Chickens in are skittish animals. Unlike dogs and cats, they don’t really like to be touched, held, or pet. That being said, there are some things you can do to get them to trust you. But, first you need to understand why they run away from you in the first place.
Why Are My Chickens Scared of Me? Chickens are prey animals, their only method of survival is to run, that’s why they run away from you, or anyone they do not trust.
Not all chickens will want to be pet or held, you can teach all your chickens to trust you enough to where they stop running away and run towards you.
Why Do My Chickens Run Away From Me?
There are several reasons chickens run away from you. Once you realize this, you can start changing your behavior and get them to trust you more.
You’ve Chased Them
Chickens remember people and if you’ve chased them around the coop, they remember that experience. They’re likely scared of you because they don’t know what you’re going to do and they are ready to run.
Never chase your chickens or allow anyone else to do so. If your chickens are scared, it’s possible that the nervous ones have had a bad experience and it will take time and patience to overcome.
You Make Sudden Moves
Whenever a chicken feels threatened, their first instinct is to run. When around your flock, you should never make sudden moves that can startle them.
If your chickens are extremely skittish, a sudden move can be as simple as raising your arm or turning your body.
Your Volume’s Too High
Maybe you’ve been too loud whenever you’re around them? Chickens are naturally skittish birds and loud noises can easily startle them. You may have seen them run around crazy or go into their coop whenever there is loud thunder.
They Don’t Know You
Once your baby chicks grow up, people are aren’t as interested in spending time wit them. Everyone loves baby chicks and wants to hold and kiss them, but once they grow up, they go into a kennel or hang out in the backyard.
The only time you go out there is to give them food or water. You’ve stopped showing the same interest you did when they were young. Your chickens will trust you enough that you feed them, but if you try getting too close, they will likely run away from you.
Once they get to know and trust you, they will follow you around everywhere.
Why Are My Baby Chicks Scared of Me?
You have new hatchlings, but you notice that they are terrified of you. All you want to do is pick them up and hold them, but whenever they see you, they run and hide behind their feeder like they’re scared to death.
Think about it, your chicks are small and all they see a giant hand reaching down to grab them. The whole world is a scary place for young chicks.
The great news is there are some things you can do to make them less scared of you. In fact, starting young is the best way to tame your chicks and build up trust.
How To Bond With Your Baby Chicks
The most important thing to remember is to start the bonding process early. This will help your chicks know and trust you, which will make them friendly as they grow.
Here are some things you can do to start bonding with your chicks so they won’t be scared of you when they grow.
Talk To Them
The earlier chicks start associating your voice will make them friendlier and less likely to be scared of you. Cutesy tones, baby tones usually scare young chicks, so talk to them in your normal everyday tone.
This is also the perfect time to start using their name, if you plan on giving your chickens a name. The more they hear you calling them by their name, will help them recognize and understand their name.
Hand Feed Them
Don’t just fill up their feeder and give them fresh water. Instead, feed them some freeze dried mealworms, chick stater food, or other healthy snacks by hand.
You remember that saying “never bite the hand that feeds you?” Well, all chickens regardless of age will be all over when they realize you have goodies in your pockets and hands.
How Do I Make My Chickens Not Scared of Me?
It’s easier to bond with your chickens if you’ve had them since they were a baby. But, what if you got your chickens when they were older?
While it won’t be as easy as it was when they were younger, but there are some things you can do to get your chickens to like you.
One of the easiest ways to bond with older chickens is to let them associate you with their favorite treats. Choose some of their favorite foods that make them go crazy, such as pumpkin seeds, mealworms, corn, or etc.
It will take a while for them to feel comfortable to eat from your hand. But they are curious little creatures and will eventually come. When they do come, don’t make the mistake of trying to grab the,, because their natural inclination will be to run. Being held is not normal for chickens and they need to be trained to learn to like it.
The point is you want to choose foods they love and don’t get very often. This will make them feel special. and over time, they will soon learn to come to you.
Sit With Them
If your chickens only see you once a day when you feed them, it’s not enough. The best way to make your chickens friendly and excited whenever they see you, is to spend more time with them.
If your chickens are in a large enclosed area, you should go in and sit down with them. Don’t move into their territory with a lawn chair, as this will scare them. Sit on the ground, (make sure there’s no poop) so you’re at their level.
Consider taking a book and reading to your chickens. Chickens are smart animals and it’s a proven fact that they remember voices and faces. By spending more time in their space and talking to them can make them trust you.
It’s going to take a while for them to get comfortable with you being in their space. However, the more often they see you sitting there, they will eventually come up to you and sit beside, or on you.
Soon they will be comfortable enough to take a nap beside you. If a chicken feels comfortable enough to close their eyes around you, it’s a testimony that they trust you, and know that no harm will come to them while they sleep.
If your chickens run when they see you, it’s because they are likely scared of you. Even if you handled them while they were young, they can still grow up scared.
Not every chicken is the same, some are more skittish than others. All you can do is treat your flock great and some may run towards you and even let you pet them, while others will always run away whenever they see you.
Just like any other domesticated pet, it takes time to gain the trust of your chickens. You have to be persistent and follow through on implementing the actions it takes them to trust you.