How much should you hold your chickens!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bigdaddyjts1, Nov 12, 2013.

  1. bigdaddyjts1

    bigdaddyjts1 Out Of The Brooder

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    I am trying to hold all of my hens at least one a day for a few minutes to get them used to being held. We are new and I don't want to do anything detrimental to them. I also do not want to stress them out. But I want them to become "Lap Chickens". I hope this doesn't sound too dumb.
     
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    There is no set limit to how often you should hold your chickens. As long as they don't act stressed (panting, struggling to get away, etc), I don't think that there is a limit to how much you can hold them. I'd handle/hold them at least once a day if you want them to become tame.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I agree. Some chickens love to be held, and will actually beg you for it or will hop into your lap the minute you sit down. Others, and this is a breed trait as well as an individual personality trait, will react with aversion and stress when handled.

    Usually, the more baby chicks are (properly) handled the tamer they will be as adults.

    "Properly" handled chicks are approached from the side as opposed to snatched up from above. Such chicks will be mistrustful and skittish as adults, and it takes forever to tame them, if at all.
     
  4. GuppyTJ

    GuppyTJ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How old are your hens? If they are small chicks, I think the others answered this, that holding them frequently while they are young will definitely help them to be more tame as they mature. However, some breeds and some individuals are more likely to be comfortable and more tame as they grow than others. I personally have found that my Barred Rocks are the most tame of the breeds I have, regardless of if I raised them from baby chicks or if they were older when I acquired them.

    If your hens are already older, it can be difficult to tame them to the point of them being lap chickens. The hard part is less tame chickens are not easy to pick up because they run when you try! Chasing chickens to try to pick them up really stresses them. For my less tame chickens, I don't even try to catch them to say, give them dewormer. I wait until they're on the roost at night and then I quietly and gently take them down to do what I need to do, then return them to their spot on the roost when I'm done with them.

    It's interesting how different my chickens are in this regard and it depends on many factors. One of my chickens who is the lowest in the pecking order flies up on my shoulder so I can help her get to her spot on the roost without being too picked on by the others in the flock. I've always sort of looked out for her well being so she is very used to me. Another different hen often hops in my lap when I sit near her. She was sick so I nursed her for some time so she's used to me. ALL the chickens come running when I have table scraps or corn scratch for them. But there are some that are simply more skittish, just staying out of the direct line of my feet, veering around me more. Never running in fear but not being overly friendly towards me either. These less tame chickens I don't try to tame.

    In general, I'd say that my approach has been to let them each find their own level of comfort based on their personalities and circumstances. Each one is unique and as a result, my "relationship" with each is different.

    Hope this helps,
    Guppy
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2013

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