Socializing your flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Tacswa3, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. Tacswa3

    Tacswa3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Whats the best way to socialize your flock so you may handle them, pick them up, etc. In the event you need to treat an injury, give medication etc?

    Had mine a week so far, 13 weeks old. They will approach me but get out of dodge if I reach out to touch them.
     
  2. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's easiest to work with them once they go to bed. Spend 5-10 mins scratching them when they have gotten up on their roosts for the night. They won't run off and you can easily control their movement. Don't spend too much time at first. Progress to picking them up (wrap your arm over their wings so they don't beat you to death) and putting them right back down in the same spot. You should be able to pick them all up outside their run in a month.
     
  3. Tacswa3

    Tacswa3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thats a good idea, but I can barely reach the roost bar in the coop. Just the nature of the design when I bought it. Might be able to do some pets on the back.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Get a step to stand on.
     
  5. Tacswa3

    Tacswa3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Won't work. Roost is to far forward from the access door. Height isn't the problem, length is. Access door is a little small for me climb all the way in.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Oh, I get it. I just don't ever think of coops you can't walk inside, even though I know tons of folks have them.
     
  7. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I find that high value treats and a bit of patience can go a really long way.

    I have a small flock and usually get my birds as pullets so they don't tend to arrive very tame. For me, I have found that live meal worms are a treat no hen can resist. I will sit on the ground a decent distance from the bird with a big handful of worms and start tossing them to her. Stay quiet, still, and low and toss yummy treats. Slowly toss them a little closer and closer to you so she has to get closer to you to get them. When you can tell she is uncomfortable stick with that distance -- the next day push a little further.

    After doing this for an hour every day for a week I can generally get the birds to climb in my lap and eat out of my hand. You do have to be very patient. Don't chase them or run around. The more you interact with them the less they will be bothered by your presence.

    I am not sure how many you have but it helps to work with only a few birds at a time otherwise they will compete for worms.

    Also keep in mind that once your hens reach laying age they are generally easier to handle and a little less skiddish. They may even start squatting for you which can make things easier.

    In a pinch though, being able to handle them at night when they are sleepy really is a good option, especially for medical treatment. They go into a trance sort of state and seem much less stressed. Could you modify your coop and add a extra access hatch?
     
  8. JonB

    JonB Out Of The Brooder

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    I talk to and visit my little hennies all the time. They don't prefer being picked up or held, but they allow it if I need too. I interact as much as I can, and my birds know their names(all are pets). I think human interaction really brings out their personality. I can imitate their vocalizations enough that I get responses. I have a lot of fun with my chickers.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2013
  9. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have 85 chickens (16 roos and cockerels) OEGB, PRIR and Partridge Cochin. All are friendly and like attention in varying degrees. Sometimes they are too friendly- you bend over to pick something up, then a 10 lb roo lands on your head. lol

    I think the key is to spend some time daily with chickens, even if it's just a bit. I spend time with ours a few times daily, but consistently. We purchased our OEGB pullets at point of lay, and they were fairly wild then and used to only being in a cage, but I tamed them in about 4 days, and now they will fly to me if I make hand motions. Chicken are very smart- they have long memories but short attention spans so they get bored easily.

    Always be calm, act confident and sure, and talk friendly, in a relaxed manner. If I pick up a chicken I see that it is calm first, I always talk to them calmly while petting or holding them, and make sure the chicken is calm when it goes back down- very important to build trust. I don't feed them treats while giving attention because I believe ours get too stimulated by treats to be relaxed and enjoy. But, that's just my way of conditioning them. I want them to feel completely relaxed and safe while I am holding them- without distractions, so ours get treats at other times. Also, when things go wrong I don't want to have to be holding a treat for them to come to me.

    If any chicken acts upset while being held, I gently guide their head near my right shoulder (so they can't peck me) and whisper near their ear, "shhh....shhh....it's okay...." as calmly as possibly, and stroke the round feather muff softly so their eye closes in a relaxed state. They always calm down quickly from this conditioning as they stop fussing to hear what I'm saying. This is why we can pick up any of our roos and cockerels and have them stay calm without flogging us with their wings or trying to get away. I tell them how handsome they are, and they seem to like that. lol

    Just the day before Xmas eve, we had a vicious raven attack one of my favorite cockerels and poked his eye out! I ran to the bottom of the hill where our boy had ran to, and I whispered, "shhh....shhh....it's okay....shhh..." He didn't fight when I picked him up, but let me hold him resting his head on my shoulder, even though he was going into shock, moaning and trembling, but he didn't move. If we hadn't had trust built into our relationship, who knows how hard it would have been to catch him to treat his injuries?

    [​IMG]

    It is completely worth the time and effort, especially when you realize your chickens look forward to seeing you too.
     
  10. Tacswa3

    Tacswa3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Wow, thats impressive. Thanks for the post!
     

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