How long for chickens to know me and allow me to pick them up and hold

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jody, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. Jody

    Jody Songster

    Nov 8, 2009
    Epping, NH
    My chickens always run away from me when I try to catch them.

    What's the trick to getting them to let me hold them..

    When I do catch one, they're always flapping around, etc.. I want to be able to clean their feet and check under feathers, etc but they won't stay still for me.

    Only been a few days I owned them. Do they need more time?
  2. koifarm

    koifarm Songster

    Don't worry, just give them some time to get used to you. One good way is to buy some "scratch feed" at the feed store. Whenever you go out to take care of them, sprinkle a cup or so of scratch feed around while calling the chickens over, they will soon get used to the idea that you represent a snack and will eventually come in around your feet. When they do, just pat them on the back and scoop them up and tuck them under your arm, you can usually check them for scaly mites on the legs and mites around the vent, it's just good chicken maintenance to look your birds over now and then...
    Be patient, persistent and they will come around...
  3. usschicago1

    usschicago1 Suburban Cochins

    Aug 11, 2009
    Taunton, MA
    it depends if they see you for one minite when you open your coop in the morning and at night and for the 30 minites a week when you clean then NEVER will they know you. If you sit out there with them for 20 minites a day and you feed then scratch on the goround and in your hands and they see you doing scraps then they will get to know you and FAST!. The more time with them the fast they "know" and come to you.

    haha funny story when a hawk comes overhead my rooster (with his 4 hens behind) all run right to me! It is so funny!
  4. wombat

    wombat Songster

    Jun 23, 2009
    I get shell peanuts at the feed mill.

    I shell the peanuts and hand them out. I get mugged by chickens if I'm in the run.

    If they're out ranging, they will all come running to me as soon as I'm in sight, just in case I might have peanuts for them.
  5. HEChicken

    HEChicken Crowing

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    One thing I keep in mind is that being picked up and held is not "natural" to a chicken. The mother never picks them up - she just herds them around. This is different to some other animal mothers (cats, dogs etc), whose mothers DO pick them up. The other thing to keep in mind is that chickens are born with a prey instinct. Almost anything around them can and will prey on them so they have to be careful. We are so much bigger than they are and if we come in towering over them and then reach down towards them, they run, out of fear that we are a predator who wants to eat them! Rather than chase them, the best thing is to be patient and allow them to approach you on their own terms. As others have said, offer them a treat in your outstretched hand. Move slowly and rather than swoop down from above, try to reach out to pet them on their level (i.e. squat down so you look smaller, reach your hands towards their chest or underside, instead of trying to grab them from the top).
  6. urban dreamer

    urban dreamer Songster

    Sep 28, 2009
    Sherwood, AR
    Give them time. Im going through the same thing right now. It took my BRs a while to get used to me now they follow me. My new EEs however run away when I come into the yard. Just feed them and talk to them, thats the way to a chicken's heart.
  7. starforever61

    starforever61 Songster

    Aug 1, 2009
    My chickens are afraid of treats! I'm sad because I'll probably never get to know them [​IMG] I've tried scratch, lettuce, bread, EVERYTHING! Like you, I just got mine a few days ago. I wish you luck...
  8. g_a_brand

    g_a_brand Songster

    May 28, 2009
    Debert, Nova Scotia
    Give them more time ... they will come around
    One of my boys would run from me ( had them from a week old ) and he has only come around for about month and half ... now he was the smallest of that bunch ( they are 18 weeks now ) so he was called squirt .. now he is quite big and a big baby [​IMG] When the other ones pick on him he will run full speed straight at me and leap up to either get into my arms or on my lap. Its almost like "help mom .... they are picking on me " [​IMG]
    This big guy will cuttle up and put his head on my arm and go to sleep... [​IMG] and this was the one that was sooooo scaried of me till not that long ago
    so keep trying and feeding them treats ... it does bring them around
  9. schling

    schling In the Brooder

    May 20, 2009

    How old are they?
    If they are older chickens and they have lived with someone else for a while they definetley need more time to get used to you. They might just need time to get used to you and their new lifestyle and habitat. One of my chicks was very, very, very skittish from the beginning on. she is much better now and her and two others crouch. they bend down sort of and put their wings up. It is sort of funny to walk up to one try to catch her and she crouches.[​IMG] also one of mine is like pretty calm:) they might just need to take time to get to know that your now their Owner/Master.


  10. schling

    schling In the Brooder

    May 20, 2009
    Hi again,

    Also get them treats and they will most likely come up to you and the rest will follow![​IMG]

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