Taming 9 Chickens????

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by citychickinthecountry, May 21, 2010.

  1. I have 9 chickens that are about 11 weeks old. They aren't exactly scared of me, but I want to tame them more than they already are.

    I'd like to find out if what I'm doing is the right thing...of course, having 9 chickens, I know this will be a long process. Plus, I have a few questions at the end.

    Each day, I'll pick up one or two of the most wild chickens and hold them for a few minutes fairly close to my face. I'll speak softly to them and pet them. Of course, I'll tell them the normal "mommy" things like "it's okay; I love you; I won't hurt you; etc.".

    1. After about 3 or 4 minutes, each bird tries to squirm away. Should I let them get away so they don't start becoming afraid of me, or should I keep holding them for a longer period of time?

    2. How long should I hold each bird?

    3. How long should it take to tame a bird? The birds (bantams and silkies) will come up to me when I give them bugs to eat, but when I try to pick them up, it's a bit of a chase....especially with the Polish. Ugh!

    4. At what point should I say, "hey, this bird is getting too stressed. I should let them go and try this again later"?

    5. The most tame of this birds is what I believe is a rooster. Each time I try to pick it up, it's nips at me. Is there any way to stop this behavior?
  2. noodleroo

    noodleroo Snuggles with Chickens

    Apr 29, 2010
    Rockport, Tx
    If these were chicks, I'd do something different. As teenage/adult birds that already don't want to be picked up, I doubt that they ever will. But that doesn't mean that they can't be tamed; they'll just have to come to you.

    At this point, if you chase them down they will think of you as a predator.

    #1 rule to follow at all times: Don't chase, ever.

    Sit in a chair and hold a treat ( a small piece of bread works ) about 'chicken head high' near your feet. Put only one treat at a time in your hand. If the chickens want the treat they have to come close to you. The one that gets closest gets the treat. Once the others see that being close gets them the treat they too will come close. Once you have them all close, hold the treat about your knee high so that they have to 'jump' for the treat. Soon all or most will jump for the treat. Almost done. When all will jump for the treat, hold the treat where they can see it over your lap. One will jump in your lap and continue to give treats in quick succession to keep the chicken on your lap. It should take about a week to get from your feet to your lap. Consistancy and reinforcement of the fact that only good things happen when they come to you (NOT being chased) is what will tame them down.

    Do this every day and they will become more and more confident that you are a good thing to be around. Good luck.
  3. TwilightMom

    TwilightMom Songster

    Mar 23, 2010
    Livermore, California
    Quote:This will work for sure. This is what I did too. Treats for reward. Pretty soon they will come running when you arrive, no joke!
  4. noodleroo

    noodleroo Snuggles with Chickens

    Apr 29, 2010
    Rockport, Tx
    We just did this with a flock that someone abandoned and dumped on our road in the country. (Yes, dumped!) I did this with them and you should see them now. They run to us when we drive in and if we don't stop at their coop or where they are foraging, they chase our vehicle down the dirt road! The cows do the same thing. Its really almost embarassing.

    P.S. I don't recommend taming cattle by the way; they are nice to cuddle but if too many get around you they can mash you accidently...chickens-no problem....

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