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"Training" to follow?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by barred2rock, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. Is it possible/likely to "train" chickens to follow you around the property (unfenced) to give them a chance to free range with your protection from predators? How would you go about this? Thanks in advance...

  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Use a can full of treats like scratch, shake it every time before you give some, otherwise saying whatever words you want before handing out any treat will condition chickens to the word and that it means goodies.
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    There may be some additional trick to it. During summer I can get individual adults to follow me about by periodically giving the bird a large insect morsel captured as I walk about. A group of young stags (about 5 months old) will follow me about if I walk slowly and expose ground by moving dead grass with my feet. The stags in that situation are treating me like a harem master. Another more reliable although not what you want is to take birds habituated to me to a location they are not familiar with such as a soccer field or park. The birds follow me around very well not unlike dogs. I take advantage of this when I take birds with a dog out to events where chickens and dogs are to be displayed for educational purposes.
    1 person likes this.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ehh....maybe, kinda....but I wouldn't count on it too much.
    Predators can hit even with human presence.
  5. CP Chicken

    CP Chicken Crazy about Turkens

    That's a really cool idea to train a chicken to follow you around but I'm not sure if it's possible!
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I don't think the issue would be keeping them close so much as addressing the predator part. If you've got a big predator load, it's still going to be iffy. Unless you've got a good dog, or a gun, or are extremely vigilant with a big stick or something, a wily predator can still snatch a bird almost right out from under you. We've seen video here of that....someone was just taking a video of their flock free ranging, the birds were all close, and a fox came out, grabbed a hen and took off, all before the person could react. Remember, the predator's lives literally depend on getting something to eat, so they're very good at it.
  7. tmarsh83

    tmarsh83 Songster

    Oct 16, 2015
    A fair portion of it depends on what your property looks like.

    Chickens, like most animals, are motivated by food and can be trained using the promise of treats. If they just equate you to being a walking candy dish, they'll follow you. My chickens come when called because they know "chk-chk-chk" means viddles. So following you around isn't the hard part.

    My property is an island. I'm hundreds of yards from the nearest woodline or fencerow. This time of year, a predator has to cover a minimum of 150 yards of wide open, barren ag field to approach the property. Even the most ambitious coyote doesn't want to do that, if I'm out there or not. But from May to October, when the crops are up, they have some cover to make an approach.

    You just have to know your spots.
    1 person likes this.

  8. Thanks all... I best keep them penned, I've seen coyotes as close as 30 yards to my front door & a black bear climb a tree (running from a neighbors dog) 5 yards from my place. I do have a dog, but she's all of 12 lbs & probably would like a taste herself.
  9. uzisuzuki

    uzisuzuki Songster

    Oct 30, 2014
    I've got mine "trained" to come when I call them and shake their snacks in their bowl, but I wouldn't rely on that to protect them from the predators. Mostly because I'm usually not near cover for them to be protected from predators.
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    You might want to seriously think about hot wire around your coop and run....bears love chicken feed.

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