Chickens Stories from Our Nest

How to Train a Chicken

Tilly and I

Naturally, chickens are apprehensive of humans.  They have every right to be, don’t you think?  They are fearful.  They are cautious.  They are skittish.  It takes time for them to become accustomed to their caretakers and human family.  They need to develop a bond with you and trust that they are safe in your presence.   It also takes time for them to accept you into their flock.   Chicken, just like humans, have their own personalities.  Some enjoy being handled, others prefer to sit near you and others are entirely aloof to any handling.  This is the case with all flocks.

We have a mixed flock in a many ways.  Not only do we have different breeds, we are blessed with multiple personalities as well as some very lovable chickens and others who could care less.  Two of our chickens, Autumn and Dolly; were purchased when they were 4 months old.  The others we raised from the beginning as day old chicks.  Over time, Dolly has become incredibly lovable and Autumn is never interested in human contact.  She is entirely content with her chicken family.  They meet all her needs.  Tilly and Sunshine enjoy being handled as well as Feathers and Fifi.  Dottie Speckles enjoys sitting on my lap but is always in a hurry to get somewhere.  As soon as she sits, she is off onto the next adventure.
As expected, it is easier to train day old chicks.  Spending time with them from the beginning, handling them frequently, observing them and teaching them how to roost, drink and eat are certainly bonding experiences.  The baby chicks imprint on you as their parent.   As the chicks grow, so does the bond.  It is only natural that a loving relationship develops between the chicks and their human family.  However, this does not mean that you cannot teach an old bird new tricks.

I am a firm believer that personalities cannot be changed. Therefore, even an unaware chicken may be a snuggler and not even realize it!  It is up to you to “activate” that part of your chicken’s brain.  If you follow the techniques below on a regular daily basis, by the end of the month, you should soon discover who enjoys human company more than the others.  There are four essential parts of creating the right environment for training your flock.Set the Mood/Ambiance 

1.  Get comfortable.  Have a seat where you can sit and spend some time, at least 20 minutes with your flock.  It can be a plastic chair, a couple bales of hay, whatever you prefer.  Just somewhere you can sit and be still.  Do not move around.  Do not make large sudden movements.
2.  Quiet times.  Be sure you are in the coop during quieter times.  Not first thing in the morning, when the chickens find they need to frantically inspect the run for any new bugs that have arrived since they went to bed.  I find it is best in the late afternoon.  Be sure there is nothing around the coop that could be potentially scary for the flock.  Put the dog inside.  Turn off noisy machinery, radios and the like.  Create a zen-like atmosphere for their training.
3.   Treats:  I suggest grapes and raisins.  Only share these treats with the chickens when you are ready to sit down in the coop.  At no other times should they receive these treats.  Condition the flock to know that these are special and only available when you are present.  You’ll see, soon enough, they will practically throw themselves at you to get one of these sweet treats!
4.  Talk it up.  Talk to them like they are newborn babies.  Let them get used to your voice.  Repeat certain phrases and words to them.  This helps their brains connect your words with their feeling safe and getting treats.
Begin to Train you Chickens
 
1.  Enter your coop and take a seat.  Keep the treats in a small cup in your lap.  Gently call the flock over one by one.  If they are at first hesitant, drop a few raisins close to your feet and remain still and quiet.  Once they come over to investigate, gently speak to them.  Drop a couple more.  Then put a couple in your hand and place it low by their heads.  See if any will take it from your hand.  Keep doing this everyday if possible.  After a few days, the flock should recognize what you are doing and come to expect your visits.
2.  Once they are comfortable eating out of your hand, during the next time they eat out of your hand, see if they will let you gently stroke the feathers on their backs.  Keep doing this for a few days.
3..  Once the flock is comfortable eating out of your hand and being petted at the same time, place a couple raisins or grapes on your lap and wait.  Don’t be surprised if some of them jump up and eat.  Pet their feathers on their backs.  Keep doing this until they are comfortable.
4.  Finally, after they are comfortable on your lap, try to pick up one of the chickens.  With your hands wrapped around their wings and your thumbs over the tops of the wings, gently guide them to your lap and reward them with a grape or raisin.
It does take time and dedication on your part, but yes, you can train new and old chickens to discover and enjoy time with their human family.  After the chickens become familiar with you, then you can introduce other family members and train the chickens to like them using the same steps that you did.  With a lot of time and patience, you will soon discover at least one snuggler in your flock.
 As always after handling your chickens, be sure to change your clothing and wash your hands thoroughly. Also wash your face, if you were lucky enough to get some chicken hugs!


Photo Credit:  4Jphotography
  • I can't wait to get started! I've got raisins in the pantry and I'm setting an alarm on my phone to remind me to go out before the sun starts to set and my chickies head in for the night. Thank you for this AWESOME post!

  • You are very welcome. Please keep me posted Claire on how things progress. It will be interesting to see which of your flock members warms up to you!

    • Anonymous

      I didn't know chickens liked raisins so much! I have a young rooster and do you know if there is a way to make them nicer?

  • Oh wow! I'm so glad I made my rounds today! I loved this post and loved all these little tips.
    I WAS DOING ALL these things…and then IT happened.

    The WHOLE family (Honey and the grands) all wanted to help feed the chicks. Well, the next thing you know I'm feeding them grasshoppers, that they'd otherwise catch on their own if they could be let out (another story)…anyway. When I step into that chicken coop– with a shopping bag full of grass hoppers caught by The Husband and the grands… it's a feeding frenzy.
    Have you ever seen the 'handlers' feed the sharks at the aquarium?
    It's like that.
    Only way less dangerous,for me!
    I think I'm back to square one.

    I think I can still feed them the hoppers, but I need another system so that feeding them one at a time would be a treat! They love the hoppers. (I personally think they are gross)

    Thanks for posting this. Loved it.
    (sorry to hi-jack your comments.)
    Pat

  • Pat, I love your comments, long or short! What a story about those grasshoppers! Try the raisins or grapes. They might be easier. I have faith that it will all work out for you and your family!

  • For my chickens raisins didn't work but crickets sure did they trick. I bought the large crickets at a nearby petsmart for 11 cents a little pricey. I was wondering if you can tell me how to catch some crickets. 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Always let your conscience be your guide….

      No seriously, catching them is a pain, it is cheap and easy to breed your own, though!

    • Anonymous

      If you have a mom and pop bait and tackle store nearby, they usually have crickets.

  • Not sure hippocheeseman. I think chickens are the best catchers of crickets. Try dried mealworms too. Chicken go crazy for them as well.

  • Deb Harton

    Canned organic corn did it for my girls and boys. They also adore corn right on the cob! It is a very special treat and I love to watch them enjoying it! All I have to now is say "chickchicks" and they come running & follow me like dogs! I almost have them trained to jump up and take it from my fingers individually as I call their names (the gluttons of our flock don't like this so much!)…so FUN!

  • What a great tip Deb! I just shared some corn and lettuce with the girls this morning. They were in heaven.

  • Anonymous

    I have just recently found your site and in love…. 🙂 I cannot wait to get my chicks in! This is all I can talk about! Cute blogs! Thanks!!!! -Laura

  • Anonymous

    thx you for the tips yuo know rite

  • Amy

    Thank you for this post. Most people on the internet are telling people they have to start with newly hatched chicks. I have rescues, and have yet to have a baby chick, and we spend hours each day snuggling and petting. They are very open to the idea of being a companion if given the opportunity. All it takes is a little patience :).

  • Anonymous

    I think it makes for less stressed birds, therefore happier ones.
    You will find they are better than dogs!

  • Anonymous

    Can you train your chicken to love you like a dog would love you?

    • No one in this world can be trained to love. It is something that happens naturally-a feeling from the heart. That being said, yes-chickens are capable of feelings including love and yes, some do show affections similar to the way dogs love people.

    • Dogs love you because you provide food. Same with chickens or any other animal.

  • Connie

    I have always talked to my girls like my babies and they are my shadows when I come into their yard. Most squat down right at my feet allowing me to pick them up. They nuzzle and purr at me! I have one, Butter, who will get in my parka hood and walk around with me!! Too funny! I call them my ladies and when I call them they come to Me as fast as their little legs will allow! I adore them and look forward to our evening bedtime visits 🙂

    • Anonymous

      My chickens are like that aswell it is adorable…

  • Thanks for a great post! I have a small flock of many different breeds, and have recently gotten a Cochin chick. Sh is quite enjoying her training, so every time I walk in the room, she wakes herself up and has a snack then waits at the side of the cage to be taken out for training! And if I don't take her out, she sure makes a racket! I have a chicken blog myself, called From The Chickens Eye Veiw, but I'll make sure I check out the new posts here!

  • Anonymous

    Cool

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the post.

    We had about 24 eggs in our incubator and only one egg hatched. (power failure for five hours on about day three is what we assume killed the rest.).

    The egg that did hatch, hatched three days early and was unable to stand/walk more than two steps without falling over, then she couldn't get back up by herself, so we'd have to check on her every 15 minutes or so and usually stand her back up. Thus, I named her/or him, Sidewinder.:)

    Sidewinder is about a week and half to two weeks old now, walks and runs like a pro, and follows me around like a puppy, when I set on the floor (we still have her inside for the time being with slightly older chicks that we bought from a friend) she jumps/climbs into my lamp.

    This is going to be one spoiled chicken (Rhode Island Red)…lol. We think she may actually be a he, but we aren't sure at all.
    I think we

  • Anonymous

    When I was a kid we used to let the chickens roam the yard all day. Before supper we would bang on the scrap bucket and the chickens would follow us into the chicken pen. I didn't realize you could train them like you've done.

  • Anonymous

    Great post thank you! This is really helpful haha when I got my chickens I rescued 4 battery hens (2 brown -sunshine and pumpkin, 2 white- bluebell and snowdrop) and I bought 2 polish hens (white crested- skittles and laced one called domino who turned out to be a boy) and I managed to tame them very well by using a simular technique, the polish were very relaxed around us and Would always manage to perch on our heads and shoulders 🙂 unfortunately bluebell died shortly after buying her 🙁 but after that we bought a pekin and an orpington ( black pekin- charcy and Orpington – lavender after her colour 🙂 turned out to be a boy :/ ) we had to take them back to where we got them and change them for an identical Orpington who is called Francine and an auricana called Arizona 🙂 Francine is very tame although she doesn't really like being picked up, but she likes to be snuggled but Arizona is very skittish and doesn't come to close to me so I'm going to have to work on her 🙂 sorry for the long comment but a really good Post thank you for taking the time to help others ! Hahha

    • Such a wonderful story and thank you so much for the kind words. I am so happy that you too have discovered how sweet and trainable chickens can be. Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    I have 2 chickens that I intend on being inside pets. my chicks are a few weeks old now (have feathers on wings and tails). Are the raisins ok as treats when they are this young? I want to start early with the training if possible.

    • I would wait until your little one are at least a bit older, more like 10- 12 weeks before starting with the raisins. Of course, be sure to give them access to grit to help they digest those raisins.

  • thanks for getting back me so fast! this is my first time raising chicks and so far its been going well. I love your blog and will refer to it often. i have had them for 3 1/2 weeks, how old shall i expect they are? The feed store didnt really say when i puchased them.

    • Thank you so much. I would assume from the feed store, the chicks should be a couple of days old. I would assume for now that they are probably around 4 weeks of age, give or take.

  • thank you!!!

  • Anonymous

    This is so good to know! I'm glad I stumbled upon this from google!

    I have raised my babies since they were born, but discovered that they are still weary and jumpy, and some are more accustomed to me than others. But I still have no snugglers or any who know their names (yet!). I will definitely try this 🙂

    But a quick question– does this only work with hens or will it work with roosters too? I've heard from others that most roosters are very mean/territorial, and I don't want my rooster to be that way. I've already grown attached to him but he doesn't seem to care much for me. :c

    • Having had two roosters, I must say that they do often beat to their own drum. They are either nice roos or mean roos. That being said, I do believe that roosters can be trained. I have always had a zero tolerance for aggression toward people with my roosters.

    • Anonymous

      What do you mean zero tolerance … how do prevent aggression in your roosters?

    • Personally, I do not feel that mean roosters can be changed. When they begin to show repeated aggression toward humans, I rehome them to the farm down the road.

  • Lovely post and lovely site. It has a very nice feel to it. It is simply amazing to read people's responses and to see how devoted people are to their chickens!

  • I have been keeping a close eye on my chickens whether or not they are female or male. I'm affraid my brahma may turn out to be male, this one is starting to get a bump on its legs. Since I am planning on keeping them indoors as pets and one may be a rooster, do you have any ideas how to train them not to crow? I have read online that it can be done. I really dont want to get rid of it, but I do have close neighbors and dont want to cause any trouble.

  • We love training our chickens Melissa. This summer, the girls are going to train their chickens to recognize shapes for next year's science fair project. It's going to be lots of fun and we can't wait to do it.

    • Oh that is SO cool Kelly! I would love to see a video of your girls and chickens in action.

  • Anonymous

    It doesn't stop at chickens. Most of the animals we have come to think of as livestock or food can be quite loving/lovable, and trainable to boot. Pigs are very smart, for instance, and are social creatures, as are cattle (social, not so smart…), but we have-likely out of necessity- turned off the idea that they are truly alive in our minds.

    My chickens are quite friendly, and will happily sit in my hands to be stroked, or eat from my fingers (I find dandelion greens are a big winner) although I got them as pullets, and they have only been with me for a little while. Even my rooster, who had a reputation for being ornery (which is why he was free) has taken a shine to me, and will come sit with me when he escapes his pen. It's a lot easier to catch him now than it used to be!

    The thing is, they are still livestock. I do intend to eat them when they are all laid out, and I think that it is unnecessary to be cruel, or to treat them like inanimate objects simply to dissociate them from me. A kind home, friendly treatment, and gentleness are in my view necessary right from the time we buy a new chick until the time they get into the errrrr…. hot tub…. Henry (the rooster) will probably get to live out a natural life cycle, as he is already a monster, and will be pretty tough. He's a great marshal and protector, though, which is why we need him. Tons of eagles, raccoons, mink, rats, and ravens here on the gulf islands!

    I do not harbour illusions, though. For instance, how many of you on here will go out and buy chicken at the store, but would never dream of eating your own hens? I would rather eat an animal that I know has been treated with kindness, dignity and respect all its days than some poor bird raised in a tiny, filthy space, and subjected to terribly cruel treatment.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that although backyard chickens are fun, productive, interesting, and even cute, do not forget that they ARE livestock, not really pets. Train them, eat their eggs, treat them well, but remember that they too are a part of the food chain, and you are at the top!

    I'm sure this post may not receive rave reviews, but it seems to be the one idea missing from this blog… Otherwise, great place to read up, thanks!

    • Thank you for your comment and your honesty. All of your points are very well taken and I so appreciate you sharing today. I am glad that you shared this with us today.

    • funny you should say that, I just got my chicks for the eggs, and as a learning experience for my foster kids. Plus, I didn't want to use chemical bug killers and was looking forward to the extra compost. I NEVER thought of them as livestock… and have always been a meat eater. However, I'm finding that I have lost my appetite for chicken… especially if it's a chicken breast, or roast chicken, recognizable chicken. General Tau's or sharing a chicken nugget with my dog at the drive thru, that's different. My girls are definitely pets, with lots of loving, treats, cuddling walks around the yard together,etc. yup, I've got lap chickens.

    • Anonymous

      I also don't see my chickens as livestock. They are my pets. I will never eat them. I am also finding that I have lost my appetite for chicken. We have found that in having chickens we and our neighbours are learning more about where eggs come from, and we all look at them differently now. With more appreciation. I do understand what you are saying.

  • Anonymous

    I think this a lovely article. We have two chickens at the moment and one is outgoing, cheeky and loves being picked up and cuddled. Sometimes to the extent if the back door is open and they are let out of their coop, she will sneak in and jump on my lap for a cuddle. Whereas the other one is very fearful. Lovely article

    • Thank you. Isn't it so neat that they have such distinct personalities? I love that she sneaks in the house. How can you resist? I know I certainly would not be able to 🙂

    • Anonymous

      I was just as amazed yesterday when my chicks came looking for me in the house. Was so cute!

  • I really appreciate this article. I got 5 day old chicks yesterday, with the intention of raising two for show. You've given me some ideas.

  • Have been training my flock of 50. Some have no use for me and my handful of cooked grain (think oatmeal, but wheat) but I have a good core group of eight or ten who will jump three of four inches straight up and have started to tolerate time-on-the-lap if it means unfettered access to the handful. So much fun! I whisper to each of them that they will be the first ones we eat, since they will be the easiest to catch, but they all think I am kidding.

  • So glad I came across this post. My youngest chicks (8 weeks old) have been with me since they were 3 weeks old and most of them now trust me. But I recently took in a 5 month old hen and she is really nervous around me. I didn't quite know how to win her trust but this post has given me some great ideas. I am going to get started on this new adventure right away.

    Thank you!

    Oh by the way, I discovered your blog from a post you did on Community Chickens about DE. Great post there too. I am now following, Liking, Subscribing to your blog!

  • Anonymous

    Will prunes work instead of raisins and grapes? Or Maybe strawberries. We tend to get those a lot more than grapes and raisins

    • Prunes with the pits removed (pits are poisonous) and strawberries will do fine. Just find what your birds love!

  • I'm a new chicken mama – just came in from sitting with Lucky, Lucy and Loretta. Lucky sits in my lap since she was rescued from a dog (hence her name). Lucy and Loretta seem to want whatever Lucky is getting and I've got all 3 sitting on my shoulder/head/lap. I talk/sing/read to them so they know my voice. I call my time with them "chicken therapy". It's a symbiotic relationship! Grapes are on the horizon for my girls! Thanks for your ideas! 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Tilly!!! Okay get ready to laugh at me. I have rescued two chicks from an abandoned house. They were cute and fluffy. Named them Tilly and Kessie. Well the names fit for about a month, then, well… I HAVE ROOS! They have been renamed Tillsworthy and Keswick. They are lovable and fun. I love your blog and have to say you have good taste in names. My boys don't produce eggs but they give me plenty of fertilizer for my garden and "chicken therapy" (shout out to Jeanne G).

  • I'm so glad I found your blog. We just finished a beautiful little coop and run and we're looking for three pullets. I've been worried they wouldn't be friendly since I'm not prepared to raise chicks. You've set my mind at ease! I've put your blog on my desktop so I can check it frequently since I know I need to learn all I can about having "girls"! Thank you!

    • You are very welcome and I am so happy to hear that you have joined us. Thank you and I can't wait for you to share your adventures with us too!

  • Anonymous

    I was given two chickens as a gift about a month ago. One is super loving and always wants to snuggle, but the other, well, I think he may want to eat me. I'm going to start this with him tonight. Will it be harder to do this because he's a rooster?

    • Yes, it could be because he is a roo. You will have to gain his respect first. You might even have to put him in his place before you can be overly kind to him. You need to show that you are the head of the flock, not him.

    • Ok so I've been doing this for a while now, and so far Herman (that's the rooster lol) is eating the raisins from my hand, but he won't let me touch him. He doesn't flock and squawk when I go in the coop anymore; should I just be happy for this and hope in time he'll get better? How would I go about putting Herman in his place?

    • So, it sounds like he is getting used to the idea of warming up to you. I say keep doing what you are doing.

    • Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    We only have 1 rescue chicken and 1 non-rescue, and I am desperate to try chicks – the only problem being is that our neighbours are either very old or have young children and have asked us not to get a rooster due to the early noise, so is there any way to sex eggs before they hatch, or should I just get day old chicks, and if so, what would I need?
    Thanks,
    Izzie

    • Hi Izzie! I would strongly recommend for you to get hens only. Roosters can be noisy and crow at all hours of the day and night. I would either get some older pullets or sexed day old chicks. There is a 90% success rate that you will get what you order.

  • Well the girls have been with us three weeks and though they are still skittish I faithfully take them their grapes and sit with them! Lucy, Lacy and Lily are in the Tilly Training Program and I'm looking forward to having friendly girls one day soon. Lucy is my Tilly the head hen and she actually gets close enough to pluck grapes off the stem when I'm holding them….almost embarrassing how excited I get over that! Thanks again for your interesting and helpful post!

    • That is so awesome! Thank you so much for sharing your progress with us. Sounds like your girls are very lucky to have you as a chicken Momma! Do keep us all posted as to your adventures. I love hearing about them.

  • Thank you for this awesome tips. We have just started raising chickens and my kids enjoy every bit taking care of them. Just recently one of my kids ask if dogs can be trained, can chickens be trained too? Pressured to answer the curious kids I researched a google led me to your blog. Now I am excited to start my own "training chicken 101" class with the entire family. This will be fun and another great opportunity to bond with the entire fam. Thanks so much.

  • thanks for your help I'm raising a chick for calf club this advice should do but one more thing to add how to get them to be comfortable enough to perch up on your shoulder?

  • Anonymous

    I dont have chickens yet but i am all about rescue when i can. Do u havve any ideas about finding the organizations? Or a feed store/online a better option?

    • There are many local shelters that have chickens up for adoption and people around the country trying to help where they can. I would do a search based on your location. Follow your heart.

  • Anonymous

    Bananas. Our birds will do anything for a bite of one; I haven't found a treat they like more. -J

  • I will be getting my 9 chicks on Friday, I am so excited and happy I found this blog my self, I can see myself playing with them in the living room while they are young, people who know me think I am crazy any way, (in a good way). I want to have a good relationship with my chickens, hopefully they will be very happy.

  • Anonymous

    My chickens and I watch Dr. Oz in the livingroom every Friday. Seriously I have had them since they were 2 days old and as long as you handle them often as babies, you should have no problems with making them friendly. One of mine got mauled by a dog this summer and I had to bathe her and apply balm to her bum on a daily basis. She was awesome and seemed to really enjoy the bath. She is fine now. I love my girls.

  • It took three months but finally, Lily, our little sex link, rushes to the door of the run and let's me pick her up…in exchange for a few meal worms and raisins of course! Thanks for the tutorial!

    • Hooray! So exciting. Congrats!

  • Anonymous

    are silky chickens friendly, and do they train to love humans well

  • Thanks for these tips.. will really be very useful to me and hubby as we plan to increasing our flock by next month. I love the new look of your site. 🙂

  • I have spent a little time one to one with all my new flock it is so funny and ammaising how each bird is so different ,sorry i get so sick of this ting on my pc teling me i have spellet it wwrong much prefer just to speek so sod the spelling just press the keys to expess and say what you feal, now again all of them have differant personelities from warrens to leghorns to blues they all are great and individual perfeck

  • Holly Anne

    Wonderful article 🙂 We just adopted four new ladies and we're looking forward to getting to know them.

  • Hi…great site!!! I am new to this – got my girls (see I'm hooked already) last week. They do not seem bothered about having treats. I started with mealworms which they loved for a couple of days but they seem bored with that as well. I have tried broccoli, banana, corn, apple but to no avail – any ideas??

  • My husband got chicks for fathers day this year. What I didn't expect was how much I would love them. I'm hooked. I think they are hilarious with their antics. Tonight I came across your blog and tried the raisins. The girls loved them. They even fought over them. Suddenly the youngest started a making sad puppy noises and flew in my lap. Then the other two perched in my lap too. I was in chicken heaven.

  • Papa Chicken

    Hi Tilly I just found this site and I have to say it is very educational and amazing to learn what chickens will do. I just purchased 15 week old chicks, 7 are Barred Rocks and 4 gold wyandotte and 4 silver wyandotte. They all are high energy and hilarious to watch run around chasing each other and playing keep away. I also found out do to my clumbsy feet that they are durable animals. ( I accidently steped on one of my barred rocks ) I thought she was dead but within 20 seconds she was up and runing around with the rest of the ladies. I enjoy having chickens I find them relaxing and peaceful to be around. How old should they be before I can give them raisins or grapes? Also what is the best way to keep them cool in this god forsaken arizona heat.

  • Anonymous

    Hi I have just gotten half grown chicks and their mum and one always gets pecked by its mum so I took her out of her coop so she runs round my back lawn and I don't think she knows any other food other then pellets and bugs because the person who owned her before us said they keeled then in a small cage and only was feed pellets so I was wondering if there's any other way to get her to love me like my other chickens ( who follow me when I let them out) thanks.

    • It is possible. It is just going to take more time with her and attention on your part. Trust needs to be developed and that can take months. Try starting by gaining her trust by letting her eat out of your hand. Once she realizes that you are not going to harm her, and in fact you are trustworthy things should improve. However, not all chickens are interested in being as social as some others with people. I have a few that are content to eat out of my hand and not be held for long periods of time. Just like people, they all have different personalities. Good luck!

  • Thank you so much for this post! I've just 'adopted' 3 hens and a baby rooster and I'm trying to spend as much as I can, do you have any suggestions for really timid chicks, my baby hen refuses to go near me whereas I can touch both her mom and brother, is there a way I can build her confidence without loosing mothers trust since I'm threatening her chick. Also my other hen is having trouble with mummy hen, she is getting bullied and is petrified when I leave them in their coop, is there a way that I can grow the bond between the two so they don't fight?

    Unfortunately my baby rooster (Jace) is being given to my uncle 🙁 would it be best for me to train him now or not bother since I won't get to see him again?

    Sorry if my comment is long, so many questions!

    Anyway thank you! <3

    • With all things, it takes time to gain trust. It takes a few weeks for them to sort out the pecking order. If you feel the babies are being bullied, you might want to separate them from the larger chickens until they are of similar size and then reintroduce them again. This post may help: https://www.tillysnest.com/2012/01/getting-to-know-you.html

  • Anonymous

    Last week, a red hen about 5 months old was lofted in one of our trees. I coaxed her down, it was a very hot day. I own 2 Jack Russell's, and babysit my son's 2 year old dog that is half dingo and the other half of him is greyhound and staghound. The 3 dogs love to share my bed. I was worried of a disaster, so had a talk to the dogs they must protect this new addition. The dog's all love that task, and within 30 minutes, they all became friends. It was getting very hot, so I put an old sheet on my bed, and the dogs, myself and the red hen laid on my bed with the air conditioner on. I tried to find the hens owner, to no avail, so we named her Henrietta. She loves cuddles, plays with the dogs, then learned how to use the doggy door. We made her a portable roost with poop catcher lol, and she sleeps inside our home. If I don't cuddle and kiss her goodnight (I was on the phone one time when she jumped up to roost for the night), she began to let me know I needed to hang up the phone, as it was "her time with me". I stroke her and she soon falls to sleep. She sleeps in our family room, we can watch tv, although she is not fond of the light, so we use a small lamp. When my son arrives to collect his dog, she wakes up, has a chat , you know "boookackk" and cluck, the dingo dog sniffs her tail, they do their goodbye ritual lol, then I go back and another cuddle and she sleeps until the sun rises, out the doggy door to check for worms, comes to my room around 8am to wake the two dogs and myself up, then she sits with my 2 at the back gate, and they wait on my son to drop the big red baby off on his way to work, and the 4 of them play all day, sometimes popping inside to see human mum. I have never seen this bond in my entire life. Such the friendliest hen, I am beginning to have thoughts she is a reincarnated relative lol, but she arrived at a time I was feeling blue, she has brought me so much joy, and I think the dogs love her just as much. I don't know where she came from, and door knocked and ran an ad in local paper, but she can live here and she will be well loved.

  • These tips are great, I especially like the ones about setting the right ambience for the chickens!

  • A few weeks ago I got my first chicken( she is living down the road with friends chickens), she is an ex battery chicken and just LOVES people. As soon as she sees you she runs over and pretty much jumps into your arms, she loves cuddles. Anyways, I made a worm farm and I use those worms as treats for Miss Rosie and she loves it. She will do anything for them.

  • Anonymous

    We became chicken parents last June, to 4 girls, one of whom is a rescue hen. From the start she has been the most affectionate little creature, she follows all people about like a little puppy and makes the sweetest noises. We decided to keep hens because we wanted eggs and didn't really expect to become smitten with the girls, but we absolutely adore them and cannot imagine life without them now. I wish I had discovered hens when my children were small – they are such low maintenance pets and very rewarding to keep.

  • My chick trained herself. All the chickens recognise then plastic tub that I use to carry mealworms. Once, I was slow to offer this to them. I was standing up and the chick flew up to the tub in my hand. I stuck out my other hand and she landed there. I let her stand on my hand and eat out of the tub. The next day, she was standing on something high when I came. She flew to my shoulder. Today, I hid the tub under a newspaper and just stuck out my hand. She knew to come flying. What a smartypants! She is 5 weeks old.

  • Anonymous

    I just got chickens and want to teach them some cool trick. Got any ideas of what I can teach them. Also, do chickens like to play whith toys or anything like that?

  • Amie Pride

    Hello I am new to raising baby chicks 🙂 I have two silkie not sure how too sex them at ll I’ve heard bfew wives tales but haven’t tried them yet . my babies seem to sleep the best in my arms wrapped in a small receiving blankie I cut to size just tight for them I was hoping that by doing this it would comfort them and tame them at the same time . my silkies were incubated babies they’ve never seen there mother or father so I feel it’s my duty to be a source of mothering for them . I have a couple ? Is it OK that I do coddle them and let them sleep with me for awhile at bedtime? And with the heat ,should I turn this off during the day at all and let them get natural sun coming though the window by there little coop I have them in? And when can I start them in treats such as berries,oats etc?

    • Amie Pride

      Also forgot to mention there ages they are 3 weeks old

    • Hi there. The Silkies usually cannot be sexed until around 10 weeks of age. They are difficult to tell. Your chicks will do best with a brooder and a heat lamp. I would not recommend sleeping with them. Please check out my posts on how to care for your flock for the first 6 weeks. If they have access to proper chick grit, they can start with treats around 4 weeks of age. However, not too much and their chick food is best for proper growth and nutrition. You might want to pick up a copy of my book. It will answer lots of your questions. Good luck and enjoy your new flock.

    • Cynthia Bruno

      Dont sleep with your chickens.

  • Cindy Quigley

    Very good information! We just bought 2 pullets around 18 weeks old and they are not tame. We are new to chickens. I am a dog trainer so started instituting the treat method immediately however, like most people, didn’t set up the environment for training as well as I should. (dog around, working around the coop etc.) while giving treats. I did get one girl to eat cherry tomatoes from my hand only after 3 days but since then my dog has spooked them and now they are less trusting of me (even though I was not present when this occurred) Now I will start over and be patient and set the environment up for success which is exactly what I tell my dog training clients. Glad to know that it works for chickens too! Thanks for this article, it was very helpful!

    • My pleasure! I am sure that you will have them trained in no time given your expertise. I think chickens are smart!

  • LouisaDentPearce

    Thanks for this… I was lucky to start my chicken raising endeavours with day-old chicks … They are now 9 weeks old and so friendly. They like being petted, and two of them sit in my lap often. I have trained them to jump on a stick as well. Like the article says, you do need to spend lots of time with them. I probably spend 1-2 hours a day with mine!! I also raised them in my home office, so when they were little I was there all the time.

    • That is awesome and you are most welcome! Share some pics on my FB page. I’d love to see them!