Our chickens hate us. Help! :)

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jalen911, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. jalen911

    jalen911 In the Brooder

    Sep 4, 2013
    First time chicken owner.

    We got 15 week old pullets from a local farm. They are sweet, but I think I made a major mistake in getting "older" chickens, since we have to chase & catch them to handle them, and when we sit with one in our laps to pet & love it, it will sit still for a few minutes but then try to flap its wings to escape.

    Is there any chance for socializing these guys at this age or do we just have to live with the fact that my kids won't have the friendly "pets" we hoped for. I see stories of chickens following their humans around the yard, or coming when they're called, but so far our chickens just want to avoid us as much as possible. If we handle them a lot, will that help them learn to love us?

    Advice? :)
  2. Georgia Nana

    Georgia Nana Chirping

    Jul 13, 2011
    Kathleen, Georgia
    Just be patient, and take a treat every time you go out to the pen. Pretty soon, they will all come running when they see you coming! Catching them is a different story. Most Chickens really don't like to picked up. Once yours are "tame", meaning they gather around your feet as you feed them their treats and talk soothingly to them, there may be one or two that don't mind being picked up, but don't count on it. Some breeds like to be handled more than others. Good Luck!!
    1 person likes this.
  3. reckless

    reckless Songster

    Apr 4, 2013
    My Coop
    Try not to chase them too much! I've had my chickens since they were babies and they still run from me if I try to approach them or grab them haha. Just seems to freak em out.

    The best way for them to follow you if to offer them food in your hand. Raspberries and blackberries go over well. Chunks of watermelon. Cantaloupe, chunks of pears. Mine even go nuts for dandelion greens and grass. (their pen right now has no grass so I pick it for them).

    They always run up to me when they think I have something for them. Food is the best way I think. Whenever you see them, say something to let them know you are there, and then feed them. That's what I did with mine. I always go "Chickennnssss!" or "Babiiiiieeees!" as I approach and they all gather like, "FOOD? FOOD? FOR US????!"

    Of course, some breeds are more friendly than others. My Red Sex Links fall over each other trying to get to me. My Barred Rock is pretty skittish (I got her when she was older) but she is easy to handle.. my Australorp is the same but more curious. My Easter Egger is SUPER skittish but easy to handle once I get my hands on her. My silkies are pretty friendly too, my two roos, not so much.

    But handling will get them used to them. Hold and carry them a lot but try to make it an easy and comfortable experience for them or it might scare them!
  4. DLV58

    DLV58 Chirping

    May 19, 2013
    Hi, I got my girls at 5 days old,
    they are now 18 weeks and they still don't like to be caught and held
    they will come over and eat out of my hand. So I just give them their space
  5. Bullitt

    Bullitt Songster

    Jan 16, 2012

    What breed or breeds are your pullets?
  6. slatts

    slatts In the Brooder

    Aug 13, 2013
    I raised mine from day one and tried to handle them all from time to time to get them familiar with us. They are now 6 weeks. Its a mixed flock. My RSL and White Leghorn are by far the friendliest. The leghorn just flew up on my shoulder today! But the other ten are not nearly as comfortable being held. The BR and EE are probably the most skittish. I have read a lot about friendly and unfriendly chickens and I have found hardly any correlation to behavior by breed. They should come around some but no guarantees. Best of luck.
  7. Bullitt

    Bullitt Songster

    Jan 16, 2012

    Of course there can be individual variations.

    But I can say in general that a White Leghorn will be more flighty and more stand-offish than say a Light Brahma or a Buff Orpington. So there is correlation between breed and behavior.
  8. carrieb62

    carrieb62 Chirping

    Sep 16, 2013
    It takes great patience and practice. Some love to be held, have their little heads scratched, and some don't. The best one I ever tamed was actually a "wild" rooster. I worked with him everyday for at least 5 minutes minimum - and one day 14 days later he crawled right into my lap. Keep working on it, take the time get to know their different personalities and you'll be amazed at what they teach you! [​IMG]
  9. Alicatt

    Alicatt Chirping

    Sep 10, 2013
    catskills, New York
    this is my story as well, but they know I bring treats, I pick grass, cut up apples, now if I run across the yard they come flapping after me, haven't caught one yet though, if I want to catch them, I wait til roosting for the evening;)
  10. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Songster

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    I buy most of my birds as pullets because I don't want the time and space to raise chicks. Chickens aren't puppies and it is going to take a lot of time and patience for them to warm up to you. They are prey animals that act like prey animals so anything new, big, fast, etc is scary. Also, chickens do have a "teenager" period where they are grumpier and more skittish and 15 weeks is right in that window. They will be more calm when they are older and start laying.

    Don't chase them. The more you chase them the more they will be afraid of you.

    When I want to work on taming my birds I sit in the yard some ways away from the coop -- low, quiet, still and calm with a bowl of mealworms. (Any high value treat will work but make sure it is something they REALLY want). I start by tossing them worms from afar and let them eat them so they gets used to that and slowly toss them closer and closer to me. As soon as they seem hesitant I stop for the day. Then pick it up the next day -- each day getting them closer and closer and stopping when it feels like too much of a push. Some chickens will eat out of my hand in 2 days and some take 2 weeks plus but by the end they all will climb in my lab for treats.

    You can tame them and get them used to you but you aren't going to find a lot of chickens that want to snuggle.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: