We’ve all heard stories from chicken keepers that say their birds follow them wherever they go. Maybe you want to know how to get your chickens to follow you because you think it’s cute. No matter why you’re trying to get them to follow you, we’ll share some tips that work.
How to Get Your Chickens to Follow You?
The best way to teach your chickens to follow you is to start food, carry food, teach them you are the one that cares for them and stay consistent until they begin to follow you everywhere.
Chicken keepers understand that chickens are different types of pets than dogs. You can’t take them hiking or fetch with them, but you can teach them to follow you around.
There are several reasons why chickens follow you, and why you may want your chickens to follow you.
In this article, we’re only going to discuss how to get them to follow you.
3 Easy Steps to Train Chickens to Follow You
The steps below will teach you how to get them to follow you. Just remember, it’s going to take time to teach them, especially if your chickens are older.
Step One: Start at a Young Age
If you have baby chicks, you’re in luck. Chickens imprint on humans, objects, or animals. It’s not difficult to find a YouTube video or social media post that shows a baby chick imprinted on a dog.
It happens more often than people think because a chick’s first instinct is to look for wing-like and warm something. Many dogs have a lot of fur, so it’s easy to get a chick to imprint on your family pet.
That said, it works for humans as well. If you’ve just acquired some baby chicks, you’re in luck. It’ll be much easier to get your chicks to follow you around because they are prone to imprinting on the first person, object, or animal they see.
It means you’ll want to spend as much time around the baby chicks as possible. You’ll want to hand feed them, hold them, and pet them. In no time at all, it will learn that you’re their caretaker.
The baby chicks will look forward to seeing you. If they are 6-12 weeks of age and don’t need to be under the light, they will follow you wherever you go.
As for how long it takes to get your baby chicks to follow you everywhere, it depends. Some chicken keeper members from this community said it takes about eight weeks to get their chicks to follow them around.
So what if you have older chickens? Can you teach them? Chickens are incredibly trainable, but it’s going to take longer than a young chick.
Step Two: Become the Care Taker
One of the surest ways to get your chickens to follow you is to be seen as the caretaker. If you have other pets, then you know they learn quickly which family member cares for them.
For instance, dogs learn quickly which family member feeds them scraps under the table. Therefore, they quickly attach themselves to that person, especially during mealtimes.
Chickens are intelligent animals and also learn which person cares for them. It doesn’t take them long to become attached to the person that provides them with food, water, and shelter.
That said, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will follow you around. You have to give your chickens a reason to follow you.
For instance, if you’re going through the motions of feeding them and providing water because they have to have it to survive. You’ll have less success in getting them to follow you.
If, on the other hand, you’re talking to them, saying their names, (yes you can name your chickens), or just carrying on conversations with them, you’ll have more luck.
Like other animals, Chickens will bond with the person who cares for them and shows them attention. It doesn’t happen automatically, but chickens will learn who they can trust and who cares for them.
Step Three: Carry Some Treats or Food
You can win your chickens’ hearts by being the person who feeds them. If you already feed your chickens, but they haven’t started following you around.
It’s time to add some treats into the mix. Chickens love to eat, and if you’re giving them some regular food, they haven’t learned that you’re the one with the goodies.
Instead of just going to the chicken coop to feed your chickens during regular hours, try going outside throughout the day. Don’t forget to take some treats with you.
Consider taking some treats such as mealworms, yogurt, broccoli, carrots, or other healthy foods for your chickens. You don’t have to buy a lot of goodies. Some human food makes good snacks for your backyard birds.
The critical thing to remember is to take some treats that your birds love to eat and don’t eat regularly. It means you don’t want to use a handful of their regular feed.
Their regular feed can work, but you’ll get faster results when you’re giving them snacks that aren’t on the regular menu.
When you’re first trying to train them to follow you, you’ll want to give them snacks whenever you visit them. I’d recommend going outside with the snacks at least 3-4 times in between their regular mealtimes.
Don’t feed them in their bowls or feeders like you normally do. Instead, feed them by dropping some treats behind you. Leave little snacks behind you every time you walk away, the flock will follow you pecking the ground and eating the treats you’re leaving behind.
As soon as they see you, start feeding them the snacks. Don’t forget to talk to them while you’re giving it to them. You can say something like “come here, chickens” or use their name if they have one.
As long as you’re consistent, they will eventually learn that you have their favorite treats and will follow you around everywhere.
How Long Will It Take to Train Your Chickens to Follow You?
All birds are different, and some will learn quicker than others. If you have young birds, it may just take a few weeks. With older birds, it can take up to a year for them to learn to follow you.
It all depends on the birds, the treats you’re using, distractions, and whether or not you’re consistent with the training.
According to some chicken keepers, some breeds like the Faverolles tend are more like dogs. Which means they should be easier to train to follow you around.
Other chicken breeds may be more challenging because they’re scared all the time, and no matter what you do, they run away from you whenever they see you.
Like other pets, you can train chickens to follow you around. It’s going to require consistency, treats, and a lot of time and coaxing on your part.
It’s easiest if you start with baby chicks, but you can teach older birds as well.
Once your chickens start seeing you as the person with the goodies, they will follow you everywhere. They may even begin to run away from everyone else and only follow you!