How do I get my hens to like me :)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by RubyMabelandPearl, Sep 15, 2009.

  1. RubyMabelandPearl

    RubyMabelandPearl Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 15, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Hi Everyone! I'm new to BYC and also to chicken raising... I'm obsessed! Three weeks ago I got three 6-7 month old hens (1 Rhode Island Red-Ruby, 1 Black Astrolorp-Mabel, 1 white Leghorn-Pearl).

    My question is- how do I get them to like me enough not to run away from me when I try and pick them up? I bring them lots of treats daily- they are in an enclosed hen house/run but I let them free range after I get home from work for a few hours. They seem really happy and excited when they see me coming and so far Ruby and Mabel will eat out of my hand. Ruby lets me pick her up and seems to be the most friendly. I am trying to be patient but Mable got out of our yard yesterday (we have fixed the escape route) and I felt so bad having to chase her and catch her. Now she is probably MORE scared of me than before!!!

    Thanks everyone in advance for your sage advice!!!

    Jessica [​IMG]

    Oh, and I don't know if this matters but Pearl and Ruby are laying lots of eggs- Mabel hasn't started yet.
  2. chickensforever

    chickensforever Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 16, 2007
    Bellevue, WA
    The treats are pretty much what's going to do it. If you're throwing treats out to them, start to decrease the distance away from you so they gradually get used to being closer. Figure out what your chickens like the most and give them increasingly "valuable" treats as they get closer. For mine, they get Cheerios when they come take them from my hand but only lettuce when they stay a few yards away. Just be sure to transition gradually because at first they won't know you have extra special treats with you and would probably be too scared to risk coming for them anyway if you ask too much of them at first.

    The other thing you can try is working on some clicker training. I take mine out individually to our dog run (that required some chasing and catching at first) and worked on teaching them each a few tricks. Now they come running whenever I come nearby. They learn that being around you is not scary and they get treats!
  3. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Just get a lawn chair, a cold beverage and a book. Let them get used to your hanging around. Put a treat on your shoes or near your feet. You should get forgiven for the chasing in a day or two.

    Your leghorn will probably get friendly; it is a usual characteristic of the breed to be flighty and resistant to handling. Of course, there are individual exceptions to any rule like that....
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    The treats and time with them. I have 2 that will fly up on my arm, they get so excited for treats. I can hardly get in their run before the ambush.
  5. RubyMabelandPearl

    RubyMabelandPearl Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 15, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Thanks everyone!! I can't imaging Mabel and Pearl jumping up on my arm! I knew there were some drawbacks to getting 'older' chickens and not chicks... but I can already tell that they recognize me- when other people go into their coop they hide in the corner under the hen house but when I come in they run around my feet.

    This will be a good lesson in teaching me patience [​IMG]
  6. possumqueen

    possumqueen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 17, 2009
    Monroe, North Carolina
    Quote:Karen Pryor, who wrote Don't Shoot the Dog, said that anyone who wants to be a parent should be able to train a chicken, and clicker training is the route to go.

    The book is a great read.

    And the OBVIOUS IMPLICATION is that anyone who visits backyardchickens is a wonderful parent, don't you think?[​IMG]
  7. RubyMabelandPearl

    RubyMabelandPearl Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 15, 2009
    Portland, OR
    Thanks for the book rec.

    I've also noticed they are pretty quick learners.

    The first day I had them they went to sleep on the run roost so I put them on the hen house roost. The second night they all slept on the hen house roost.

    One of them was sleeping in the nesting box so I blocked it for two nights. The third night I unblocked it and it has never been slept in again.
  8. HBuehler

    HBuehler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2009
    Lebanon TN
    Chances are Pearl will never perch on your shoulder..she's a leghorn.They are not that cuddly of a chicken.Ours will flock us when we go out and untie shoes as many times as you re-tie them but they don't like people touch very well.Very friendly but not lap pet type. Then again I have a broody leghorn and they don't do that either [​IMG]
    All depends on the personality..don't worry even new chicks are not always sweet and cuddly no matter how much you try..and some older ones will come around real quick.
  9. newmamahen

    newmamahen Out Of The Brooder

    May 22, 2009
    Hi and welcome! I too am a rather new mama to chickens and am so obsessed it's not funny! I love EVERYTHING about my darling girls! I just got my first egg on Sunday and cried! (what a goof ball) I still have one girlie that won't let me hold her without a bunch of "squawking", however I am now able to pick them all up and/or pet them. I did this by being persistent, while talking sweet talk to them and offering their favorite treat (berries), right out of my hands. I can yell out my backdoor "hi chickens!!!" in my rather high voice and they all talk back! It's super cute! Anyway, have fun and good luck!
  10. animal_lover03

    animal_lover03 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2009
    Just sit with them and feed them treats, dont try to pet them until they get more comfortable with you around because you'll scare them away.

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