My hen understood I was angry? They usually run away, but sometimes submit–how do I get them to subm

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by adamdport, Feb 29, 2016.

  1. adamdport

    adamdport Hatching

    Oct 4, 2015
    My chickens will eat out of my hand, but usually run away when I extend an arm towards them to try to pick them up. Yesterday, however, one hopped a fence and started digging through my garden. I was angry, and marched outside to chase her out of there. Much to my surprise, she seemed to pick up on my anger, and rather than running away, she bowed her head and spread her wings a little bit, much like I've seen chickens lower on the pecking order do for other chickens (generally before being repeatedly pecked). I bent over and picked her up without a chase, flinch, or even a squawk, and carried her back to the run.

    I wouldn't have guessed that chickens could "read my emotions", but I can't think of any other explanation. They have a very obvious body language with each other, but I don't have a neck to puff up or wings to push downwards to signal my mood. Are there any chicken whisperers out there who have learned what sort of body language chickens can pick up on? ...or do y'all think this was just a coincidence?

  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Edited because I read it wrong. Agreed that it was a submissive squat, not reading your emotions.
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
  3. MChicken1303

    MChicken1303 In the Brooder

    Jul 29, 2015
    Southwest Ohio
    My Coop
    She did not know you were mad. She was squatting, they do that when they think a rooster is there.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Yes, submissive squat.
  5. Amina

    Amina Songster

    Jul 12, 2013
    Raleigh, NC
    It was a submissive squat, yes, but in my opinion, it's possible that she picked up on the assertiveness and purposefulness in your body language and that's why she decided to submit. Chickens do seem to respond to confidence and assertiveness, even if they don't understand anger.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  6. lynnehd

    lynnehd Songster

    Jan 1, 2015
    Vancouver, Wa.
    I agree. @adamdport mentions that they don't squat when he reaches out in the run area.
    It was a submissive squat, but the chicken also knew the 'head chicken' was angry.

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