Skittish Chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Apopka Cluckers, Jan 1, 2009.

  1. Apopka Cluckers

    Apopka Cluckers Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 29, 2008
    I have 8 chickens in my coop now and I got them when they were around 3 or 4 weeks old. They are around 13 or 14 weeks old now and getting big.

    These chickens are really skittish whenever I walk in the coop or even approach the coop. I understand that this may be because I did not handle them everyday when they were younger but I was wondering if there was anything I could do to make them more receptive to human interaction.

    If I stay in the corner of the coop for 10 to 20 minutes than they will start to move around and get closer but never close enough to touch. If I kneel down than they will come ever closer but on move will send them flying to all ends of the coop.

    I plan on getting more chicks later on and I don't want this to happen to them as well so any advice you guys could offer would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. allisojo

    allisojo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was worried about something similar with my young ladies. I handled them regularly when they were young (4 -12 weeks old), but several of them would still freak out when I entered the run or the hen house. Well, they're getting a bit older now, and they're starting to come out of their shells, so to speak. They now run to me when I bring them treats, and they demand attention, etc. So I think they just needed to grow up a bit to be comfortable around me. A few of them are about 20 weeks now and they're just wonderful, despite their skittishness when they were young. Every day they get more and more fun. Maybe yours just need a little time too? Just a thought. Good luck, and happy '09!
     
  3. lalaland

    lalaland Overrun With Chickens

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    It isn't too late! Frequency helps, as does bringing them treats whenever you come to visit, water, etc. That means each time they see you (ok, checking them at night when they are on the roost doesn't count). Start by making a sound each time you come - a whistle, a call, the rattle of a treat can, and give them treats. Start by tossing them the treats - expect them to run from what you are throwing, until they learn you are throwing food. Gradually throw the treats closer to you, til you are dropping the treats at your feet. Avoid sudden movements, of course at all times around chickens.

    When you have them coming regularly to you, start bending down and offering food in your hand. Sit with treats....lure them with food. Pretty soon they will come running to you, even in a coop.

    Also be aware that skittish chickens get scared of hats, sunglasses, blowing scarves....

    Treats can be anything - bread, cold cereal, dry oatmeal, crackers, scratch, raisins, etc. Keep a box of crackers/oatmeal/ etc in the coop, or by the door on your way to the coop so you always have something handy.

    Enjoy!
     
  4. Farmer Brown

    Farmer Brown Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Raleigh, NC
    Treats. Lots of treats. Especially having them eat out of your hand. We have a few girls who were older when we got them and are way more skiddish than others. We give them sunflower seeds, dry oatmeal, or cracked corn. We are making friends quickly. Also, try to handle them more. If you get more little ones, do handle them a lot. Good luck!
     
  5. crazyhen

    crazyhen Overrun With Chickens

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    Mine responded to loaf bread. A slice is heaven to them. At first even throwing bread frightened them now they come running to eat it from my hand. One is still less friendly. I got them at 4 months. Jean
     
  6. Fresh Eggs

    Fresh Eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello,


    I advise you to patiently coax them with treats and talk in a nice, calm voice. Do not make any sudden movements, for that will scare them!!! In time, they will trust you.
     
  7. Omran

    Omran Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    I agree with other Backyarder treats treats and treats ,I have the same situation and now they start to get better with me at least they are not flying away when I come to the door.


    [​IMG]

    Omran
     
  8. Apopka Cluckers

    Apopka Cluckers Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 29, 2008
    Thanks everyone for the advice. Looks like I'm off to get some treats.

    I hear everyone talk about corn ... is this corn like from a can or some other variation of corn? Is there anything that is dangerous to feed them that isn't really obvious?

    Omran ... I was planning a feeder like your pipe feeder. How is it working out for you? The one I was planning was going to have a 4 foot upright pipe for filling but you don't seem to have an upright. Do you just fill the middle for them?
     
  9. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just feed my girls dry cracked corn. I get it at the pet food store in the wild bird section. It's harder to digest which keeps their bodies warmer in these cold, frigid temperatures.

    My girls were total lap chickens although since the weather changed and we're outside less with them, they are a little more hesitant to let me pick them up. When I do, however (and I try to pick them all up at least once a day even when they resist), they quickly forget and cuddle in to my coat - I'm warm.
     
  10. CityChook

    CityChook Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Coop
    also, there's a great treat chart on this site by Buff Hooligans. Go under the search function and you'll find it.
     

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