How Long To Tame Chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by CheekyChooks, May 23, 2011.

  1. CheekyChooks

    CheekyChooks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2011
    Doncaster
    I've had 4 chicks since they were a week old, 2 chicks since being 4 weeks old and 2 chicks from being 2 weeks old. Most have squealed, flapped and protested when being picked up and handled. Some I have been able to calm down with strokes and cuddles but some never rested being away from the flock. I have spent about an hour every day with them and then are now outside and about 6-7 weeks old (ish).

    I got the chicks fairly tame before transferring to the coop over a week ago and since then they become flighty again because of the new environment etc ... Still when they are free roaming/feeding they hate being picked up and protest loudly so I thought I may never be able to fully tame them or get them to trust me as they will always scare too easy etc ... However tonight I noticed they had huddled together to sleep in the run instead of the coop so I decided to transfer them one by one upstairs to ensure they stay warm etc ...

    Usually if I do this they scream loudly, run and scatter everywhere and I have to fight with them to catch them - but this time they didn't make a muff, they just let me scoop them up and one and by one and put them in the coop. They then laid down started to get comfy again. Is this the chicks starting to trust me or is this normal behaviour when they are tired and tuckered out?

    How long does it usually take before you start seeing clear signs of the chickens becoming tame?
     
  2. motherhenmindy

    motherhenmindy Out Of The Brooder

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    May 6, 2011
    Austin, TX
    My chicks are 5 weeks old today. I handle them about once a week, to check them over, talk to them, pet them. They always make a fuss and flap for a bit each time we go through this ritual. Sometimes, it takes several attempts trying to catch one only to have her quickly flap away and I have to catch her all over again.

    They will settle down as long as you are firm with your handling, not enough to hurt them, but enough to know that the flapping and fuss they kick up is rather harmless for all involved. I find that if you put one hand underneath the breast area and the other hand firmly on top, like you are cupping her in your hands, they will settle down fast enough. You also need to remain calm and not worry you're hurting them. They can detect if you're getting nervous. Speak in a soft soothing voice, they'll calm down. I think it's natural they act this way.

    I have had to move them from the ground to their roost, but this was back when I first put them in the coop. They were 3.5 weeks old. They are calmer at night, maybe because they were sleepy.
     
  3. debducttape

    debducttape Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 26, 2011
    I think it depends a lot on the chicken. I have a few that have been loving and friendly since day one. I have 2 that are insane, and no matter how much I play with them and feed them treats, it is still utter panic anytime I get near. That said, if you think about it, they are prey animals, and you are this giant featherless thing that comes to get them. They don't know if you are there for a cuddle, or if you are there to get some chicken noodle soup. They have VERY tiny brains, and it takes a lot to get them to tolerate you as the strangest member of the flock. The best thing you can do is to move slowly and non-threateningly around them. Feed lots and lots of treats. I don't pick mine up unless necessary, although other people on here do frequently. They will never be a golden retriever who wants nothing more than to sit in your lap. They are chickens, and prey animals, and I am happy that mine tolerate me. They are fantastic just the way they are. [​IMG]
     
  4. CheekyChooks

    CheekyChooks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 22, 2011
    Doncaster
    Yeah, I think I can accept they will never be totally tame and little lap chickens ... but then when I moved them tonight and I didn't get a muff apart from some sleepy twittering as I moved them I thought 'Is this how its supposed to be? Calm and docile instead of mad and frantic?'. They were sleepy and I did cup them under the breast rather than coming down on top of them and just grabbing them so that probably helped alot! ... I think they tolerate me quite well despite everything I just didn't know if there was a secret friendly and soppy side to them I hadn't see before untill tonight, they just seemed totally different chickens!
     

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