Although there are about 4 chickens for every human being in the world today, they’re among the most challenging creatures when it comes to interpreting their behaviors.
Whether you own a chicken coop or have a single pet chicken, there’s a single question that you’ll most likely have: “why do chickens follow me?”
Why Do Chickens Follow Me? Chickens are curious creatures and like other pets, they can feel love and affection for their owners. They also learn quickly who to follow to get fed.
Let’s take a closer look at why chickens people around like cats and dogs.
Why Does My Chicken Follow Me?
Just like many other birds and animals, chickens might have a variety of reasons to do the same behavior.
In the following list, I’ve compiled a list of all the possible reasons why your cluckers have decided to follow you everywhere you go!
1. A Simple Sign of Love and Affection
The first thing that might come to your mind when you see your chickens stalking you around is that they just love you. Here are some other ways chickens show affection to humans.
In fact, if you take good care of your chickens from an early age, play with them, and feed them by hand regularly, there’s a huge chance that this might be the case!
Chickens are highly affectionate and emphatic creatures although they don’t look like it. They can show their love and affection towards the people that take good care of them in a variety of ways, and following them around is definitely one of them!
2. They’re Being Curious
Another possible reason for your chickens to follow you around is simply curiosity. If your chickens are allowed to roam around your backyard or field, they might have tried everything there to be done.
In that case, the only thing left to explore is “where do you go when you leave?”. That’s why some chickens might stalk you, so they can explore the “extra land” you disappear into.
Such behavior is usually coupled with them lined up in front of the gate or even your house door if they have access.
3. They Know You’re Their Flock Leader
According to studies, chickens can recognize a lot of human faces, which can go up as high as 100 faces.
The same study also found out that chickens are able to identify their owners and caregivers using their decent memory. This is why so many people name their chickens, because they have the ability to learn their names.
Not only that, but you should also know that chickens have some form of hierarchy, which is where the term “pecking order” came from. In this hierarchy, chickens usually have a “flock leader”, which is usually a rooster.
However, since you’re the one who sets the time when they eat every day, this flock leader might become you.
If you raise chickens through multiple generations where all the hens and roosters in your coop were born and taken care of by you, this reason should be one of the most apparent ones for them to follow you!
4. They’re Going Through a Maturation Period
Chickens go through various phases as they grow up. For example, during adolescence time, chickens show some unusual behaviors that many farmers and backyard coop owners are aware of.
One of these behaviors is the act of following the ones they trust the most. This includes other chickens as well as you.
5. They’re Teaching the Young Chicks About Their Caregiver
Scientific research showed that older chickens and mother hens will teach their young chicks certain things.
This was proven in an experiment where the mother hen taught them to avoid grains of a specific color.
Based on these findings, some scientists explain the behavior of mother hens following you around as a way to teach their chicks that you’re their caregiver and the source of food.
6. The Chickens Are Just Playing Around
According to an article by the BBC, a chicken is much smarter than we used to think. They can learn various skills and can be trained to do some complex tasks!
Based on these findings, some people conclude that chicken can follow their owners around as a form of “playtime game”. So, the next time your chickens follow you, play along!
Can You Get Chickens to Follow You?
As you already know, chickens have a good memory and can easily recognize you with time. If you want them to follow you around, you need to be there for them and show them as much love and care as possible.
You can also try to feed them various treats by hand. Also, a lot of chicken owners reported that sitting on the ground with them and allowing them to climb all over you will eventually get them to start following you around.
One thing you should know is that some chicken breeds are more interactive than the others, so you have to be patient and diligent. With time, your chickens will eventually sit in your lap and start following you around.
How to Safely Stop Chickens from Following You
Chickens following you is cute and all. However, for safety concerns, you might want your chickens to stop following you while you’re handling other duties in the backyard.
The simplest and easiest way to solve this problem is to keep the chicken enclosed in the coop. However, there’s another trick to keep the chicken roaming freely but stay away from you.
As a rule of thumb, chickens don’t like the smell of citrus fruits and will generally avoid it as much as they can.
If you want to stop chickens from following you, sprinkling some citrus juice with a sprayer around you should be enough to keep them at bay.
Can You Train Your Chickens to Come When Called?
If you want your chickens to start following you when you call them, you can achieve that with a simple training technique.
This skill is useful if you want to keep your chickens within your range or it’s time to get them back in the coop.
To do that, you’ll want to create a connection between your call and a reward they get. This can be a container of their favorite feed or some chicken treats.
Also, you have to use the same call every time you want them to come to you. At first, it might take the chickens some time to respond, so you have to be patient.
By repeating this technique every day, the chickens will eventually respond to that call almost immediately. Here’s a 3-step process to teach your chickens to follow you.
Once you’re satisfied with their response time, you can start expanding the range from where they should come to you when called.
The earlier you start holding, petting, and showing affection to baby chicks, the most likely they’ll imprint on you and follow you around everywhere. Some will even chase you in hopes of being pet or held.
Unlike dogs and cats, chickens are not bred to be pet or loved on. If you want your chickens to follow you, it’s important to start training them early.
There you have it. A complete guide that walks you through everything you need to know, so you can understand why your chickens love to follow you around wherever you go.
As you can see, there are various factors that would drive a chicken to do this behavior. However, it’s generally a sign that you take good care of your chickens and won’t cause you any harm to embrace it if you’re okay with it!