Mixed behavior towards humans

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by protoman, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. protoman

    protoman Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 5, 2013
    North East
    Hi all, this is my first time raising chickens and I'm having a grand old time! I am curious to how hens should normally act around people. I have 8 hens and 1 of them is a bantam. I then have 3 orange, 2 black, 1 white, and one salt&pepper (not 100% on any of the breeds). Overall they don't seem to dislike people or human interaction, just most of them prefer to not be touched or patted or held. The two exceptions to this are the bantam, which tends to act more like a parrot and sit on you, and the salt&pepper one who is the largest hen and just doesn't care one way or the other. Then the orange ones are not too picky but prefer to be left alone. The black ones HATE being touché or picked up and the white one is almost impossible to get close to without cornering it.

    Is this normal or is it a breed thing or what do you guys think? (All chickens get the same interaction other than the fact that the ones that don't want to be touched tend not to be touched as much as I don't want to "annoy" them.)

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  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Sounds quite normal to me!

    If you want them to be comfortable with being held or petted, you need to handle them a lot, starting when they are young. It takes a bit of a careful touch, bribing them to come to your hand rather than catching them, approaching from the side instead of above as much as possible, so as not to set off their prey bird avoidance instincts.

    At this point you can easily train them to come to you, if not into your lap, simply by offering a treat every day or two, and using a consistent call each time. It won't take long before your "here, chicky" or whatever brings them running to you whether you have treats or not. They may even accept their regular food as a treat of tossed on the ground... at least at first. I use black oil sunflower seeds, which give a fair amount of protein. 10 hens get a handful or two each day. They cost more than feed, yes, but I only buy a bag every few months. This is what scratch is for, which they usualy love, but it's usually not as nutritious as their feed.
     
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