Why are my chickens so skittish and wild?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Smartie_Pants, Oct 5, 2008.

  1. Smartie_Pants

    Smartie_Pants Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2008
    Madisonville, KY
    I have 7 chickens that are so bad about it.

    2 BR's (1 Hen, 1 Roo)
    2 EE's (1 hen, 1 roo)
    2 Ancona Roos
    1 Jersey Giant


    When they were little I handled them alot and they were never skittish, except for the two EE's who were always skittish. Then when they went outside I would feed them treats and they came right up to me. Now if they even catch you looking in their direction they go running like a lightening bolt across the yard.
     
  2. cyrixlord

    cyrixlord Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 25, 2008
    Monroe, wa
    Perhaps you could constantly expose them to new things while they're young (not just to you). dogs, cats, hamsters, kids, dogs, rocks, grass, etc

    That might desensetize them.

    my australorps are unphased at fireworks and even pick at the cardboard pieces that fall into my yard the day after. Oh, they also think they're dogs. they have 2 german shepherds and a pit bull they have to deal with everyday.


    http://tamanaka.com/MainGallery/ImageAndCaption.aspx?ImgID=128
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2008
  3. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    I am going through the same thing with our 6 week olds. They are outside now, and fine, but the run from me until I catch them, then they are fine.
     
  4. MagsC

    MagsC Queen Of Clueless

    Jul 27, 2008
    Minnesota
    Sometimes its the breed or just the personality of individual chickens. I know treats will often get them to be less skittish?
    If my chicks think I have "goodies" they are anything BUT wild!
     
  5. Smartie_Pants

    Smartie_Pants Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2008
    Madisonville, KY
    Perhaps you could constantly expose them to new things while they're young (not just to you). dogs, cats, hamsters, kids, dogs, rocks, grass, etc

    That might desensetize them.

    my australorps are unphased at fireworks and even pick at the cardboard pieces that fall into my yard the day after. Oh, they also think they're dogs. they have 2 german shepherds and a pit bull they have to deal with everyday.

    They grew up as chicks in the house with my mini-dachund and their pen now is butted up against the pen our two rat terrier mixes live in. I was worried that would be a problem so there are several layers of wire between the two, but the dogs show no interest in the chickens at all. Now the last batch of ducklings was another story. Besides the dogs they are also exposed to about 8 stray cats that have decided they want to live in our yard full time now and a really old begal hound that they lay with in the shade sometimes.

    I am an only child, but the neigbors on both sides have kids that run and play pretty close all the time.

    When I offer them treats, the run to get them but they will only come within about three feet of me. Then I have to toss them the treats or they just go away empty handed. I don't understand becuase I hand fed when they were little and after that fed them treats by my feet.​
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2008
  6. AngieChick

    AngieChick Poultry Elitist

    I had one like that. It took weeks of me giving her treats, she gradually got closer and closer. These were high impact treats, we're talking mealworms, soldier fly larvae, and sunflower seeds (I broke out the big guns). Now she will come right up and won't squawk like I'm murdering her every time I touch her. Last week she even jumped up on my lap. One thing I've learned in my short time having chickens is that the way to their heart is through their stomachs.

    Good luck.
     
  7. rebecca10782

    rebecca10782 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2008
    Ours were like that to. The way we tamed them is by taking them inside to hang out with them for a few hours every night. It is much harder and messier when they are full grown but we just let them roost on the chair and put paper towels under them. I still need to get diapers. We just got some month old babies that were very untame. So we have been bringing them inside every night. I just put a rag on my lap and and they all fall asleep. It has only been two weeks and they are already tame. Actually toooo tame, our manchester terrier loves to chase [​IMG] He will nudge the cats (that let him) with his nose, and he chews on them with his front teeth. We find chunks of cats hair that he pulls out [​IMG] We only have one cat that lets him do it, he refuses to run from him, so Jager will just sit there and slobber all over him for hours. So anyway, tonight all the babies were roosting on the side of their tub and Jager was nudging the babies with his nose and chewing on there feathers [​IMG] they could not care less. We even bring our hen in (her friend just died, so she is lonely) and she falls asleep on my lap with her head hanging off my lap [​IMG]
     
  8. rebecca10782

    rebecca10782 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2008
    I didn't see the post about them growing up in the house. Pehaps someone or something came in and terrerized them. I still think the best way is to bring them in at night. They are all pooped out from running around all day and want to sleep. If you put a heater in front of you, they will relax more and fall asleep, ours do anyway.
     
  9. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Quote:Why so many roosters?

    The roos have it in their heads that if they should react to everything as a "threat" - it keeps the hens in line [​IMG].

    If the JG is a hen, you've still got 4 roos to 3 hens :eek:.

    I'd think that there would be a good deal of posturing, harassing, bullying and outright violence in the chicken yard especially towards the hens [​IMG].

    Steve

    edited to correct syntax
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2008
  10. AngieChick

    AngieChick Poultry Elitist

    Wow, I just noticed how many roos you have. The rule of thumb is 10 hens for every rooster. That many roos is going to cause big problems for you, your hens, and the roosters themselves. If you can't rehome, I have heard of people separating the roos into a "bachelor pad" successfully. But, with that many roos with the hens they will be constantly fighting each other (and you) for the hens. They will also all try to dominate the hens, which could have disastrous results.
     

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