how do you make you chickens less flighty when they grow up? Isn't there something you can do while they are chicks to prevent this? plz give your opion it is greatly needed... I own 7 chicks i hope who are all hens.
Feed is the great 'tamer'. Get them to associate you with food, and you have accomplished your goal. Remember always that they are prey animals. Get them to come to you - do not pursue them as it reinforces their fear.
Dried meal worms, spaghetti noodles, sunflower seeds and yogurt did it for me. Now they expect their treats. Even to the point of flying up on my shoulder, getting in my lap and pecking at my fingers every chance they get.
I've been working on taming mine as well. I picked them up from the hatchery when they were two weeks old. They were pretty flighty then and I still have a GLW who tends to be that way.
I had the best progress with mashed up boiled egg. They went nuts over it. I find that feeding that to them by hand helped them get over their fright every time I put my hand in the brooder to change their water etc. Now, they run to my hand and peck at it for treats.They weren't particularly fond of strawberry, banana, dandelion, or cloves. I'm sure that will come as they get older. Tonight I'm going to throw a few drops of water on some dried up meal worms and feed them to the chicks....I will not do this by hand though LOL
I'm new at the chicken game ... But I recently picked up 7 laying hens going into their second year and I agree that food and treats is a great way to earn their trust. Remember, chickens are flighty by nature - it's their survival mechanism. So you can't fight it, instead, flow with it. They don't often run from food or the hand that feeds them. You could, as was suggested to me here on BYC, develop a call, "Here chicky, chicky, chicky." as you are feeding them.
No one has pointed out that chicks are naturally fearful of being approached from above. If you always remember to approach from the side at their level, they'll be much more calm and trusting. As long as you have food in your hand, they'll learn to love that hand!
And as pointed out before, when offering them food, make some specific call or announcement, and they'll forever associate it with a treat and will come when they hear it. My call is a simple, "Come on you guys! Come on, come on!" The herd turns and stampedes in my direction. Extremely useful in rounding them up and putting them back into the run.