New chickens - Am I trying too hard??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by UKChickInNZ, Jan 6, 2014.

  1. UKChickInNZ

    UKChickInNZ New Egg

    Jan 4, 2014
    Waikato, New Zealand
    Hi fellow chicken enthusiasts!

    3 days ago I picked up some new chickens (3 x 4 month old black silkies & 4 x 9 week old buff orpingtons).
    The reason I chose these breeds were because they are apparently both quite dosile and can be very friendly. I would love to have chickens that come running to me or follow me around :) :)

    I have read lots on this (AWESOME) website about how to befriend your chickens, but don’t know if I’m trying too hard since we have only had them for 3 days and I should let them settle first before trying to make friends?

    Day 1: After getting them home my partner and I picked up and stroked the chickens one by one and let them explore their grassy run. However we then had to chase them around to catch them and put them in their coop (probably not the best first impression!)

    Day 2: The chickens don’t leave their coop at all today, I wonder if they are having trouble figuring out the ladder/ramp or if they just want to stay in there. They have food and water in the coop. Keep in mind its Summer here in NZ so it must be quite warm in the coop (although we have installed vents). Fed them some cooked oats which they went nuts for and came closer to me to eat (although were still skittish). Despite wanting really badly to take them out of the coop and have them run around on the grass, I left them in the coop to do their own thing.

    Day 3: The chickens still haven’t left their coop when we return from work so I try a ‘follow the breadcrumb’ game and sprinkle chicken crack down the ladder/ramp. One silkie seems to understand and leaves the coop but the others don’t. We end up having to chase the silkie to put her back in the coop (arghh!!)

    I have sat in their run and talked to them for a while and they are coming closer than before.

    Basically what I’m asking is.. should I wait a few weeks until I start trying to befriend them? As I suppose they are in a completely new environment. I just don’t want to leave it too late!

    Thank you all! :):)
  2. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    A new home is very stressful for a pullet. They are going to need time to get used to their new digs and to calm down a bit. I would let them be for at least a week without any additional pressure. They will come out and start exploring on their own slowly with time. Shut them in for a week so they know where "home" is. Once they get used to sleeping in a place they will automatically go there at night--you really don't want to be chasing them if you want them to want to be around you.

    Time, patience and food are the way to win their hearts. I will usually sit in the run with meal worms and toss them some slowly closer and closer to me every day over the course of a week or two (after they have gotten used to their home) and eventually they will eat out of my hand. Its a slow process of gaining their trust and them learning you are the great food provider.
  3. UKChickInNZ

    UKChickInNZ New Egg

    Jan 4, 2014
    Waikato, New Zealand
    Thanks very much for your reply, yes I thought I should probably leave them alone. I just thought perhaps they didn't know how to leave the coop - but the door is open for them so I guess they just want to stay inside. I bought some dried mealworms online and threw them some last night and they gobbled them up (although they went even crazier for scrambled egg!)

    Thanks for the advice - I will lay off and not label myself an awful mother straight off hehe :)
  4. Chickens R Us

    Chickens R Us Chillin' With My Peeps

    To get my chickens to come near me I put scratch in a coffee can and shake it while calling chick,chick,chick and then throw them the scratch, I do this everyday. Now every time I go in the coop or run they mob me and I love it.
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by