How do you become a chicken whisperer?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by savingdogs, Jun 27, 2011.

  1. savingdogs

    savingdogs Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a fairly tame flock of different breeds, they are normal friendly, but I'm wondering what chicken-taming hints people might have for me since we are such a wide, diverse group here at BYC? I like to have a close relationship with my livestock and like to find ways of working with them that is non-stressful and pleasant for all of us. It would be nice if it were easier to catch them and such.

    I don't have a great first tip to start the ball rolling here, but I have noticed that my chickens seem to be a lot tamer after we have picked them up and put them upside down, holding their feet, and then gradually start to pet and cradle them like a baby, talking to them and looking them in the eye. I noticed that chickens I've done this with will be much friendlier to me but can't explain why.

    I'd love to know why that works and if anyone has other things (besides, obviously, feeding them!) that helps to tame chickens (or ducks for that matter). I think we could all say that feeding special treats "tames" chickens, so I don't just mean to ask what goodies do you feed your chickens that they enjoy and make them like you. I believe there are already lots of threads here about that.

    Any chicken whisperers out there? Or wannabe ones with some thoughts/ideas?
  2. Urban Chaos

    Urban Chaos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 9, 2011
    Austin talk real quiet

    and give treats often!
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2011
  3. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    ....and have lots of TREATS!
  4. gumbii

    gumbii Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 7, 2010
    bell gardens, ca
    meal... worms... lots of them...
  5. jcatblum

    jcatblum Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2010
    Cement, OK
    My 11 yr old DD says that there favorite spot to be scratched or rubbed is on their breast. From the time they hatch she is picking them up & loving on them. Some chickens learn to avoid her others run up to her instantly to get their turn. I think it has more to do with the nature of the chicken than the treatment. She treats them all equally but there are some chickens that appear to have much more personality than others.

    When we do acquire an older chicken she does have a hard time usually getting that chicken to accept her petting & holding it. So handling them from the start does help.
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Do not rush around them, just move slow, and repeat the same words. Whenever I feed them, I call here chick,chick,chick. I notice both the broody hen and the rooster have a specific cluck for a treat, and the others come running. And when I round them up to back to the run, I call, hut,hut,hut, tapping a stick on the ground behind them, and they pen up very easily.
  7. klen

    klen Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 21, 2011
    I'm only on my first 3 chicks and they're only 2+ weeks old. But I clean the brooder 2-3 times a day. After the first week they were jumping on my hands when they(the hands) came to clean their little house. I can hardly keep them off my hands long enough to wash their water now. They're all Wyandottes, if that matters.

    Getting my second flock in another week, we'll see if they're the same.
  8. klen

    klen Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 21, 2011
    and I talk to them before I stick my hands in to clean and while I'm cleaning I continue talking to them. No treats yet. But lots of love. I pet their breast area even when they're not perched on my hands.
  9. jeepchick

    jeepchick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2011
    Loudon, New Hampshire
    Talk to them. I think of it like with the dogs....doesnt matter what you are saying as much as it matters how you are saying it. If i am out and talking nice to them and being quiet and calm they seem to respond to me the same way. If I am outside and yell at the dog or a kid they all jump and scatter. I really think its important to announce my presence....If I am going to be approaching them in anyway I always speak before I approach. I feel that them hearing me before I just pop in on them is better then scarring them while they are concentrating on the dust bath they are taking or have their head burried in the food dish. I have had a couple times I have opened the coop with out speaking to them first and had a startled hen bolt out of the nest box screaming at me. lol She was not impressed!

    And about the holding them upside down thing...I have a couple roos that it s the ONLY way I can handle them at all. If I have to handle them I throw a towel over them so they hold still for a second and let me find the feet with out poking a hole in me. I dont know the real reason it works either but I do know that my nasty roos goes from his hackles standing up and attacking me to hanging upside down and I can just about hug and kiss him and rub his tummy with no complaint. My japanese banty is a jerk like that so the few times I have had to handle him once I get him hanging I hug him and rub his tummy just cuz I knwo it probally ticks him off as much as I hate getting spurred by him [​IMG]
  10. ChicKat

    ChicKat Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Perhaps this only applies to my chickens-- but you may want to give this a try----

    At the first of each month, I do a routine chicken evaluation of each one. While I am holding her, I do apply a preventative eye-drop -- which they tolerate and don't like---but I wash off their shanks and then I apply VetRx. (This as a preventive for leg mites or are they called scaley mites--the bottle isn't here)--- I rub it into the shanks and the chicken goes into a trance -- like she is getting a massage or something. Besides treats, I think this is their greatest enjoyment from human contact.

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