There are many ways to bond with your chickens. Some chickens like to be picked up and held, but you need to make them feel safe. It is no different from any other creature that wants love and respect. The trick to bonding with chickens is that they need to know you are their caretaker.
Chickens recognize and know human faces, as they are very smart animals. Once they become bonded with you, they will see you as their favorite human. Read below and find out ten easy ways to connect with your chickens.
Ways to Bond with Chickens
Many people find raising chickens to be a rewarding experience. You may find it takes some time and patience to bond with them, but it is worth it.
You need to let your chickens know that you love and appreciate them. Eventually, you will win their trust, and they will come to you independently. These are some of the ways to bond with your chickens:
Begin the Bonding at an Early Age
No matter what, if you have the chance to bond at an early stage of the Chick’s life, that is the best way. When you get baby chicks, you will need to place them in a brooder.
A brooder is a container that has all of the essentials:
These items are everything needed to provide a safe and warm environment for your babies.
Once they are in their new home, you should take advantage of bonding with them by putting your hand inside of the brooder so that the chicks can get used to your scent. You can also begin the treat process by feeding them little bits of veggies and scrambled eggs.
It is time to begin moving your chicks from the brooder to the coupe at about six weeks old. They have all of their feathers by then, and this will depend on what time of year it will be because you do not want too hot or too cold. You may have to use a little heat if it is still too cold.
Keep an eye on those chicks and take your cues from them.
Spend Time with Chickens
Chickens like to spend time in groups with other chickens. If you spend time with them every day, they will recognize you as one of the flock and get warmed up to you. It would be best to learn about your chickens’ habits and behavior.
- It is also good to spend time relaxing outdoors with your feathered friends.
- It will give you the chance to learn about each flock member.
- Each chicken has a unique personality.
- There can be shy chickens and outgoing chickens.
Chickens can be very social animals, and they like to spend time with others. You should spend time with them so they can learn to understand that you mean them no harm and you are their caretaker.
When you are around your chickens enough, they will learn the sound of your voice.
Find the Ideal Time to Interact with Chickens
You will want to pick the opportune times to bond with your chickens. For example, going to see your chicken early in the morning may not be a good idea. Chickens are most active in the morning, and they will likely be searching for bugs and running amok in their coupe.
- Chickens are docile at night because they naturally go to sleep when the sun goes down.
- They also do not see very well in the dark.
- They like to wind down around sunset.
- Make sure you speak softly to them when they are getting ready to go to bed.
When you visit them in their coupe, tuck them in and wish them a good night. Do not take your cell phone with you, as loud noises can startle them and take them out of their relaxed state.
Always try to bond with your chickens at night for the best results.
Be Aware of the Different Chicken Breeds
Just like there are various breeds of dogs and cats, there are also different breeds of chickens. Certain species of chickens tend to be more loving and friendly than others.
Some examples of the friendliest chicken breeds include the following:
- Silkies are soft, silky, and cute, with the best temperament
- Speckled Sussex are large, and the hens have reddish-brown feathers with black and white speckles
- Cochin is a sizeable child-friendly bird, and the hens make for some of the best mothers of the chicken world
- Wyandottes are easy to handle and are ideal as backyard chickens
- Buff Orpington are often bred for show and are the “Golden Retriever” of chickens
- Rhode Island Reds are gentle, comfortable being held, and are good with children
- Australorps are calm and peaceful egg layers
- Easter Eggers are hybrids of Araucana and Ameraucana, and they lay eggs in different colors: aqua, green, blue, olive, and pink
- Faverolles love being kissed and cuddled with and are excellent with children, as they are the gentlest breed of chickens
- Jersey Giants are obedient, calm, and good with children
Chickens can be adorable and loving and can make good pets. You just need to distinguish between the breeds and know what type of chicken you are looking for.
Here’s a good video showing how this person bonds with their chickens, with a lot more info below:
Be Gentle When You Hold a Chicken
Sometimes chickens will respond well to being held by a human. Correctly carrying a chicken can help you and the animal form a trusting bond. However, you do not want to make them feel threatened or nervous. Do not hold the chicken too tightly, as it is uncomfortable for them.
- Try to keep your chicken from jumping or flapping, as they may become injured.
- Put your dominant hand on your chicken’s back and ensure the wings do not flap.
- You can accomplish this by gently but firmly putting your hand on your chicken’s back and keeping your hand stable.
Put your free hand under your chicken to keep their legs steady. Gently place the palm of your hand against the breast. Put your middle finger between their legs and the other fingers around the outside of each leg. Keep the chicken’s weight from shifting.
Use both hands to support your chicken’s body, gently pick them up, hold them against your body and keep them safe. Speak softly and reassuringly to them and give them praise.
They will likely feel better if they hear your soothing voice.
Give Your Chickens Treats
There is an excellent way to give your chickens treats so that they learn to trust you. Be patient with them, as it is unlikely that they will trust you right away. It would be best if you first placed the treat on the ground. Your chicken’s natural curiosity will get them to come over and peck at it.
You may need to give your chickens treats this way in the beginning stage of the relationship. Over time, the chickens will become comfortable with you, and once that happens, you may be able to start giving them treats out of your hands.
When your chickens get to the point where they take treats directly from you, you have mastered the challenging part. It is a good idea to put the time and effort into this, as it will support creating a connection between you and your chickens.
Eventually, you will not even need to give them treats, and the chickens will start to come to you regardless. This relationship is a massive accomplishment for the new chicken parent.
Some of the best treats for chickens include the following:
- Green beans
- Pumpkins/Winter squash
- Sunflower seeds
- Wheat and oat sprouts
- Plain yogurt
The above foods are all safe and provide optimum nutrition for chickens. Chickens also love to feed on live crickets, and it is fun to watch them run after and catch them!
Chickens Need to Know You’re Their Caretaker
It would be good to let your chickens know that you are the one who feeds them and takes care of them. Chicken parents should come up with a call to get them to come to eat.
When you call to them, the chickens will get used to the sound of your voice, and it is a way to bond with them.
When the chickens hear your voice, they will get excited, not only because it is time to feed but because they are about to see their favorite human again. You also need to approach them slowly and carefully. This contact will ensure that they will not be afraid of you.
You can also lightly shake a bowl of chicken feed as you approach them so that they will associate you with being fed. Just know that when it comes to interacting with your chickens, you will need to achieve a certain level of trust with them.
Create a Normal Cleaning Routine
Chickens like to have a clean environment to live in. The health of your chickens is essential, and cleaning will significantly reduce the chance for mites to thrive. Cleaning does not have to be boring, though, as you can make a day of it and spend time with the chickens in the coupe.
Cleaning may not seem like it can help you bond, but it is another way you can help your chickens see that you are the one who takes care of them, and they will appreciate your efforts in return. Your chickens deserve to be clean and healthy.
- Chickens can get stressed out if their surroundings are messy and unclean.
- A clean coup will let them know that they are loved and cared for.
- A clean coupe will protect your chickens from diseases and pest infestations.
After you clean the coupe, the chickens will resume their rightful place in their individual nesting boxes, and they will be thankful for your help. Cleaning the coupe will ensure that your chickens are safe.
Provide Them with Access to Clean Water
This habit may seem like a minimal thing to do, but it goes a long way toward adequately caring for your chickens. Fresh, clean water is essential for the health of your chickens. A chicken will typically drink a half pint of water each day. If it is warm outside, they may even drink one pint.
Laying hens especially need to keep themselves hydrated. Chickens detest warm, stale water. They simply will not drink it because it is offensive to them. If your chicken does not have enough water, they could go into premature molt or dehydrate.
Another issue is that if your chickens do not get enough water, they could become stressed and stop laying eggs. They could go into heatstroke and perish if the heat is too much for them. You want to protect your chickens and always give them easy access to clean drinking water.
This care is another instance in which your chicken will learn that you are their caretaker and feel safe with you. If you provide them with fresh water daily, they will come to expect it and look forward to it.
Let Them Get Their Exercise and Play with Them
Chickens become bored when they are couped up and cannot get exercise. These animals prefer to be active. Without sufficient exercise, they may act out or get into mischief by pecking their siblings. Regular exercise may inhibit bad behavior by stimulating them with fun and activity.
You can also play with your chickens as a way of bonding with them. You may need to get creative and make some toys out of natural or available items. The following include ways to entertain your chickens:
- Toss a piece of fruit, such as a peach, across the yard so that they can run after it and eat it
- Toss items such as berries into their bedding so that they will poke through it to get to the fruit
- Toss small items, such as berries, into the air and watch your chickens jump up to retrieve them
- Hang an object, such as a head of cabbage, somewhere by a rope and watch them go after it
- Roll berries on the ground for them to chase after
- Make interactive food puzzles, such as you would make for a dog
- Put frozen peas into an interactive toy and watch chickens roll it around so that the peas come out
- Cut watermelon into rings and tie them up, so the chickens need to work to retrieve them
- Break open a pumpkin or squash in the yard and watch your chickens dive in after it
- You can make a piñata out of a suet cage full of yummy food for them
- Poke holes in plastic Easter eggs, fill them with seeds, and roll eggs around for chickens
- Hide bugs in a pile of crisp fall leaves and watch your chickens have a good time
- Give them a chunk of grass with dirt and roots and get them to dig through it
Chickens are most fascinated by playing with food. Chickens also like wind-up toys to play with. They also enjoy kicking around a lightweight ball. Toss one into their pen and watch as fun and entertainment ensue.
Chickens are fun, lively animals that can make good pets. You can bond with chickens as you can bond with dogs or cats. They are social creatures who prefer to stay in groups. If you treat them right, they will come to think of you as one of their flock.