Will they ever be tame?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bullyforme, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. bullyforme

    bullyforme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello all. I'm a first time chicken owner, and I've always wanted some, finally the dream has come true for me.

    I purchased four 5-week old bantam st. run chicks two weeks ago. I'm pretty sure all of them are hens. The problem is that I don't think they ever had much human contact and they are frightened to death of me. Thankfully they've learned to use the ramp up into their coop because I was going nuts trying to catch them...I'd catch one and the rest would go into a panic; each hen harder to catch than the last. They're still confined to their coop & attached run, because I'm afraid if I let them free range I will lose them forever! I've been sitting by their run every day and it takes about 5 minutes for them to calm down and come close (through the wire) but if I move, they scatter to the back of the run again.

    From what I read here, everyone's chicks & chickens are much more tame and friendly than mine. Should I start over with little chicks? Will these hens ever lose their fear of me? Does anyone have any tips on overcoming this? Thanks in advance!
     
  2. JulieNKC

    JulieNKC Overrun With Chickens

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    My chicks are all terrified of me when they are little, no matter how much time I spend with them. The older they get the calmer they become. Around the time they start laying they follow me around begging for treats and will wait at the door for me. [​IMG]
     
  3. cptbahama

    cptbahama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    bullyforme-
    I feel exactly the same as you. And I raised my chicks from day 3 to present day (14 weeks old now) and they are all afraid of me. They won't let me near them when they're out in the yard. If I want to hold one, I have to corner it in the coop and catch it, then it screams bloody murder and the other hens freak.

    But we do let them out and they are clearly happy hens. They return to the coop every evening when dusk sets in, like automatic. I suspect yours would too. I think they are smart enough to know it's safe in there and food and water, etc..
     
  4. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    They are at the "don't kill me" age. They will calm down and get more friendly as they get close to laying. Bring them lots of treats - the way to a chickens heart is through their stomach!
     
  5. bullyforme

    bullyforme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's good to know, thanks for the reassuring words. I was hoping to let them out this weekend, maybe I'll give it a go! The dog will have to stay in though as she is another problem.

    My dog can't decide if she is defender of chickens or chaser of chickens (my goal is to have her see herself as defender, obviously!). She gets frisky around the coop, and then my 12 year old gets mad at her, and next thing you know the two are chasing each other around the coop and the chickens are even more afraid. Kids and dogs just don't seem to understand the Zen of Chicken Raising. [​IMG]
     
  6. aggie9296

    aggie9296 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Lots of treats. Eventually they will knock you over trying to get treats from you when you come out of the house.
     
  7. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ply them with yogurt and grapes and other yummy stuff and they'll soon be running to greet you! Even full-grown chickens can go from virtually wild to pets.

    Edited to add: I think (what sounds like) the chaos of dogs and kids running around their coop right now is likely causing them to feel more unsettled and fearful. They don't see playful critters and kids, they see monsters that just might eat them. Zen is good. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2011
  8. ginznchix

    ginznchix Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hatched mine and they're terrified of me! They're about 5-6 weeks old and everything terrifies them. But all my older chickens love me to death and these ones will too eventually (I hope!). If I sit quietly in their pen they will come around me after a couple minutes, but as soon as I move they freak out. Dopes.
     
  9. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I want to add that my six-week old chicks were terrified of me when I brought them home as little fluff balls. Every move was a cause for alarm. Now, they come running when they see me and don't run away when I stoop to pick them up. Last night, I realized how far we'd come when I was sitting quietly in their coop with them and something thumped against the roof (I think it was a pine cone); in a flash I had chicks all over me, on my arms and knees... They stayed there, still and tall, then relaxed and began preening, still perching on me. [​IMG] It made me ridiculously happy.
     
  10. bullyforme

    bullyforme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! I can't wait for ths day they view me as protector vs. predator! I will try and be patient and proffer many treats in the meantime.
     

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