Much like with other animals, you can do certain things to bond with your chickens. Chickens are quite intelligent and will start recognizing you as their caretaker and not something to be afraid of. They may even begin to follow you around and jump on your lap!
One of the best ways to get your flock to trust you is to spend time with them. If they’re chicks, pick them up and spend some one-on-one time with them every day. Let them see your face and talk to them. They will get comfortable with you and even nap in your hands or on your lap.
For older chickens, bring something to sit on and relax near their roaming area. Stay low to the ground so you don’t intimidate them. Try not to make loud noises or sudden movements. They will become curious and come to investigate. You can scatter some feed around you to entice them to come closer if they appear to be afraid or timid.
Every time you go out to take care of them, let them know you’re coming. They will start recognizing your voice and associate that with food and care. You can even talk to them softly while you’re around them. Remember, slow movements will build trust. When you fill up their food, stand nearby so they can become comfortable with your presence.
Chickens love treats. Whether it’s table scraps, fruit, mealworms or cracked corn, they’ll surely come running. Sit nearby while they eat, and over time, you can put the food closer to you. Eventually, try putting treats in your hand and see if they will eat from it. If they do, it means they trust you.
When you start handling them, try getting them to hop on your lap for some treats. Be careful, as the pecking can hurt sometimes. Pet them gently while they eat. You’ll come to find many chickens like the attention and will even come to you when you don’t have treats for them.
Chickens have different personalities, and you may discover that some like to be petted while others would rather sit nearby. But even if they don’t like your attention, you can still get them to trust you. Their temperaments can also depend on the breed. Some people find certain breeds, like Barred Rocks, to be more tame and lovable. Know which of your chickens appreciates being handled or petted and which ones may need some space.
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