How to tame my new hen!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jak2002003, Feb 6, 2012.

  1. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    I bought a pair of Japanese Bantams 2 weeks ago to add a new colour to my flock. They were not used to being around humans at all. They were very skittish wild and every time I went anywhere near the cage they would make a big fuss and fly madly about in terror. I have never see this extreme reaction before with other chicken I have bought.

    Now the rooster is much better, but the hen is still crazy. She is also frightened of all my other chickens (although they never chase her), even the chicks and pullets. She is always on her own and at a distance to the other birds, never relaxed. If I enter the run she runs about crazy clucking loudly flying at the chicken wire - I am worried she will hurt herself.

    If I hold her she keeps struggling wildly screaming and its very difficult to keep a hold of her. I have tried treats, mealworms, sitting near her when she is in her crate, but nothing is working. Any tips?
     
  2. scratch'n'peck

    scratch'n'peck Overrun With Chickens

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    I bet no one replied right away because you have already tried all the things that they would suggest. If she is roosting in the coop and not in her crate with her roo anymore it will probably take a while. All I can suggest is to be really quiet and move really slowly around her and keep focusing the positive attention on her rooster along with the treats and sitting still nearby the rooster. Gradually she may learn that if he trusts you then maybe you are not so scary. She will probably always be more flighty than the others, but hopefully she won't be bouncing off the chicken wire when you are around. It will be interesting to see if anyone else has more suggestions.
     
  3. StarLover21

    StarLover21 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know you've tried mealworms, but this is what I would do. Get her on a schedule. Every morning or evening (pick one and stick with it), bring her a mealworm. Every day. After a few weeks she'll know why you came- to give her a treat, not kill her!
     
  4. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    Thanks, that sounds a great idea[​IMG]. Problem is all the other hens come running to me and are so quick eating the worms while she is running back and forth as far away from me as she can get.[​IMG]

    I think I will let the hens out to free range and keep her in the run and then offer her the worms. I will try this from today.

    She still is just as wild and crazy and ever. Maybe she is just a coward. I really can't understand why she is also so frightened of the chicks and pullets![​IMG]

    I will let you know what happens.
     
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Have you asked the previous owner what her behavior was like before she came to live at your place?

    I'm betting she was just as skittish. Some chickens just have a very strong distrust of people, and in you hen's case, other chickens.

    I have a Black Cochin roo Darrel who has this problem, although we have it pretty much whipped now. When he was five months old and hormones revved up, he decided I was going to maim and kill him every time I would try to touch him - total meltdown.

    The way I dealt with Darrel's problem was to segregate him in a small enclosure adjacent to the main run. He could interact with the other chickens but wasn't in with them. He had his feed in with him, but when it came time for scratch grain, the other chickens got their ration, but Darrel could only have his if he ate it from my hand.

    Slowly, over months, Darrel got comfortable eating from my hand. The next step was to touch him as he was eating from my hand. Bit by bit, he became comfortable with that, too. Now, when I need to pick him up, I slowly extend my hand until I touch him, then I gather him up into my arms with his head buried in my mid-section. As with as all my chickens, he feels very safe in that position.

    This is going to take time and a lot of patience, by it's doable. Think chicken whisperer.
     
  6. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes I am thinking she was always like that in her old home. I have 19 chickens and 5 roosters in total, got the odd pair here and there to add to my flock, and always found it easy to tame them.

    This pair of very different. The hen is so skittish and never seem to relax. Just run to a hiding place - get her breath back and run off to another and another.

    Even the rooster is not what I am used to. All my other rooster and typical roosters, but never aggressive to me. This new one was as skittish as his hen at first, but he tamed down a lot, only to change to being nasty. When I pick him up he will peck and bite my hands hard a few times and look really angry and make a sort of low screaming noise. I have 4 other roosters and none have ever done this sort of thing.

    I have come to the conclusion that they are rather inbred and this has had some effect on their minds! Rather like highly strung race horses. [​IMG]

    I put the hen in a small dog crate with food and water and sat it atop a garden table. I sat on a chair near to her with a cup of tea and a book to read. I stayed there reading and occasionally talking to her softly for nearly an hour. She never once calmed down - either flapping and throwing herself about at my slightest movement, or crouched clucking wide eyed in a corner. I don't think things will ever get any better with her. If I do breed from her I will use another rooster and put the eggs under a calm hen to raise the chicks and see if the offspring are calmer. Its a shame as she is very beautiful and a rare colour that has taken me nearly a year to get hold of. [​IMG]

    Thanks for all the help.
     
  7. StarLover21

    StarLover21 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds just like my Leghorn. [​IMG]She was pampered and spoiled her whole life- but still turned out life this. ah well.
     

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