Silly question: but does it hurt when chickens eat from your hand?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by maggiegigs, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. maggiegigs

    maggiegigs In the Brooder

    Jul 31, 2010
    My mother in law said they raised chickens when she was a child and would not let the chickens feed from her hand because they would peck her. Can anyone shed any light on this. My chickens will not eat from my hand yet ( I am trying w/raisins) and would like them to do so.[​IMG]

  2. herefordlovinglady

    herefordlovinglady It Is What It Is

    Jun 23, 2009
    mine will take from my fingers and have not pecked me. i have not had them take from my palm. but i would think they would peck and tend to hurt a bit. i have acrylic nails, and my hens love to try and take them from me. [​IMG]
  3. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio

    With the adult chickens, sometimes it does hurt when they feed from your hand. They're not trying to hurt you, but when they peck at the food, they sometimes pinch your skin. So I do toss the treats on the ground for the adult birds.
  4. swordgeek

    swordgeek Chirping

    Jun 23, 2010
    Westford, MA
    Mine take food from out hands all the time. Most of the time, we barely notice anything. They've got amazingly good aim, and peck gently. Sometimes, my rooster tries to take a bit of my palm with him, but I say, "NO! Prince, be gentle!" or something in a stern voice and he settles down. (I blame it on the fact that he can't see a thing.) It's kind of tickly, the way they all peck at the food. We love it!

    They've also been known to take food out of our mouths. [​IMG] Not on purpose - kid sitting with cheese stick in her mouth, or a ham sandwich, or a popsicle, and BITE. At times like these, we wonder whether to abandon our own snacks to the flock, or keep eating. Ewww.
  5. afishel

    afishel Songster

    Jul 15, 2010
    Spencer, Ind
    I agree with both chicmom and herefordlovinglady
    I left my flock feed from my hand usually treats Take bread for instance I hold in between my fingers and my roo and hens nibble it from my finger no pecking though
    then I place the bread in the palm of my hand and he will everynow and they bump my hand but it doesnt hurt it is more like an over judgement on their part! In my opinion! It is not intended to be mean at all!
    I myself enoy feeding the whether it is bread pieces or sunflower seeds or raisins whatever u choose.
    I started them out by sitting on the ground and tossing the treats not to far from me and work them closer then eventually they will be eating from the palm of your hand!!
  6. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

    Jun 11, 2007
    They are pretty vigorous and quick when they go for treats - whether the treats are on the ground or in your hand. My girls often pinch my skin, but it's so momentary and unintentional that it doesn't hurt. But I guess it depends on how sensitive you are. I wouldn't let a small fearful child hand-feed a chicken...
  7. woodmort

    woodmort Songster

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    You or the chicken?[​IMG] I have birds take blueberries out of from between my fingers and not hurt me. I suspect if there are a lot of birds and a limited amount of treat they may grab the wrong thing in their haste to get something.

  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Depends on the bird and their experiences with hand eating. Many of my young ones don't know how to take treats lightly, but many of the elders can clean every speck off your palm without hitting your hand. Expect a few hard hits here and there, but they'll figure out your hand isn't part of the treat.
  9. cindy99

    cindy99 Songster

    Jul 7, 2010
    Tioga County PA
    Try it - you'll like it! [​IMG]

    We feed our chickens from our hands all the time. The babies are fine, our rooster is very gentle but our hen (Snowflake) will dig the food out of your hand and put it on the ground and eat it. Snowflake isn't gentle at all - she is a little diva. [​IMG]
  10. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Quote:Exactly my experience.

    Feeding them their afternoon treats from my hands (palms) daily is one of my favorite things to do. I sit either in a chair or on the short retaining wall around my fish ponds, and give out handfuls of BOSS, or uncoooked oldfashioned rolled oats, or shredded mozzarella cheese.

    Other stuff I just toss in the run and stand by to watch. They range freely, with the older chickens further away, so this is one way for me to treat the youngsters - who are lower in pecking order - to something special only THEY get, instead of having to dash around the outskirts of a big chicken mosh pit with me at the center.

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