They are NOT being nice to me!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bawkbawkbawk, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. bawkbawkbawk

    bawkbawkbawk Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm one of those silly people who thought she was going to have pet chickens. I'm not looking for house chickens, but I did want them to be tame so they'd be easy to handle and not intimidating for friends/family/children. I've held each of my four pretty much every day since they were a day old toward that goal.

    They come running at me when they see me - they are most definitely not afraid of me. And they greet me warmly after I've been away a few days.

    But they are getting WORSE rather than better about being held. My Delaware, especially, acts as if I'm hauling her straight to the stew pot when I try to pick her up. Flapping wildly and then going almost catatonic - won't eat anything out of my hand. After a few minutes they seem to calm down a bit, but we go through the same thing every time I try to pick one up, and they don't at all like me to pet them, either.

    I've read here on BYC about so many people whose chickens love to be held. Where did I go wrong?

    They're 15 weeks old. The EE is the tamest of the four, but even she has a little hissy fit when I first pick her up.

    Oh - and editing this to mention that when my back is turned, they will sometimes PECK at me! Not to be aggressive, I don't think - more to get my attention in hopes of being given a treat - but those beaks are getting big and it hurts!
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2009
  2. easttxchick

    easttxchick Lone Star Call Ducks

    Aug 3, 2009
    You didn't do anything wrong. Mine are the same way-some days they can't get close enough to me(sit in my lap) and other days they run squawking when I go to pick them up. I think it just depends on their mood at the time.[​IMG]
  3. txchickie

    txchickie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    I have several that will fly up and sit in my lap, on my shoulder, crawl on me if I'm sitting on the ground, etc....but if I try to pick them up it's ALL over [​IMG]

    However my 3 year old can pick up a select few and it's just fine with them [​IMG]
  4. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    A lot depends on what breeds you have. Some breeds are better for holding and cuddling.
  5. Mrs.ChickChick

    Mrs.ChickChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    North central Illinois
    From what I've read here on BYC, they seem to go through a stand-offish teenager stage. Mine are almost 20 weeks and they've definitely gone through it, but I've noticed that the ones that are getting ready to lay (doing the egg squat, red face, combs and wattles) are getting a bit more tame. Hoping that they'll all be more receptive to being held and petted soon! I wouldn't worry about it! [​IMG]
  6. We have a wild hen that ALWAYS comes up to see us.

    The rest could really give a flying bug.

    I have two silkies that i put up EVERY night. They scream and flap their wings thinkiing i am going to take them outside and chop their head off (thinking here).

    I must have done this about 200 times and STILL they protest.

    So goes the world of chickens. [​IMG]
  7. NotTheMomma

    NotTheMomma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well imo, chickens aren't meant to be all cuddly, lap chickens. Most all chickens view humans as a predator. No matter how much a bear was telling you it was safe to come for a hug, or what goodies it offered you to eat, you'd still see that bear as a predator! You don't speak language, and chickens don't speak English.

    Sure they know the sound of your voice, but they don't know words. Don't expect too much out of them in a friendship way, and you won't be disappointed.

    Remember, you are a predator. Humans after all eat eggs, and chickens. It's hard to fight against nature, and the chickens' built in defense means. Running/flying/or attacking if all a chicken can do to keep you from eating it. When that fails, they will go into another defense stage, and that is shock. Their bodies prepare for death so they won't feel the pain of the attack. Horses do the same thing. They completely give up, and wait for death.

    If you want something to hold, and cuddle, why not think about a kitten, or puppy? We're not predators to them, or at least not the domesticated ones. Chickens haven't evolved into the domesticated status of felines or canines. They might not ever. It's the rare chicken that enjoys being held, picked up, etc.

    It's not that they aren't being nice, they are doing what nature tells them to do. Don't take it personally. [​IMG]
  8. 19hhbelgian

    19hhbelgian Pigs DO Fly!!

    Apr 9, 2009
    New Tripoli PA
    I was also going to say that I have found mine seem to go through a phase. Right now I have an EE & a silkie that have been together since only a few weeks old. They are inseparable. I was always able to pick them up and hold them. Then they got a little older, and all of a sudden I apparently started to look more and more like an axe murderer, because they started to run from me rather than to me [​IMG] The silkie is still convinced I'm an axe murderer, but Maybel, my EE is once again running over to me looking for goodies [​IMG]

    I'm sure your girls will come around. Just keep treating them the same & don't stop spending time with them... Hope they get over themselves soon!! [​IMG]
  9. 19hhbelgian

    19hhbelgian Pigs DO Fly!!

    Apr 9, 2009
    New Tripoli PA
    Quote:Good point, but it kind of makes me sad [​IMG] What fun is having them if you're sure they will never want attention from you? I don't expect all my chickens to be cuddly and happy to be held, but I also believe that they will come to realize you feed them - that in itself goes a very long way [​IMG] It makes my day brighter when they simply follow me around.... Maybe I'm just easily pleased/amused though... Definitely easily amused [​IMG] Simple minds, simple pleasures right? [​IMG] Horses are naturally leery of people, but they change their minds if handled properly. My horses whinny every time they see me, and not all of them were fond of human companionship when I got them. It just takes a lot of time and even more patience on our part [​IMG]
  10. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    I'm happy if I get one to let me pet it, that's really asking a lot with these crazy birds!

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