One of the primary reasons I added several dozen silkies to my coop is because of the stories I’ve heard of their cuddly nature. But after weeks of raising them, I thought that all those stories were made up.
Why aren’t my silkies as lovable as theirs? What was I doing wrong? Can you tame silkies, or are they selective of whom to love?
Can You Tame Silkies?
Start training your chickens from an early age. Handling them from a young age will help the chicks learn to trust you as they grow up. When a chick knows you’re not going to hurt them, it’ll be easier to tame them.
*This page contains affiliate links to products I recommend. If you purchase something from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.
Here are my top five tips for taming and training silkie chickens!
How to Tame Silkie Chickens
Just like dogs and cats, it’s easier to tame chicks than adult chickens.
Before you start socializing with your chicks, give them two to three days to adjust and settle in their new home.
Once they do, you can pick them up and talk to them so they’ll get used to the sound of your voice. Talk to them quietly.
The sound of your voice will help calm them down. If it’s the first time hearing your voice, they may seem frightened. Continue speaking to them. Eventually, they’ll start being calm.
Spend as much time as you can with them. The objective is to handle the baby chicks as much as possible. If you work a day job, you can take them inside the house for 30-60 minutes a day and sit with them on the couch.
Cover your couch with a cover like this one, as the baby chicks will probably poop while inside. The cover is washable and will prevent your sofa from being ruined.
Even if you don’t bring your chickens inside, I’ve found it useful to have a couch cover. It protects your couch from dog hair, and the kids.
Try to make time to hold them every day, so they’ll understand that your hand isn’t a predator but a friend.
Do this continuously for two to three months or until they’ve become fully developed adults.
When your chickens are full-grown, they will trust you completely, and you’ll be able to pet, hold, and cuddle them, even the roosters!
Treats, Treats, and More Treats!
Like any other animal, the quickest and easiest way to tame silkies is to, well, bribe them with treats! It can be in the form of mealworms, oats, raisins, and sunflower seeds. My flock loves eating Grubblies and cracked corn, so you might want to give those a try.
Several people have had massive success by feeding their silkies cheese balls. Pick some up at your local Dollar store and give them a few. Make sure you don’t overfeed them, as cheese balls are not the healthiest option.
The point of the treats is to get your flock to trust you. Eventually, they’ll become your best friend.
When handing out treats, lower your hand into the pen and gently call out to your silkies until they start walking towards you. Once they’re comfortable enough to eat out of your hand, start petting them by gently using your index and middle finger while they eat.
If you’re scared that they might peck you, throw the treats on the ground by your feet instead. Also, talk to them while they eat! It may feel a bit silly, but you’ll be surprised by how talkative silkies are once they get comfortable around you. It’s quite endearing!
Sit With Them
Whether inside their coop or just outside, sitting close to your silkies is another excellent way to tame them. It’s especially useful with older silkies.
Sit quietly and calmly on a chair or in their coop so that they can get used to your presence. Do this for at least 30 minutes a day.
Some people will even take this breed in the house to spend more time and bond with them. The downsides are the smell and making diapers out of socks.
The best time to sit with your silkies is when they’re winding down during the late afternoon. If you do it too early, they might be too distracted to pay you much attention. If you do it too late, they might think you’re a bit of a nuisance.
Carry Them Around
Unlike other chickens, silkies love to being held! If they’re relatively new to the flock, you may have a bit of trouble handing them, which is why it’s best to let them get used to your presence first.
Once they’re comfortable around you, gently carry your silkie by placing your dominant hand on your chicken’s back and the other beneath her to secure her legs.
Then, hold your silkie against your body. After making sure it’s not going to kick herself free, start walking around and do your daily chores.
If your chicken is particularly fussy, carry her for only several minutes a day. Increase the “holding” time slowly by adding 2 minutes every day.
If she’s not, extend it to about 15 to 20 minutes.
When it’s time to sit down, place her gently on your lap. She would either sit there or jump back to the flock. Don’t force her if she wants to escape, so she won’t show signs of aggression.
As you continue the training, she will eventually continue sitting on your lap. It’s important
Slow Movements Build Trust
Silkies aren’t an especially frightful breed, so you don’t have to be extremely careful around them.
Regardless, it’s best to stick with slow and movements when they’re around. Don’t jump, run, or move fast around them. Don’t raise your voice more than you usually do.
If you have young children, don’t let them run, yell, or play around the young chicks. This behavior will scare the baby chicks and will set your training back significantly.
This is also a good time to teach your kids how to hold the baby chicks. Ensure they are gentle with them and don’t let them hold them by the neck.
Don’t hold your silkie too tightly or forcefully groom them. Treat them like fussy babies!
Silkies are among the friendliest and most docile breeds of chicken in the world. They’re naturally lovable nature makes them surprisingly easy to tame.
How long it takes to tame your Silkies will depend on how consistent you are with your training. Just like training a dog, the training needs to become a part of your daily routine.
These tips will work for any chicken breed, however, it’ll usually be much easier to tame a Silkie.
It doesn’t happen overnight, and every chicken is unique. Some will learn faster, even if they were born the same day.
As long as you follow the five steps above, you’ll be able to tame and train your silkies without any issues correctly. Good luck!