How To Bond With Your Chicken
There are many ways to bond with your chickens and gain their trust . Some chickens like to be picked up and held others not so much, but first you need to make them feel safe and secure. It is no different from any other animal that wants love and respect. The trick to bonding with chickens is that they need to know you are their caretaker and there to look after them.
Chickens recognize and know human faces, as they are very smart animals. Once they become bonded with you, they will see you as their favorite human.
Ways to Bond with Chickens
Many people find hand raising chickens to be a rewarding fun experience. You may find it takes some time and patience to bond with them though, but it is so worth it.
You need to let your chickens know that you love and appreciate them. Eventually, you will win their trust, and they will come to you independently. These are some of the ways to bond with your chickens:
Begin the Bonding at an Early Age
No matter what, if you have the chance to bond at an early stage of the Chick’s life, that is the best way. When you get baby chicks, you will need to place them in a brooder.
A brooder is a container that has all of the essentials:
These items are everything needed to provide a safe and warm environment for your babies.
Once they are in their new home, you should take advantage of bonding with them by putting your hand inside of the brooder so that the chicks can get used to your scent. You can also begin the treat process by feeding them little bits of veggies and scrambled eggs.
Spend Time with Chickens
Chickens like to spend time together with other chickens in a flock. If you spend time with them every day, they will recognize you as one of the flock and get warmed up to you so they can learn to understand that you mean them no harm and you are their caretaker.. this way you can learn all their individual habits, behaviors and personalities.
When you are around your chickens enough, they will learn the sound of your voice!
Ideal Times to Interact with Chickens
You will want to pick the correct times to try and bond with your chickens. For example, going to see your chicken early in the morning may not be a good idea. Chickens are most active in the morning, and they will likely be searching for bugs and running amok in their coupe.
Always try to bond with your chickens at night for the best results.
When you visit them in their coupe, tuck them in and wish them a good night.
Make sure you speak softly to them when they are getting ready to go to bed.
Research the Different Chicken Breeds Temperaments
Just like dogs and cats, there are also different breeds of chickens. Certain breeds of chickens can be more loving and friendly than others.
Some examples of the friendliest chicken breeds include the following:
- Speckled Sussex
- Buff Orpington
- Rhode Island Reds
- Brown Shavers
- Jersey Giants
Be Gentle When You Hold a Chicken
- Try to keep your chicken from jumping or flapping, as they may become injured.
- Put your dominant hand on your chicken’s back and ensure the wings do not flap.
- You can accomplish this by gently but firmly putting your hand on your chicken’s back and keeping your hand stable.
Put your free hand under your chicken to keep their legs secure. Gently place the palm of your hand against the breast. Put your middle finger between their legs and the other fingers around the outside of each leg. Keep the chicken’s weight from shifting.
Use both hands to support your chicken’s body, gently pick them up, hold them against your body and keep them safe. Speak softly and reassuringly to them and give them praise.
They will likely feel better if they hear your soothing voice.
Give Your Chickens Treats!
Be patient with them, as it is unlikely that they will trust you right away. It would be best if you first placed the treat on the ground. Your chickens will get curious and come over and peck at it
You may need to give your chickens treats this way in the beginning stage. Over time, the chickens will become comfortable with you, and once that happens, you may be able to start giving them treats out of your hands.
When your chickens get to the point where they take treats directly from you, you have mastered the challenging part.
Eventually, you will not even need to give them treats, and the chickens will start to come to you regardless. This relationship is a massive accomplishment for the new chicken owner.
Some of the best treats for chickens include the following:
- Green beans
- Sunflower seeds
- Plain yogurt
The above foods are all safe and provide optimum nutrition for chickens.
Chickens Need to Know You’re Their Caretaker
To let chickens know you are the one that feeds them , it would be good to make up a call.
When you call to them, the chickens will get used to the sound of your voice, and it is a way to bond with them.
When the chickens hear your voice, they will get excited, not only because it is time to feed but because they are about to see their favorite human again. You also need to approach them slowly and carefully. This contact will ensure that they will not be afraid of you. You can gently shake a container of chook food when you approach them so they will associate you with being fed
Let Them Get Their Exercise and Play with Them
Chickens become bored when they are couped up and cannot get exercise. They prefer to be active. Without good exercise, they may act out or get into trouble by pecking their flock mates. Regular exercise may stop bad behavior by stimulating them with fun and activity.
You can also play with your chickens as a way of bonding with them. You may need to get creative and make some toys out of natural or available items.
- Toss a piece of fruit across the yard so that they can run after it and eat it e.g. apple, pear, peach
- Toss items such as berries into their bedding so that they will poke through it to get to the fruit
- Hang an object, such as a head of cabbage, somewhere by a rope and watch them go after it
- Put frozen peas into an interactive toy and watch chickens roll it around so that the peas come out
- Break open a pumpkin or squash in the yard and watch your chickens dive in after it
- Give them a chunk of grass with dirt and roots and get them to dig through it
Chickens are most fascinated by playing with food. Chickens also like wind-up toys to play with. They also enjoy kicking around a lightweight ball. Toss one into their pen and watch as fun and entertainment ensue.