My Chickens are terrified of me

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Moofjune, May 19, 2012.

  1. Moofjune

    Moofjune Hatching

    Apr 5, 2012
    My husband and I bought our hens as chicks. The feed store claimed they were one month old at that time. We held them every day, but they were so afraid of us. Now that they are out in the coop, they are totally terrified of our visits. They are now two months old. Is it too late to socialize them? What can we do so they are not panicked at the first sight of us? Help...
  2. Buckhunter76

    Buckhunter76 Songster

    Apr 27, 2012
    Brown County Ohio
    [​IMG] from Ohio, what kind are they?
  3. missinmee11

    missinmee11 In the Brooder

    Mar 16, 2012
    Nampa, Idaho
    How do you know that they are so afraid of you? What is their specific behavior's that you call afraid and terrified?
  4. jomoncon

    jomoncon Songster

    Sep 24, 2010
    New Orleans, LA
    I'm convinced that the way to a chicken's heart is FOOD!!

    I suggest you get some mealworms, either dried or fresh, sit quietly around the chicks. Then start tossing a few mealworms out, not too close to you, maybe 4 feet away. When the first one realizes how good they are, they will all come running. Toss them closer & closer. Then quietly leave.

    Do it again the next day. Pretty soon, the chicks will some running towards you when they see the container.

    BTW, my RIRs avoided me like the plague until they started laying. Then they became much more friendly.
    Last edited: May 19, 2012
  5. Moofjune

    Moofjune Hatching

    Apr 5, 2012
    Thank you for your replies. They are light bramhas. What happens is if they see us anywhere near the coop, they peep frantically, run into each other, jump on things,spill water, with the ultimate goal of taking refuge in their roosting box area. I try to be quiet and slow around them, and I spend time sitting near them without being too active so they get used to me being around. I am definitely going to get some worms... Thank u for that suggestion!
  6. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Light Brahmas are normally very people friendly. Yours weren't socialized to people, though, at the formative age. During that first week, they imprint on humans when hand raised.

    But it's never too late. Brahmas are also noted for their intense fondness of food in all forms. So that's definitely the doorway to their hearts.

    I would visit the pen several times a day, sitting on the ground so you're at their level. Toss the treats out at first to get them to associate you with food, but then hold it in your hands and make them come to you from then on. As they eat from your hand, gradually get them used to being touched. They'll soon associate being touched with the pleasure of eating treats. Soon they'll be all over you, as Brahmas enjoy closeness and cuddling. Make no sudden movements until they come to trust you, though.

    Raisins, tomatoes, watermelon, BOSS, grated carrots, are all huge favorites. Meal worms can get expensive.
  7. marlo1968

    marlo1968 Songster

    Mar 31, 2012
    Lorenzo, TX
    My hens love the dried mealworms. Jomoncon is right, every time my hens see the container...empty or full, doesn't matter, they come running wings out. I have Red Stars and Pearl White Leghorns adults. My 8 wk olds aren't so sure of the worms yet, only a couple will come close, but we're getting there. Keep trying, eventually they'll come around.

    Edited because I remembered something else, my 8 week olds love cantelope, they devour it. You might try that as a treat too.
    Last edited: May 20, 2012
  8. sbucciarel

    sbucciarel Songster

    Apr 16, 2012
    My Coop
    I definitely think the way to their hearts is through their stomachs. I got mine very young and throughout the first few months, from brooder to coop, they always acted panicky when I came around. I kept them in the coop from the brooder for a few weeks and daily feeding and watering, they began to trust me a little more. Now they free range and I can't go anywhere in the yard without a bunch of chickens following me. It looks pretty ridiculous. lol
  9. JesseS

    JesseS In the Brooder

    May 20, 2012
    Hmm... that happened to me as well. What I did was feed them worms. Me and my mom would dug some worms and put them on our hands (sorta disgusting) and fed thiem to the chicks. After a few days they where less afraid of us.
  10. Megs501

    Megs501 Songster

    Mar 2, 2012
    Flint Hills KS
    My Coop
    I agree w jomoncon and other posters. Food! I hand raised my 6 RIR girls, and they didn't mind me too much, but could still get a bit frantic when I came to visit them.

    One day I gave them a treat of some wild weeds (although they have access in their run...), the next a tiny bit of bread, and today some cantaloupe and cantaloupe seeds- they come running when I come out now! ;)
    Food food food, and I have found giving a regular chant when I go out helps. I just call "chiky chicky chicks" and tell them I have tretas. That may be silly and old timers may tell you that's silly, but I'd like someone to reassure me if I were a helpless chick. :)

    Good luck!

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