How do you pet a chicken?

AuntieWeasel

Chirping
Jun 23, 2019
97
163
96
Sussex
I keep a small flock of bantams very much as pets. I've always bought birds at about six weeks old, when they can be reliably sexed. They grow up friendly and pick-up-able but not, you know, lap chickens. This year for the first time I hatched a group in an incubator and they spent their first month with me in a brooder in my workroom. These little birds are now all over me when I sit in the garden.

Made me realize I don't know how chickens like to be touched. Stroked? Chucked under the chin? They're just ten weeks now, so they're still squeaky and flighty, but they do seem to like being handled. I want to be sure I don't do the chicken equivalent of rubbing their fur the wrong way.
 
Nov 5, 2018
788
1,475
237
Birmingham UK
I've found that generally chickens don't like to be touched on the top/back of their heads and on the end of their back near their tail, as these are areas other chickens would peck them. The best places to stroke are probably their backs but not too close to the tail, and the front of their chests. Some chickens don't mind being stroked/tickled on the faces. Their generally dislike being ruffled, so smooth stroking is best and always calmly and slowly.
I have one hen who loves to be held and then doesn't mind me stroking her feet while I hold her. I also have a house roo who absolutely hates his feet being touched. Some things are personal to the individual chicken.
 

eggerman

In the Brooder
Oct 2, 2019
4
10
22
Crystal Lake, Illinois
I have 2 brown sex links that love to have their backs stroked. As soon as I enter their run they assume the submissive posture of squatting down until I stroke their backs. If I just step around them to check their food or water or whatever they keep moving in front of me and squatting until I pet them. It's actually pretty cute, they are my buddies. On the other hand I have 2 black sex links that are skitterish and run from me.
 

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