training chickens for voluntary flight

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by centrarchid, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    18,039
    2,774
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I am training some young chickens (presently 3 weeks old) to make voluntary flights on que to land on my arm. Presently I am using meal worms as the enticement / reward. Flights which can be repeated every minute or so are now 8 to 10 feet horizontal from a standing position. Goal is to have much longer distance flights by same birds as adults.

    This may seem a bit extreme but wanting distance to be more than a couple hundred feet (horizontal) with at least some gliding. Birds of this strain can easily beat 300 feet and land in a tree when flushed but where they end up is not realiable and I do not want to chase them down afterwards which can get tiresome for me and is hard on birds. I really want them to fly to me.

    Anyone try something silly like this?

    Ultimately I want to film this from multiple angles.
     
  2. BrewedInNh

    BrewedInNh Chillin' With My Peeps

    221
    3
    111
    May 11, 2010
    Southern NH
    Sounds very amusing. [​IMG] What breed are your birds?

    One of our production reds likes to fly up to my shoulder. I didn't train her to do this, she ambushed me the first couple times until I got trained to act like a landing pad.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    18,039
    2,774
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I am quite serious. We practice every evening for about 15 minutes. Chicks (n = 2) in training are American Games. I just got some red jungle fowl chicks from Cackle Hatchery this morning which will begin training in two weeks. I am not familiar with trainability of such nearly wild birds. As I understand, thier temperment similar to leghorns so they may prove too flighty.

    My American Dom chicks do the ambush thing as well. Especially when I stand in one place too long or sit in lawn chair while working on computer. Seems like same thing they do to their mom when she stops for a bit.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2010
  4. BrewedInNh

    BrewedInNh Chillin' With My Peeps

    221
    3
    111
    May 11, 2010
    Southern NH
    I have no doubt of your serious intent, and didn't mean to make light of your efforts. I think any enjoyable attention (to the birds) is great. I'm sure they love it. I used to train pups for a breeder, and although it seemed like tedious, repetative work to us the pups loved the attention.

    One of the reasons we got chickens is because we find them very amusing to watch. A bird trained to perform on cue sounds even better. I hope you're completely successful. Maybe we'll get to see it on YouTube?
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    18,039
    2,774
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    You tube is likely destination for a video clip. Ultimately want very long flight in soccer fields where distance, flight time and speed to be accurately determined. Might even try for spot in local paper if birds do not chicken out.

    They definantly like what is going on now. I am trying to train them to come when I call their name. So far they do not know respective names but already they do not fly out of brooder until I start talking. Otherwise they almost ignore me.

    When they get full, they simply fall asleep on me.
     
  6. tuesdays chicks

    tuesdays chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2010
    stuart florida
    I think I understand why you want to do it but why do you need the distance? my girls come running when I call them anyway and yes they do fly to me but they dont land on me and they fly because its faster then running.
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    18,039
    2,774
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Doing this to demonstrate flight potential of at least some breeds is more than generally believed. Some folks I have communicated with deny flight capacity observations I reported. Also want use same birds in class room as teaching tools. landing on me gives control needed in such an environment.

    Flight definantly faster but energetically costly. Longer distances they cheat by running. Chickens like to cheat.
     
  8. tuesdays chicks

    tuesdays chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2010
    stuart florida
    I thought chickens didn't fly much because they are actually too heavy for their wings my andalusian flys very well and so does my campine you should try those breeds in your test.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    18,039
    2,774
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Quote:Some breeds seem to be very poor fliers. Wings / feathers of some too small. Many seem to weak while others seem afraid. Meat and dual purpose birds not balanced out right for level flight. I am not familiar with andalusians or campines. American Games I am using have to fly well to avoid predators under conditions we have been raising them. I will look up breeds you suggest.
     
  10. greenshade

    greenshade Out Of The Brooder

    20
    6
    23
    Mar 26, 2010
    This is a fascinating thread. What class do you teach? And is the Holts Summit in Missouri?

    My Ameraucana likes to fly up and land on our arms, but currently she is obsessed with laying - she's not quite there yet, but she spends a lot of time in the nest box!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by