1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

How to make my chickens more friendly and less afraid

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jmeeter88, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. jmeeter88

    jmeeter88 Chillin' With My Peeps

    192
    3
    121
    Aug 18, 2008
    New Hartford, NY
    I have 2 Buff Orpington and 2 Black Australorp that are a few weeks shy of 3 months old. I really try to spend as much time as I can with them, but I am under heavy a course load from college.

    In the morning, they come running up to me, flapping their wings to run even faster, because they know I come bearing feed. But dare I make a move for them with my hands, they squak and run away. This has result in many short films of me running around the yard bent over trying to "scoop up" the little fellows.

    Are chickens just naturally afraid of humans? Is this a lost cause? I want to hold them but as soon as I pick them up they start squaking and flapping their wings violently. (They have, on the other hand, never pecked at me!)
     
    ecp and averytexans like this.
  2. lurky

    lurky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    Might try feeding them some scratch from your hand to get them more trusting [​IMG] Just a suggestion [​IMG]
     
  3. jmeeter88

    jmeeter88 Chillin' With My Peeps

    192
    3
    121
    Aug 18, 2008
    New Hartford, NY
    I already let them eat feed from my hand... I don't know if my hand, from their perspective, is attached to me or not, but they don't have a problem with eating from it. It's when I try to sneak the other hand in to pet them that they start freaking out.
     
  4. SGM

    SGM Chillin' With My Peeps

    919
    0
    139
    Aug 18, 2008
    Easley, SC
    Treats from your hand works great. If they're too timid to approach you in the fence, then stand outside and just play with the food. Some will be naturally curious. Maybe place a couple pieces near the fence inside so they can see its not poison. LOL If they are really wild then you may need to leave the treats just inside their fence where you were. Do that a few days and then try offering a few pieces on the ground while you step back. Things like that. Gradually working your way up to feeding them from your fingers.
     
  5. lurky

    lurky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    And also, be slow and patient. They will trust you more if you take your time to touch them. Let them get more comfortable with you not trying for a while, then try very slowly.
     
  6. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    28,907
    113
    408
    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Sit down with a bowl of treats in your lap. Make sure they can see the bowl of treats. Have patience, sit quietly without any fast movements and wait. Sooner or later one of them will get brave enough to jump up to your lap to get to the treats. When she/he does, try petting just the chest. Once the others see that brave chicken didn't come to any harm they'll try it too.
     
  7. jmeeter88

    jmeeter88 Chillin' With My Peeps

    192
    3
    121
    Aug 18, 2008
    New Hartford, NY
    Yeah, one time I was laying on the lawn and one was snuggling up next to me, and then everyone start pulling on a loose thread on my shorts! It was hilarious!

    But I cannot give up hope, I will keep on trying what everyone is suggesting!
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. brandywine

    brandywine Chillin' With My Peeps

    381
    2
    131
    Jul 9, 2008
    Western PA
    Never pick up a chicken in such a way that she can flap her wings and fuel her own panic.

    I agree with the bribery approach for taming. However, you could also pick them off the roost an hour or so after dark, taking care that you clasp them around the wings to prevent flapping, and carry them around a bit without the prelude of an undignified and adrenalizing chase around the yard.

    Chickens calm remarkably quickly when they can't struggle.
     
  9. jmeeter88

    jmeeter88 Chillin' With My Peeps

    192
    3
    121
    Aug 18, 2008
    New Hartford, NY
    Yeah I noticed that they calm down a considerable amount once I am holding them firmly (but not squeezing). I can even set them on my shoulder and they will hang out there. [​IMG]
     
  10. banter

    banter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 3, 2008
    Raymond Maine
    Most birds of all breeds and sizes panic if pressure is applied on the breast (if not done since babies.) Try to scoop up from underneath and tuck close to you being as gentle as possible-FLAP FLAP -LOL!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by