Taming hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lablover, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. lablover

    lablover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2012
    I've had all of my chickens since they were 4 weeks old or younger. I held them everyday as chicks, and even had the roos eating in my lap and roosting on my arms. The hens weren't all that friendly and once they began to free range, I could not catch them unless they were cornered against something. It is still like this today, some 9 months later. The roo is a perfect roo... respectful, easy to catch, and protective of his hens. The hens come when I call, follow me, and eat out of my hand, but I still can't catch them unless I have something to corner them by. Is there anything I can do?
  2. my chickens dont like me holding them either but i dont really try to make the,m like me picking them up
    maybe u could try petting them gently while holding treats in your hand and softly talking to them and then pet them more often so they get used to you touching them and then see if there is any difference when you try to pick ttehm up like them not running away or geting freaked out
  3. nwredrooster

    nwredrooster Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 3, 2012
    My experience with any animal is that when you trap them to touch them you only validate their fears. I would lure them with positive associations - food. Try to lure them into your lap with food as you sit and go from there without betraying their trust. A dog you can get to act out of respect and love of the pack leader(you) and so food often times is not necessary to create confidence (horses might be like this too -- I don't have any idea) but I think a hen will only act out of familiarity and comfort.
    1 person likes this.
  4. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2008
    Your hens sound like they act like normal hens--crowd around when you have food, not interested in you at other times.

    It takes real dedication and effort to have "tame" hens that want to sit in your lap like pets, and if you tame them and then stop petting them for a few weeks, they revert to not wanting to be touched.

    Food is the only way you're going to get hens to want to come to you. Take a lot of time to just sit down on the ground with some food in your lap. Wait until the hens come close to you, and toss some treats out while calling them. Use the same call every time, so they know it means food (we use "Here, chick chick chick!). When the hens get used to your tossing them treats while sitting, start tossing them closer to your body. Still don't try to grab the hen. Once they're good with that, try holding some in your hand. Still don't make any attempt to pet or grab the hen. Then get them to come into your lap. When they're comfortable there, hold a treat in your hand and attempt to pet (but not hold) with the other hand. Slowly, slowly, slowly is the only way you'll win this race.
    1 person likes this.
  5. Izzymoon

    Izzymoon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 19, 2012
    My Coop
    food, treats..for the win :)

    My girls were a little flighty, but once they started laying eggs they became really freindly. I only have hens. so I think they see me as the rooster. They follow me and come when called. I use food at the trigger. I started by laying out a trail of bread for them to follow me. Only took one time, now they run to me when I call :)
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2013
    1 person likes this.

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