding them beyond the normal inspections for mites or other treatments could be just more than some breeds will ever enjoy having.. In your case, especially if you raised them, they would be 'imprinted' on you.

Part of the 'bonding' with chickens too, is the degree of automation. The more automation, the less they really 'need' humans.

Hope that you can coax them to be more pet-like and friendly if that is your aim, but also remember some birds just don't like being cuddled.


8 Years
Apr 10, 2011
my hens went through a few phases where we had to start the relationship right over. half way grown up was rough and puberty was downright awful (i hated my RIRs and my leghorns hated me) but now everyone is soooo cuddly. keep at them!


10 Years
Aug 18, 2009
n. california
I have 9 hens, 8 are 2 1/2 years old. Of those 8, I have 3 that do not want to be touched, much less picked up. Of those 3, one of them just went broody this summer, so I had to pick her up a lot to transfer her to the "nursery pen" every morning. She is now much more curious and less cautious around me. She still doesn't want to be touched, but I can get much closer and she will eat out of my hand. The other 2 are also getting less fearful, but still don't want attention. Just give them time, 16 weeks is still young, they haven't even grown up yet


Crossing the Road
13 Years
Sep 19, 2009
Holts Summit, Missouri
I use mealworms as an enticement.

First avoid trying handle them and do not look directly at them. Second plant your butt down at their level and move slowly. Let them get used to you. Put a small amount of feed near you and let them eat it. The gently toss them a mealworm. After it is consumed do another repeating with few. Then make them approach closer to get next offered mealworm. Progress in baby steps getting them to eventually hop up on your leg for a morsel. When they get on you occasionally brush them with your hand when offering a mealworm. Let them eat on or two from your hand while you hold it between your fingers. Make them work for it. This process may need to be repeated several times or a couple to a few days. Do not try to pick them up until they allow almost constant touch.

System works for hybrid and pure red jungle fowl (wild chickens) and my games trained in same manner are as tame as any chickens you will ever meet.

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