1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Tips for Socializing Needed

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by imthedude, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. imthedude

    imthedude Chillin' With My Peeps

    319
    1
    121
    Mar 9, 2010
    CO
    What do you guys do to socialize your birds? I tried to hold them all a lot when they were still in the house in the brooder, but now that they've gone outside into the coop full time, they don't really want anything to do with me anymore. I had most of them eating starter from my hand. A couple still will but for the most part they back away when my hand gets close.

    Getting them in the coop can be a really great adventure too. There's usually a lot of chasing required with some cornering and quick grabbing involved. Don't really want to resort to this but it's about the only way I can get them corralled and into bed at night.

    Any tips? Once I get them caught and in my hand, most of them are fine and just chill.
     
  2. vfem

    vfem Yoga...The Chicken Pose

    7,325
    15
    264
    Aug 4, 2008
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Just let them see you everyday, several times a day... and bring treats, as they get even bigger, try holding them then.

    And remember.... TREATS are the key to AFFECTION from chickens! [​IMG]
     
  3. NurseDr

    NurseDr Out Of The Brooder

    Mine are about 5 weeks, one is standoffish always the last to be caught. I discovered yogurt, from the forum. I put it on my finger and they peck it off. The standoffish ones I wiped a small amount on there beak and they then started warming up and coming over for more. I have only done it a couple of times, but now the come over to my finger and start pecking.
     
  4. Andi

    Andi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Frequent handling, without a preceding chase, is best. I know, easier said then done. When mine were chicks it was easier than when they got to go out in the pen, too. I can't help but wonder if the adrenaline rush they get during the chase lingers too long to allow the chicken to realize it can be a pleasant experience being handled. Once mine started laying it got easier to pet them. They would do the squat and I'd be able to pet them then.

    I agree that food is a great motivator. One thing that I tried was just being very close when they got treats, trying to be touching them, when I could, while they ate. Not like petting them, but just having a part of me, whether it be an arm or leg didn't matter, as long as it wasn't my hand, touching them. Oh, and slow movements. That's what's helped with my girls. Granted, they each have distinct personalities and one of my girls still isn't crazy about being touched or handled. She's getting better though.

    I try to keep in mind that even people have varying opinions on enjoying being hugged. Just because chickens are born soft and fluffy doesn't mean they want to be snuggled. Also, keep in mind that chickens are prey animals. Its not a normal think to have anything else grab you or hold you unless you were going to end up getting eaten.

    Best of luck.
     
  5. cambriagardener

    cambriagardener Chillin' With My Peeps

    My hens weren't really tame until they were 4-5 months old. I began with holding carrot tops which they snipped off. then canned corn which I held out for them. My husband and I :thumbsupoften put a chair in the run and just sit there. Out of six, four of the hens will jump into our laps for petting. Two are downright snugglers. Two (the Wyandottes) do not enjoy being picked up. I'm sure you'll have some that become tame, and some will not. Good luck!
     
  6. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    8,535
    105
    303
    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Hey Dude!

    I always raise my chickens from day old chicks. This is because they are just so much friendlier. What I do to socialize them is (and you already do it) is hand feeding, picking them up every day and holding them, and believe it or not, I talk to them alot. Now, as far as getting them into the coop in the evening, that can be rough at first. Young chickens don't seem to know they should be doing that. So, if you wait until it's dusk (a little bit dark), they become very docile, and you can catch them easily and put them all inside, and lock them in. Then, just open their door in the morning.

    Now that about half of my flock are adult hens, I always call out to them when I go to the coop after work to let them out to free range. I usually hang out with them for a bit, and talk to them. I kind of squat down so I'm shorter and pet them....it's so rewarding because they just run to me! People think it's hilarious to see, and when we get company, they will run right up to people to say hello.

    Around dusk, the gals already know to go into the coop on their own, or they wait for me in the chicken run for a handful of cracked corn. Everything is pretty automatic now.

    Good luck to you. Hope you get some nice, tame chickens. [​IMG]
     
  7. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    5,719
    42
    283
    May 8, 2007
    Wisconsin
    I agree with all the other people. I think you'll all be a lot happier if you bribe them to go inside. Chasing and grabbing makes them more skittish around you. Treats make them more tame.

    You just can't beat Pantry Love! [​IMG]

    Find something they love to eat. Scratch usually works fine. Just use the same container and they'll recognize it and come running. It could be a bucket, feed scoop or a little baggie. They don't care. Just give out small amounts tossed on the ground and talk nice to them. It will be a pleasant experience for them and they'll look forward to those times. You can do it in the coop or run at first, or in the yard. When they are outside and you want to get them in the coop, you can just let them see the food container and they should run over to you. I don't even have to call mine, when they hear the front door open they all look up and run over! I give them a little snack as a reward and send them out to forage some more. When I need to lock them up early for some reason, I just show them the snack bag and they follow me right to the run. If I need to get them in the coop, I just go in there.

    If you need to get them in before you get them trained, you can always do the "trail of bread crumbs" method. Only sprinkle a tiny bit of food, move along and sprinkle a tiny bit, etc. That will still train them to follow you, too. Do they recognize the food scoop? Sometimes that's a good first container for using bribes.
     
  8. imthedude

    imthedude Chillin' With My Peeps

    319
    1
    121
    Mar 9, 2010
    CO
    thanks everyone for the replies. i'll have to put a little work into finding some newer treats for them to use as bribery.
     
  9. greeneggsnham

    greeneggsnham Chillin' With My Peeps

    213
    0
    111
    Mar 4, 2010
    Southeast Missouri
    My chicks favorite treat is mealworms. I got a batch from sillybirds on here and they all come running when I come in. They are only about 5 weeks old and just went out into the coop but they swarm me when I come in. They are kind of expensive if you get them from the pet store but sillybirds has them for cheap.
     
  10. Chieftain

    Chieftain Chillin' With My Peeps

    448
    4
    121
    Dec 21, 2009
    Every time I go out in the run, I offer some kind of threat from my hand. Usually a pinch of cornmeal is enough to get everyone over pecking it out of my hand, and my RIRs get pretty mean if I skip a day, and pinch my hand when I show up the next time. They will never be my "friends" per se, but when I stick my hand under a hen for an egg, I don't want to pull back a bloody stump either...

    I offer a variety of treats and alternate them to keep things interesting. Today they got mealworms. Yesterday they got fresh spinach leaves. Mix it up and keep it interesting...

    [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by