How do I help my chickens relax when being handled?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bibzybean, Apr 22, 2019.

  1. bibzybean

    bibzybean In the Brooder

    Apr 22, 2019
    3 weeks ago, my family got our first chickens (3 little crazy angels!) and in the last week, we've started trying to pet/handle/pick them up more, so that they can get used to bonding with us. None of them really like being stroked and need a good bit of wrangling and sunflower seeds to actually be picked up, but one chicken in particular (called Peanut) is jumpy and really seems to hate it.

    When we pick her up and the panicked flapping subsides, she makes some really heartbreaking squawk noises and even when we put her down again, she'll keep squawking for a good 5-10 minutes afterwards as she potters around the garden. I recorded a video of her about 2 minutes after being picked up, and wanted to ask if this is normal for new chickens (because it makes me want to cry! The poor thing) and also if the squawking sounded normal? I hope the file works

    Attached Files:

    ButtonquailGirl14 and sourland like this.
  2. danceswithronin

    danceswithronin Crowing

    May 24, 2018
    It's pretty normal for some chickens to dislike handling more than others. I have some chickens in my flock that are totally docile and will actually jump up in your lap to be pet on, and I have others (I'm thinking of a particular golden laced Wyandotte named Attila the Hen) who hate being handled and will never really enjoy it no matter how much I attempt to bribe them.

    I'm pretty sure the squawking noise is just her telling you off, lol. Or complaining to the others how much she hates being picked up. My little Wyandotte does the same thing and acts completely indignant if you pick her up.

    If you bought adult chickens that you didn't raise yourself, they may have been raised with a very "hands off" approach by whoever you bought them from - that is, fed and sheltered, but not really handled like pets. If they're not used to it, it's going to take you awhile to tame them compared to chicks you have hand-reared yourself from a day old. Either that, or they may still be bonded to their previous owners and not quite trust you guys yet. Chickens are prey animals and we are big and scary, it takes awhile for them to get used to and trust us.
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  3. bibzybean

    bibzybean In the Brooder

    Apr 22, 2019
    Oh I'm glad it's nothing too deep, that's a relief, thank you :)
    ButtonquailGirl14 likes this.
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    As prey animals most fowl are reluctant/afraid to be grabbed. Let them approach you by tempting with treats.
  5. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    Most chickens will learn to tolerate being picked up or handled, but not all will learn to like it. If Peanut really doesn't like being handled, best to only handle her as needed.
  6. Pekin747

    Pekin747 Songster

    Feb 20, 2019
    They putting meal around ur feet so they get used to u or bread or whatever kinda treats use have and after a while start sitting throwing meal round u and soon they should just come up to u did this will a few sex links I got a while back they became really friendly
  7. X2 .My less friendly batch of chickens now races to the door of their pen when i come in the room because i did something like this.
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