Taming A Flighty Cochin?

Coturnix Quail

Songster
Jul 3, 2016
673
300
181
Hi! I've been thinking about this ever since my Cochin started avoiding me. So, for some odd reason, ever since I moved my 3 month old Blue Cochin into the coop, she started to avoid me for no reason. I wanted one of her breed because I thought they were friendly, but she is the complete opposite. I try to pet her or even reach for her and she runs away. Oh, when I pick her up, she screams and flaps her wings so hard, its a struggle putting her in the coop everyday. All the other chickens, even the untame meat birds, go in without a fight! It just bothers me how every single chick of mine come up to me for pets almost everyday! She's the only one that straight runs from me, and it bothers me because as a chick I spent a lot of time with her! I don't know if I should keep her, or sell her. Also, how can I help relax my BR Bantam and EE Bantam? The EE Bantam doesn't mind if I pick it up or cup my hands around her and pet her with me thumb, but she only comes to me for mealworms, which is ok! :thumbsup My BR Bantam was a runt, so I didn't want to bother her too much as a baby, so I get it if she's a little afraid because she does let me give her a few pets. :rolleyes: But I don't know if I want to keep my Cochin because she HATES me. If I want her to be 'tame', I have to separate her from the flock, and pet her to sit on my lap, and even then I feel like she doesn't like being with me. :( While my Buff Orpington and EE follow me around inside, and outside of the coop, my Australorp gets pet every now and then and does follow me sometimes too, my EE Bantam will come up to me every now and then to inspect my hands and I give her a little pet, my BR Bantam will stare at me and sometimes walk up to me because the other chicks do too and I'll give her a quick, gentle pet. The only one who REALLY doesn't like being with me is the Cochin, so please help, I feel love for her but she doesn't feel the same, and I want a whole tame flock! I know every chicken has their own personality, but I just can't handle her running away from me! Even the roos and the other meatbirds run to me! So please, help!
 

Lady of McCamley

Free Ranging
10 Years
Mar 19, 2011
7,491
5,540
502
NW Oregon
Animals don't like or hate in the way that people do. They either feel comfortable or uncomfortable, threatened, or not threatened. Their instincts are much more basic than human emotions. (I say this after many guide dog projects and animal training sessions and livestock keeping).

Some birds definitely are more relaxed naturally around humans and put up with, even enjoy, being cuddled and petted. Some are less so, especially if they are smaller or more fragile.

If your bantam Cochin is avoiding you, it may be that somehow you have connected in her mind something fearful. You may have pressed her too much when she was younger or as you transitioned her...just as a shy child pressed too much by a stranger can become stranger fearful....or had a scary incident with a dog and now all dogs are scary.

You might wish to separate her into an isolated coop, with a buddy who is friendly to you, and not handle her for awhile. Try simply sitting down on the ground and letting her become calm in your presence. Allow her to approach you instead of you approaching her. She can watch her buddy come up to you and eat out of your hands. That will entice her to think about doing the same. Always remain calm, slow and careful around her body space. Let her approach. Treat with meal worms when she does.

In time she should no longer run from your presence. She may never enjoy being cuddled in the manner you may wish her to, however. If she doesn't, then you will have to decide if you want to keep her or re-home her. However, trust must be earned with animals, and it is precious when we receive it.

LofMc
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,828
34,456
1,122
Colorado Rockies
Funny you should be having this problem with a Cochin. I had a standard Cochin rooster that was so flighty he practically flew apart at the seams when I tried to handle him, total and complete meltdown.

@Lady of McCamley has given you some excellent advice, and I'll just tell you what I did with my Cochin to rehabilitate him.

It was quite a number of years ago, and I was brand new to BYC. There was a member at that time, olychickenguy, who was a chicken psychologist. He has his own web site now and posts chicken training videos. Anyway, he coached me for six months with this rooster, and the result was a complete transformation.

As a chick, this Cochin did not want to be held, unlike the other Cochin I got at the same time, who happened to be a pullet. When he came into his hormones around six months, he became fearful and mistrustful in the extreme.

Basically, what I did was to start out, as @Lady of McCamley says, by just sitting with him and letting him feel comfortable around me. Then I would offer him treats by tossing them nearby. From there, I encouraged him to take them from my hand. At first he refused to eat from my hand, and that was okay.

After a bit, he began to take the treats from my hand, and we did that for about a week or two. I didn't move to touch him. Trust was building between us.

Then the day came when I reached out and lightly touched him as he ate from my hand. From there, after another week, I began to stroke his chest. He became comfortable with that, and after another few weeks, I was able to very slowly and carefully pick him up.

While he never was one to want to be held, he finally trusted me to handle him when it was necessary for examinations and spur trimming.

It took a long time and a lot of patience, but it was worth it. I'm sure there's hope for your Cochin, too.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
11 Years
Sep 19, 2009
26,388
17,766
856
Holts Summit, Missouri
Also avoid direct eye contact with chick. Use your peripheral vision. If the pen approach suggested above is used, then elevate it so you do not tower over birds when in close proximity. I use insect based treats in small amounts and I look away while in close proximity. Your delivering small amounts of quality eats frequently with soft tones while speaking. The vocalizations can make a huge difference. My birds even suffer my attempts at chicken language which surprisingly complex.

Avoid grabbing bird at all. Most of my birds, especially those trained or used for public display are not grabbed in any way. Such an approach reduces control at first but can result in greater trust later.
 

Coturnix Quail

Songster
Jul 3, 2016
673
300
181
Thanks for all of your help guys! Today my Cochin came up to me and was just scratching around with the other chicks near me. I can't exactly seperate her because I don't have an extra coop, but I could take her out with my most tame birds, which are my Buff Orpington & my EE. I guess I'll try working with her, but I'm not sure if it'll work because she just seems so stubborn. I'll try feeding her a treat out of my hand. She doesn't like mealworms though, so what should I offer? She's so fluffy, I just want to pet her but she won't let me. :(
 

Lady of McCamley

Free Ranging
10 Years
Mar 19, 2011
7,491
5,540
502
NW Oregon
Thanks for all of your help guys! Today my Cochin came up to me and was just scratching around with the other chicks near me. I can't exactly seperate her because I don't have an extra coop, but I could take her out with my most tame birds, which are my Buff Orpington & my EE. I guess I'll try working with her, but I'm not sure if it'll work because she just seems so stubborn. I'll try feeding her a treat out of my hand. She doesn't like mealworms though, so what should I offer? She's so fluffy, I just want to pet her but she won't let me. :(

Feed her whatever lights her up...strawberry tops, small bits of cheese, for my rooster it was frozen (thawed) whole kernel corn.

Play around until you find the...I'll walk over coals to come get this....treat. That will help in helping her see you as a good place.

Be aware, some birds, like some people, just don't like a lot of hugging (or in the case of animals, petting).

LofMc
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,828
34,456
1,122
Colorado Rockies
Well, as far as cuddly, fluffy huggables, get a stuffed toy. Chickens may look cute, but they're animals with their own agendas. If you want to have respect and cooperation from any animal, you need to respect them and their needs.

As far as treats, you'll just have to experiment. Chickens are individuals with individual tastes. What works for one may not work for another. But some favorites are grated raw carrot, shredded lettuce, uncooked rolled oats, raisins, melon, grated cheese, and grated raw squash. Stay away from bread. It can cause crop disorders. But keep trying the meal worms. Some chicks take a while to warm up to new foods.
 

Coturnix Quail

Songster
Jul 3, 2016
673
300
181
Okay, thanks. I know most of my chicks don't like being smothered, but I just want to be able to go near her without her running. She doesn't like trying new things, so I guess I'll try coaxing her into trying something. She's also very shy. Usually while the other chickens are doing something all together, she'll be on the far end of the run, going about with the other shy chicks. (I only have a few.) She used to be so tame! I don't know what happened to her. She would sit in my lap for hours and sleep! As a chick, I took a soft cloth and put it on my lap and then put her on top! She would be well behaved and sleep, but now all she wants to do is run! I don't get it!! I guess I'll experiment with fruits and veggies and see if I can get her to eat anything. Well, do you guys have any other things you want to say to help me? I feel like I'm going to need a lot of help on this if I want to tame her.
 

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