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raising people oriented chickens

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by faykokoWV, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. faykokoWV

    faykokoWV Mrs Fancy Plants

    Nov 4, 2008
    Cross Lanes, WV
    OK, so everyone on here has pictures of them holding their chicks on their shoulder and the kids playing with the chicks in the yard.

    how do you do it?

    The last two sets of chicks I had ran from me all the time and wouldn't let me hold them unless I chased them down. I would spend an hour a day with them, just sitting next to the brooder and picking one up and holding it, then the next one. But every time I reached back in to the brooder they acted like it was the hand of death coming for them.

    They are all older now (about 10 weeks) and still don't like to be held and I have to chase them to pick them up, even when treats are around.

    I have one adult chicken (5 mo old) that will sit on my lap, and she didn't do that until she started laying. I have 5 other adults about the same age that I don't have to chase to pick up and they will come around when I have treats, but aren't super friendly either.

    Is this a breed thing or did I do something wrong when they were chicks? I have a new batch coming next week and I'd really like to get them more people oriented and friendly so please give me some advice!!

  2. rhodiegal

    rhodiegal Songster

    Feb 18, 2007
    North Georgia
    In my experience it has always been personality and not breed or handling. In the last batch of 15 chickens I received, two of them do not run away from me and let me pick them up and touch them without a squabble. In the past, I can think of 1 RIR hen and a Tyson meat bird roo that were super friendly and would follow me around. I have deliberately ordered certain breeds for 'friendliness' (like Buff Orp hens and Light Brahma Roos) and learned they were not very approachable. Right now, my friendly hens are a Brabanter (which are supposed to be skittish), a Russian Orloff and a Cochin Frizzle Bantam.

    Anyway, in my own experience - it is all personality, not breed. The amount of handling did not make a difference here either.
  3. PeepsInc

    PeepsInc Songster

    Jun 18, 2009
    NY Tri State region
    I have a bantam OEG that is a midget. She's to small to fit in with her BOEG siblings. I think that's why she looks to me for protection. I always shoe the other birds away from her when she got picked on. She is the only chicken I have that comes to me simply because "she loves me", as my friends put it. She will ride on my shoulder for hours when I take her for car rides or to visit my friends. The rest of my flock will surround me and stand on my feet when I feed them bread from my hand. I started hand feeding them with mulberries. No chicken can resist mulberries. Once they get relaxed,I'll grab one up and lay it on it's side in my hand,so it has no footing. Then I gently pet them until they get comfy and fall asleep. Then gently set them on the ground. They realize they like it after a while. I have one little bantam roo that despises me for this tho. He does not like to be picked up. He flares his neck and gets all sorts of miffed off. Personally I find him funny when he does it. It could also be the countless hours I've spent sitting there watching them this year. Every time I hear an upset bird I call my dog for assistance and run to there aid. There always friendlier when free ranging. They've learned that's when they need my protection the most.
  4. ~*Sweet Cheeks*~

    ~*Sweet Cheeks*~ Songster

    Mar 12, 2009
    Medford, Oregon
    I started with 10 pullets last Feb. I sat for hours sitting at the brooder just talking and slowly putting my hand down in the brooder without approaching them at first.

    At 3 wks old, I started holding meal worms. Well, they LOVED me after that. I couldn't open the top without them flying up, out, on my arms, back, lap, etc. ALL but one EE that ended up being a roo. He NEVER got a snack from my hands.

    I rehomed the two EE's that ended up being roos. The eight remaining hens are now 30 wks old and still very friendly. Gather around my feet and legs whenever I go out to let them out or to give them a snack in the run.

    I even have a BR that went broody that's been sitting in the nest box for 3 wks that lets me take the egg she's sitting on and pet her without growling. She growls at the other girls if they get too close.

    Same with my three banties I raised 3 months later.

    Never lunge to pick them up. Just very slow movements. When you do pickup your new little ones, scoop one hand in front between their legs and bring the other around their butts - very slowly and then put them down the same (and not when they fuss or they will learn fuss equals being put down).

    Good luck with your new fuzzy butts.
  5. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    I don't think how you raise them as chicks has much impact. I get the same results whether I handle them daily and let them wander around the house with me as if I ignore them in a large brooder outside. Out of one of the batches I ignored I got 2 very friendly bantam hens that you can just walk up to and pet or pick up. It's mostly personality which means you need to find someone with friendly chickens to get friendly chickens. The only thing I think that helps is feeding treats after they are grown and spending time in the yard so they know you aren't a threat. Mine got a lot friendlier after they grew up, calmed down a bit, and started realizing people can bring food. Now birds that panicked at the sight of people as young birds follow you about to see if you've got anything good.
  6. KMHunter

    KMHunter [IMG]emojione/assets/png/2665.png?v=2.2.7[/IMG] Cr

    Jun 12, 2009
    My Coop
    I hand raised 2 of my girls, got one that was a few weeks older from a friend,and she was not handled much. They all are friendly now that they are laying. Each one got calmer and friendlier as they got older. But the BO, who was supposed to be the calmest and friendliest is the most skittish. My two youngest girls are about 4-5 weeks younger. They are very wary of me. I am hoping tht as they get older they will settle down some. Keep feeding treats! I think this works the best.[​IMG]
  7. muell112

    muell112 Songster

    Feb 4, 2009
    Bangor, ME
    What kind of chickens did you get? this is my first year with chickens and I got a whole array of mostly "docile/friendly" breeds to try out. I visit with them each day for probably an hour total and some really seem to gravitate to attention more than others. For instance, my buff cochins, araucanas, and sicilian buttercup. One of my mottled houdans is very friendly and the other tolerates me. Others that are more aloof are my jersey giants, salmon faverolles, and buff orpington. The polish roosters are friendly. We have 2 cornish crosses that didn't get put in the freezer and they are actually awesome pets, the hen especially. I don't pick them up because they are too fat but they let me groom them (if you scratch on their back under the feathers the hen gets all puffed up and starts preening). My interactions typically include feeding them, picking them up and petting them. If you give them treats every time you come in maybe they'll start wanting to hang out more.

  8. faykokoWV

    faykokoWV Mrs Fancy Plants

    Nov 4, 2008
    Cross Lanes, WV
    First group of chicks

    BO, EE, BR, Red Star, black Jersey Giant

    2nd group

    Turken, SLW, Buff Minorca, BR, Blue Andalusians, Egyptian Fayoumi

    The group that are coming next week are Barnevelders, Welsummers and bantam Silkies. Overall, should be a friendlier group I would think.
  9. Kieyamama

    Kieyamama Songster

    Aug 23, 2009
    I can't keep my 3 year old away from them! These chicks are getting held a lot!! Who knows how they'll turn out.[​IMG]
  10. Rocky Top Chick

    Rocky Top Chick Songster

    Feb 2, 2009
    North Carolina
    when we had chicks we used a large cardboard box and put a hardware cloth lid on top. Then DH cut two huge windows on each side and covered with Plexiglass. We had the plexiglass fixed so that we could drop it down and reach in from the side. I had read that reaching in from the top will scare them. Anyway, whenever we would drop the window all the chicks would scramble out and climb all over my DH. The are very friendly now at 5.5 months old.

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