Sad that my chickens don't really like to be touched.


8 Years
Aug 8, 2011
So I guess I'm going to be venting some frustration here.
Basically in reading so many stories on here about other people's chickens being friendly, wanting to be held and loving attention--I find myself sad b/c ours aren't like that. We have 2 breeds as of now: Rhode Island Reds & Partridge Plymouth Rock. Well I guess 3 maybe, for our rooster seems to be Game. We got them all at 3 months & the RIR are a good size bigger than the others so we put the RIR's outside in a coop & the others inside. We got the PPR's & the Game out everyday or every other day & held them, etc. So after about 2 months we put them outside with the others. Side note: I don't believe the RIR's had much human contact b/c we got them from an old farmer who had many chickens. So I can see why they don't really like attention. Anywho, the PPR & the Game didn't really mind being held while in the house, in fact the rooster was the most tame, he would let my daugther flip him on his back & he would just sleep in her arms. So now when we go out to see them they walk away from us & try to run when we pick them up. Once we get them they fight a little, mostly the hens, but otherwise we can hold them without many problems. I just wish they were more loving & would come to us when we go & visit them. I'm not sure if they act this way b/c of the type breeds they are or if it's because we didn't raise them from egg/chick or if this is just typical chicken behavior?? Either way it makes me sad & wishing that things were different. Anyway, I love my babies & will continue to show them affection even if it is not returned.
Just remember from their perspective even if they know you, you are a predator. You are above them, which makes them 'aware'. My girls are as tame and friendly as can be, but if I move too fast, or heaven forbid wave anything in the air (laundry the other day caused a MAJOR kerfluffle) I am public enemy #1. Treats treats and more treats. I used to carry raisins in my pockets.
Good luck. Move slow (not like stalking slow, but don't rush at them) spend time sitting on the ground around them.
dont worrie all chickens have there own behaviour and it can change tothe way they feel my two BO were from a loving home who handled themevery had they areat mine and they run a mile when they see mecoming , yet my two warrens i got from a farm where they had no contact and lived in a barn from day one follow me around everywhere and will always gointot he house and lay inforn of the fire with my dog when you dont watch them!

i also have a little man i got from1 day old chick and fromday one he has been a scared andstillis i do allsorts of treats and soft talking and he runs away when he can see me inthe house !
I am sorry that your babies are not as friendly as they could be. But having not raised them yourself, many times this is the case. They can be stand offish. If you had got them as day old, worked with them, many breeds become super friendly.

Now, even friendly breeds sometimes do not like to be picked up or held. I have 4 Australorps that are the friendliest birds on the planet! They beg to sit on my lap, I can pet them and they just love attention. However, they HATE being picked up and will run like the devil away from me if I want to pick them up. They squirm like I am going to eat them when I hold them. (I have been working on them lately and they are better). So do not judge a chicken as to whether it likes to be held or not.

However that does not mean that you can not work with them and get a few of them to get on your lap and such. Go out into the run with their favorite treats, like bread or raisins. Sit down on the ground against something so your legs are spread out forward. Show them these treats and tempt them over to you. Offer a few and get them used to you. Some may warm up, some not. But eventually you may get some of them on your lap. Work with the ones that are the friendliest.

Food works wonders on chickens. They are obsessed with it. Just move slow around them always, sit with them everyday and you may be surprised that one of them becomes a lap baby.

Good luck!
Thank you for your response. I never thought about myself as being a predator to them but you are exactly right. I will say that now that they are in the new/bigger coop my daughter can get a little excited when going in there (she is 4 so you can imagine). I am definitely going to try sitting on the ground & I guess I will have to get some "chicken coop only pants" lol! Thank you for the tips!
@chickchicks & twocrowsranch: thank you both for responding! I am starting to have some hope with all this great advice! I can't wait to try all of your ideas!

They are definitely obsessed with food, lol! It seems like all they do is look for food. It's pretty comical at times!
I've raised all of my birds from day one and only my geese are still friendly. As all the other birds matured they become quite anti social.
We have 22 chickens all with varying degrees of friendliness. I will say that the exotic birds (Polish) were handled the most as chicks, but our Barred Plymouth Rocks have always been very curious and unafraid while our Rhode Island Reds are extremely cautious. As mature hens, we have no trouble picking up the BPR but still are challenged by the RIR. In fact, one of the RIR does not have a leg band because I could not catch her.

So like others have said, it may be a combination of early handling and breed characteristics. Food does help, but make sure it is not at the expense of the healthy balance feed they need to make eggs and replenish their systems.
It's harder to have a relationship with your hens when you have a rooster. Flocks without a rooster will gravitate towards their person. With a rooster they focus on the boy. Also, often the rooster will threaten the hens if they spend too much time with you. I have a friend who had a friendly flock of hens. Then she got a rooster and everything changed. If you want to have close relationships with your hens, then I suggest having only a few girls, and no boys in the flock. BTW, I have a video of how to pick up a chicken here. Also, in my blog I talk a lot about living with hens.


We had a flock without a roo and they all were very friendly towards us. Then we increased our flock last year and added two roosters. They are great roos but the do not allow the hens to hang around us much and usually only for a bit while we feed them treats. After that they lead them off into another part of our yard.

I'm good with that though. I'd rather have 2 roos that treat the girls well and protect them than have hens I can pet.

My lone turkey hen follows me around and even flies over the fence and runs into the house if a door is left open. No tom so I'm her BFF!!

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