Skittish Chickens


In the Brooder
Nov 7, 2018
i have a new flock (had chickens in the past but had to give them up so am starting again from scratch) and they’re totally terrified of me. In fact, they hardly leave their coop and come out into the run. They just want to stay in the coop. If they are out in the run and they see me they just run right back into the coop. I’ve tried luring them with treats but they freak out even when they hear the seeds and cracked corn I’ve brought them scatter around. I spend time with them every day but they aren’t improving. I have 1 14 month old Blue Laced Red Wyandotte, 1 approximately 16 week old silver Wyandotte mix, one 14 week old Olive Egger and 1 13 week old Americauna. Any suggestions for trying to get the girls to be more outgoing?


Certified Procrastinator
Jan 14, 2018
I’ve personally had progress with skittish birds, just by sitting with them in close proximity, such as in your coop, where they can’t get out, and are forced to be near you. If you just sit, then they should clam down, to see that you don’t pose a threat. Personally I’ll jusst sit, read a book or look on my phone for about 20 minutes, sometimes with some treats, and allow them to become use to my presence. After that, I start holding them for those 20 minutes.
If they are not interested in treats, try using chicken feed BEFORE they get fed. I feed at night, and they are very hungry before I feed, so a handful of feed and they all come running, and though some are cautious, almost all end up eating from my hands.
I hope you girls get used to you soon!!:fl It’s always sad when your birds run from you:(


Nov 6, 2017
South Carolina
I have had the same problem and DelaneyMGB25 had great advice I did just what she suggested and it worked for me it took a long time and a lot of patience but they came around. Once I found their favorite treat [ or weakness ] I used it to get them close and calm them down, keep them hungry they will respond better, remember chickens aren't the brightest creatures around


Scarborough Fair
6 Years
Jul 3, 2016
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Keep in mind their age is also working against you... even if you had raised them from chicks they're at the age where they'd be most skittish.

I agree with the above advice, the best thing to do is simply sit with them and ignore them, and allow them to come up to you. Once they start getting more used to your presence you can try offering treats, starting with tossing them or offering them in a dish that's further from you, then once they decide they like the treats, gradually tossing them closer or offering from your hand.

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