How do I tame my chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kristenm1975, Jul 26, 2008.

  1. kristenm1975

    kristenm1975 Songster

    Jul 23, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I bought three little pullets (a blue standard cochin, a silver-laced wyandotte, and an aracauna) at three months old from a kid who was raising them for a class project (he had 26 little chickens running around his backyard in Seattle, where we're only allowed 3. Somehow I don't feel too badly about having 4.) and apparently, he had hand-fed them since they arrived at a day old. They have always been gentle so I just figured once tame, always tame.

    I recently added a new pullet to the mix (a two or three month old maran, three days ago) and have been in the coop more often, trying to coax the older girls to be nice to her. I've noticed that when I hold out my hand to feed them little bits of their food or dandelion greens, that they almost seem more interested in pecking at my skin. I had bad experiences with chickens as a child and would hate to feel afraid to enter the coop.

    I spend a good 20 minutes a day or more just hanging around the coop, poking little fresh goodies through the wire, so it isn't like they don't know what I'm good for, or what I'm up to.

    Any ideas here? I really want my girls to be tame and pet-able, and to not worry when I go into the coop to clean up, feed, or (at some point when they finally get around to laying) to gather eggs.
  2. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    Mine are a little over 2 months and they are all pretty tame. There are two shy ones that like to keep a distance but I think it depends on the chicken. I would pick them up and pet them as often as you can. Sit in a chair in the run and allow them to come to you for treats. They really seem to take the bait. Then pet them without picking them up at first. After you do that for a while (a few days) I would pick them up and actually carry them around for a while. Mine are so used to being picked up but I did have to spend ALOT of time with them. I have babies in the brooder now that I take out every day and spend 10 min one on one with each chicken. You have to be consistent if you want them to stay calm around you...they seem to forget if you miss a few days lol.
  3. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    Kristen - Fellow Puget Sound chicken owner here! [​IMG]

    I'd say just keep at it. If you've found a treat that they go crazy for, use that. Tried yogurt yet? What about meal worms from the pet store?

    Become their best buddies by giving them the ultimate chicken treats. Good luck.
  4. Kanchii

    Kanchii Songster

    If you just keep at it with the food you'll have sweet chickens. But some of them just will never really like being pet. But what you can do is sit down in the coop (bring a chair or something) and make some rice or buy mealworms, ect, and just spend time with them, dont feed it all at once, but give them a little every couple minutes. If you can, pick them up one at a time and put them on your lap and hold them there, petting them and talking to them softly and let them have some food while you do it.
  5. kristenm1975

    kristenm1975 Songster

    Jul 23, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    Thanks for all the good tips! I just hand-fed a bunch of grapes to them, cut into fourths length-wise that they went crazy over (sure hope those are ok to give chickens!) so maybe next time I'll put a little stool in the run and hang out with them there, feeding them treats every minute or so, pick each of them up for a while, and just keep at it.

    When they were free range in the back yard they seemed to be a lot more tame. I'd be out there weeding and the aracauna especially would be right beside me, "helping".

    I'll keep you all posted. [​IMG]
  6. dixiechick

    dixiechick Songster

    We just got a new hen, who is a bit shy with us. My daughter and I have been giving treats and holding her securely (not tightly) so she knows she can trust us.

    This afternoon we shampooed, conditioned, and blew her dry. Because she was a bit chilly during the blow dry, she cuddled up to us for warmed and protection.....for the first time since we got her a week ago, she hung out with us for the rest of the day.

    Again we treated her before returning her to the coop...

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