How do I Tame Pet Chickens to be more Friendly?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lelisabeth, May 14, 2009.

  1. lelisabeth

    lelisabeth Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2009
    Elverson, Pennsylvania
    I am not sure if this is a result of their age or the way I am raising them (my first chickens!), but my 3 pullets are not very friendly. First off, I got these wyandotte chicks at 9 weeks old from a chicken swap. They were very calm the first few days, and I could pick them up easily and hold them. This might be because they were so scared and not used to their new surroundings.

    A few days in I could definitely tell the SLW was the dominate one, the BLRW was fighting for the top and the GLW was a follower. I pick them up every day, but after a few days of having them they started running away from me when they were out of their run. It got harder and harder to catch them when I left them out. I can still catch the GLW, but the other two I have to herd into the run.

    When I am holding them, the SLW will squawk in the beginning and then she will settle down to be pet. The other two will act frantic the whole time and try to get away. Is there anything I can do to make them more friendly and easier to catch? They are only 12 weeks old, but I don't want them to be scared of me their whole life!
     
  2. Drivegirl54

    Drivegirl54 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 10, 2009
    Winder, GA
    Just keep working with them. And give lots of treats.
     
  3. chickon

    chickon Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 6, 2008
    Yes, with chickens as with people--the way to the heart can be thru the stomach. Treats treats treats!

    I have read that Wyandottes can vary a lot in temperament, from friendly to more standoffish.
    But no matter their individual temperaments, with consistent positive handling (treats! treats! treats!) from a young age you can get them all to the 'friendly' end of whatever their individual range is.
    In my flock the Brahmas and some Orpingtons are more friendly than the Wyandottes, but I didn't spend much time handling the Wyandottes so they didn't get a fair shake [​IMG]

    Edited to add: Also congratulations on your first chickens!!! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
  4. lelisabeth

    lelisabeth Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2009
    Elverson, Pennsylvania
    Thank you, I love them!

    Oh, I really hope they will be friendly! I can't really get anymore (well, maybe 1 or 2[​IMG]), so these will be my babies! I'll just keep trying to catch and hold them, it just seems like it makes them so nervous!

    They are weird with treats. They will eat them, but not from my hand, and they won't eat worms that I find for them. I give them scratch and kitchen scraps, but they don't eat them until I put them down and back away.

    Hopefully they will get better, thank you for your advice!
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
  5. Drivegirl54

    Drivegirl54 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 10, 2009
    Winder, GA
    Mine were the same way.
    I just took them their daily treat and before I even got to the run they were running to me and waiting. Mine were nervous at first too, but after I held them close and spoke gently while I was petting them they got used to it. I did it at least twice a day. They won't have anything to do with my dh but they pretty much let me do whatever now. They can smell fear lol
    Congrats!
     
  6. calicokat

    calicokat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2009
    azalia, indiana
    So glad to hear this! I have 3 chickens, and they are all "hand me downs" from other chicken folks. At their other houses, they were just chickens, but here I wanted them to be pets. We've had them about 3 weeks now. I go out and take treats, talk with them, putter around the coop, etc. a few times a day in addition to letting them out and putting them up.

    One, the dominant one, is coming around a lot more and will take a snack out of my fingers. She has figured out that when she hears my voice coming, it usually means something tastey for her! Her friend that came with her is still quite standoffish, not coming close, but waiting on me to throw treats her way.

    But the third one that came here about a week after these two isn't even remotely friendly. 'Course she's still getting pushed around by the other 2 also, so maybe when that all settles and they have worked out the pecking order, she'll be more friendly.

    It's just nice to know there is still hope even if they aren't chicks!
     
  7. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 8, 2008
    Ohio
    Keep taking them the treats. And then wait for them. You said they're only 12 weeks old? None of mine were particularly friendly as pullets, but once they were fully grown they were much more friendly. And I'd even given up on them and stopped trying to pet them all the time. Just took them their treats and called them each day.

    Now, some hens just naturally will not be very friendly. I have one that we call Roadrunner because she's almost impossible to catch. My hatchery Wandottes are among my least friendly hens.

    Erika
     
  8. Miss Kitty

    Miss Kitty Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 21, 2009
    Quote:Erika I love that name of yours Walking on Sunshine! [​IMG] That is one of my most fav. oldies song on the radio growing up. Have a great day!
    Kitty
     
  9. lelisabeth

    lelisabeth Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2009
    Elverson, Pennsylvania
    Quote:[​IMG] I wanted sweet girls! Well, it's good to hear that I shouldn't give up hope! Maybe they are just testing their limits.

    Actually tonight I figured out that if I feed them scratch in their run they will eat it out of my hand. Really cute, but kind of painful! I guess once they get out of the pen they are distracted and no longer a captive audience.
     
  10. kim.home

    kim.home Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 15, 2008
    I have 2 GLW (also 2 brahmas and a blue orp), and they are the dominant girls in the bunch. Somehow they're the least friendly too. They do come when I call, but that's 'cause I give them treats everyday. They're not interested in me petting them, just feeding!!! I agree with the others tho, keep up with the treats.
    [​IMG]
     

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