Training my chickens to be easy to catch?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by VNH, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. VNH

    VNH Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 13, 2011
    I'm still new at this. I have two RIR pullets are 3 months old and 3 EE's are 2 months old.

    I'm trying to train them to be easy to catch by trying to keep them close to me (when they're out of their cage & coop in our small fenced backyard) by showing them the good spots for bugs. If I start to "scratch" in the dirt they'll come over to see what I've found and I can usually gently catch them while they're distracted looking for bugs. I'm also trying to take them (one at a time) from the coop for about 15 minutes of one-on-one time to pet, talk softly, look for bugs for a few minutes and then be picked up again for more gentle scratching and talking, another bug hunt, pick them up and then back to the coop.

    Can chickens be trained to be comfortable around humans and choose to be close enough to them to be easily caught, or do they all turn a little wild and become harder to catch as they get older? I make "cheep-cheep" noises when I show them food, but they don't respond to verbal cues, they only respond and come when they see me scratching for bugs.

    Ok, I'm probably nuts and I try not to do my mother chicken antics when anyone can see me. I don't know if chickens can be trained.

    Is there anything else I should be doing with them to make my life with them easier in the future?
     
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Put some scratch in a can, shake it to make the sound, then sprinkle some on the ground. They learn to associate the sound with goodies. That is how we train them to come from all corners of our acreage whenever we want. They start "scratch can training" about 10 weeks old, with just a tiny bit of it and they learn fast.
     
  3. bawkbawkbawk

    bawkbawkbawk Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think the handling and proximity are a good tactic. I found that mine got very flighty as adolescents (kind of like human teenagers!) and then settled down again when they started laying.

    And some of it is breed - I've never had RIR's so I don't know how friendly they tend to be. My EE has been the friendliest to humans of the four breeds I've raised thus far.

    Good luck!
     
  4. yinepu

    yinepu Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:Chickens can be trained. In the early 90's I had a white leghorn rooster that was given to me as a day old chick. I carried him around in my pocket.. talked to him.. and named him "Fred". As time went by Fred would come into the house when called.. hop up on the couch and watch TV.. when he needed to go "do his business" he would go out the front door.. finish.. then come back in and hop back up on his place on the couch (yes.. he was potty trained). He also loved to go riding in the car.. sitting on my lap while I drove and only looking up and out the window when we would stop. Our local bank had a drive through where the ladies who worked there would hand out the little doggy biscuits to anyone who came through with a dog in the car.. They had to laugh the first time they met Fred.. and after seeing him a second time, one of them brought in corn to slip into my bank envelope for him. Fred had his ladies in the yard and would go out and tend to them. But all I had to do was walk out in the yard and call him by name for him to come running like his tail was on fire. He was very spoiled. One night a possum came up and attacked the hens. Fred gave his life to protect his girls. He loved to cuddle and sit on my lap.. and even though he was spoiled and knew he was a rooster.. he was always very sweet to everyone. He was a very strange and unique bird. And one of the few that I ever had that I would have called a "pet".
     
  5. southerndesert

    southerndesert B & M Chicken Ranch

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    Jun 17, 2011
    Morristown, AZ
    Quote:Chickens can be trained. In the early 90's I had a white leghorn rooster that was given to me as a day old chick. I carried him around in my pocket.. talked to him.. and named him "Fred". As time went by Fred would come into the house when called.. hop up on the couch and watch TV.. when he needed to go "do his business" he would go out the front door.. finish.. then come back in and hop back up on his place on the couch (yes.. he was potty trained). He also loved to go riding in the car.. sitting on my lap while I drove and only looking up and out the window when we would stop. Our local bank had a drive through where the ladies who worked there would hand out the little doggy biscuits to anyone who came through with a dog in the car.. They had to laugh the first time they met Fred.. and after seeing him a second time, one of them brought in corn to slip into my bank envelope for him. Fred had his ladies in the yard and would go out and tend to them. But all I had to do was walk out in the yard and call him by name for him to come running like his tail was on fire. He was very spoiled. One night a possum came up and attacked the hens. Fred gave his life to protect his girls. He loved to cuddle and sit on my lap.. and even though he was spoiled and knew he was a rooster.. he was always very sweet to everyone. He was a very strange and unique bird. And one of the few that I ever had that I would have called a "pet".

    Thanks for sharing that one... Great story of a noble bird. They will indeed charge into death to protect their girls.
     
  6. R_Chickens

    R_Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 19, 2011
    Quote:Why yes, it can be easy to catch you being trained to act like a chicken [​IMG]

    Ours come when we open the coop door and can't wait to see what we are doing or have. Some come right over and let us pick them up, others have to be cornered, but then let you pick them up.

    I haven't tried clucking and scratching like a chicken, though. I have seen the dance at weddings [​IMG]

    Thanks for the chuckle!

    - JC
     
  7. meekasmom

    meekasmom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I happen to have 2 hens that came to my yard as strays. They were afraid of me at first but once I cornered them I caught them one at a time and petted and talked to them for about 5 minutes and each of them followed me around after that. Soon they learned their names and anytime I couldn't find them while they were free-ranging, I would call their names and they would come running to me from where ever they were. They let me pick them up anytime I want to. So, yes, you can train chickens.
     
  8. debontheweb

    debontheweb Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 17, 2011
    White Rock BC
    My Spangled Hamburg hen comes when I call her and comes running to me when I go to the yard. She does this little squatting routine and lets me pet her. I pick her up every day and hand feed treats to her. Also I pick up my pullets everyday and feed them. The purpose is so that they know and trust me and I can handle them if they need attention. Plus , I like holding them.
     

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