How to I encourage my pullets to become more cuddly and friendly?


Jun 30, 2021
So I have four 15 week old pullets and they are constantly pecking me. I want my chickens to be people friendly and at least let me hold them so I can check their health. I have 2 Gingerhams, 1 Black Australorp crossed with a New Hampshire and 1 White Leghorn crossed with a New Hampshire. I got them when they were chicks and they used to let me pat then and hold them, but ever since they were fully feathered, they began to grow more and more distant from me. I don’t expect them to be as cuddly as dogs or cats but I think it’s important that I can do a daily inspection without my pullets freaking out when I try to grab them. I don’t know if I’m holding them incorrectly, but they try to fly away every time. However, they do run up to the fence when they see me, follow me around and fly onto my shoulders. Any tips on how to pick them up properly or how to get them more people friendly?
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Probably to get them more people friendly you should just spend more time with them. Also they probably will get better as they get older. As for picking them up I think you should try to get close enough to grab around their body holding their wings against their body so that they can not flap. If you want to walk a ways, holding them, you can then just tuck them under your arm holding them firmly against your body.
I think it’s important that I can do a daily inspection without my pullets freaking out when I try to grab them.
Just do the inspection at night with a head light. You will be able to easily pick them from the roost one by one without chasing after them around the yard.
Talk to them in a low and calm voice while holding them and start talking already prior to opening the coop door, so they will know it is you and not a predator grabbing them.
If you just sit calmly in the run with a bowl of treats on you lap, talking to them in a low voice, they will come to see what it might be you have in the bowl and even hop on your lap to investigate.
Avoid quick movements and grabbing them, they are prey animals and as such their natural survival instincts will kick in and send them fleeing.
Most chickens do not like to be cuddled. They are prey animals who do not like to be held or confined in anyway. Having said that you will find individuals who will want to interact with people by roosting on them and rarely you will find one who likes to be held. Teenage chickens will peck at you as a way of investigating what you are. At that age they hope everything is edible. Sit with your flock on daily basis. You can offer them special treats but you may discover they grab the treat and run with it. You even may learn to enjoy how the flock interacts with each other. It's fun to watch chicken TV.
Ditto Dat!

'Grab' them with both hands around the wings, and keep the wings contained, so they can't fly off.

Bad habit, they'll peck your eye out....and it's a dominant position.
I'm glad you mentioned pecking your eye. My 3 year old grandson was squatting to feed our pullets treats. One came up and pecked his eye, fortunately only getting the eyelid. The same pullet had tried once before and just hit his face. We are now trying to teach him not to let them near his face.

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