Do you have dreams of keeping a pet chicken? If so, one of the crucial things you’ll have to master is how to pet your chickens. So, how do you go about it? Do you do it like you would pet a dog or cat?
The best way to pet a chicken is from neck to tail with a flat hand, making sure to maintain gentle motions. However, as you bond further, your chicken may allow you to pet them on the chest and neck.
In this blog post, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of petting your chickens and give you tips on how to make them feel comfortable and safe around you. We’ll also show you how to handle them correctly. So, let’s get started!
Chickens are not like cats and dogs when it comes to being petted. They can’t be simply picked up and cuddled with as you would a dog or cat. Chickens, primarily if they’re newly hatched chicks, should be handled gently at all times so that they don’t get hurt or stressed out by the experience.
So, how should you pet a chicken?
The best way to pet a chicken is with your hands. This allows for an intimate and personal connection between you and your chickens, which helps build trust over time. It also avoids birds getting injured or stressed out if they’re not handled correctly (or at all).
Here’s how to pet a chicken:
Approach the chicken from the side:
You should avoid chasing or cornering chickens, as this can make them anxious or scared. Instead, approach them calmly from the side to avoid startling them.
Gently pet them from neck to tail:
Keeping your hand flat, stroke your chicken from its neck to tail in a smooth motion. This will be the most soothing for your bird and help it feel more relaxed.
Hold the chicken against the wings when lifting:
When picking up a chicken, it’s essential to support her wings, so she doesn’t feel scared or uncomfortable. You can do this by cradling her against your body with one arm and using the other hand to support her bottom.
Let go of the chicken if they start struggling:
If you notice your bird struggling, especially when picking her up, it is an excellent idea to let go of the chicken so that she doesn’t feel threatened.
Avoid holding them for long periods:
While chickens can be great pets, they are not as affectionate or social as cats and dogs. It’s therefore essential to only hold a chicken for a short period and avoid doing so if they seem to be uncomfortable.
In the initial stages, it’s best to pet your chicken without holding them. This way, you’ll learn how she reacts to your touch and whether or not she enjoys it. Once you are confident that they enjoy being touched, you can attempt holding her so long as she is calm and comfortable with the process.
When attempting to hold your chicken, avoid chasing them as they may feel threatened. Instead, gently pet them on the back of their neck and scoop them up in your arms.
- The best position when lifting a chicken is to have your palms against the wings.
- Next, wrap your fingers around the chicken’s belly for extra support.
- In this position, the chicken won’t be able to flap around, and you’re less likely to injure them.
Once you have a good grip, keep one hand on the wings and stomach and cradle the other side of the chicken against your chest. Make sure to support her body weight, especially if she is a young chick. Hold her close to your chest and avoid letting her hang down, as this can cause injuries.
At this point, you can start petting her. If the chicken begins to squirm or seems uncomfortable, let her go.
Here’s a video with some great tips on making your chicken more cuddly, with more info below:
To make the petting experience more enjoyable for both you and the chicken, it’s essential to know where they like to be petted. Chickens have three main areas that they love being petted: their back, back of their necks, and the back of their necks.
However, they generally enjoy being petted anywhere apart from their tail feathers and head. This said, not all chickens are the same. For example, some may like being petted on their heads, while others may not. So it’s always best to start slowly and gently when petting a chicken and see how she reacts.
If you have kids, you may be wondering if they can also pet the chickens. The answer is yes. Kids can definitely pet chickens! However, they need constant supervision to pet the chickens gently.
You’ll also want to hold the chicken yourself when your child is petting it for the first time. This way, you can make sure that your kid doesn’t grab its feathers or hold it too tightly in their hands, which could frighten the chicken and even cause injuries to her.
When your children are old enough, you can teach them how to pet the chicken by demonstrating how to do it. It’s a good idea to have them practice on a stuffed animal or another toy chicken first, so they can get the hang of it before interacting with the live chickens.
It’s also advisable to start with smaller chickens. They are easier to handle, and they won’t be as feathery as bigger chickens, making it easier for children to pet them without hurting them.
You may also be wondering if your chickens like being petted. Again, it depends on the breed and chicken’s personality. Some breeds, such as the Orpington, tend to be more affectionate than others, while some individual chickens (regardless of their breed) may just not like human contact at all.
Some tell-tale signs that your chicken enjoys being petted are relaxing and closing its eyes or even falling asleep. On the other hand, if your chicken is panting or has its feathers puffed up, it’s probably not a good idea to pet it any further.
When you’re keeping chickens as pets, the goal is to make them as comfortable and friendly as possible before trying to pet them. Doing so will build your bond and teach your chickens that you’re a trusted friend.
There are a few different things you can do to make this happen:
The last thing you need is for your chickens to be scared of people when they’re full-grown. By getting them used to people when they’re chicks, you’ll make the process a lot easier down the road.
One way to go about this is to hold them and pet them every day. They’ll start to see you as a familiar figure, which will make it easier for you to handle them down the road. When holding your chicks, ensure they’re covered with a sheet or towel so that:
- They won’t poop on you
- They stay warm
However, don’t overdo it. Chicks need plenty of sleep, food, and water. Therefore, keep the petting sessions to a maximum of 10 minutes. When the chicks are a bit older, about 4 weeks old, you can start going outside with them for longer sessions of up to 30 minutes. At week 6, they’ll be comfortable living outside in a coop.
Another thing you can do is allow people to pet them when they’re outside. This will get them used to being touched by different people.
Another way to get your chickens comfortable around people is by handling them and talking to them every day. This will encourage them to see you as a friendly person and not be afraid of you.
Depending on how you raise it, it may take a few months up to a year for a chicken to gain your trust. However, if you’ve raised your chickens as pets since they were a few weeks old, then you’ll probably be able to pet them within the first year.
If you adopt a mature chicken, it may take longer for her to warm up to humans because she was previously in an environment where she didn’t get much human interaction.
Therefore, be patient and give your chicken time to know you. Eventually, she’ll start to see you as a friend and will enjoy being petted.
It’s advisable to pet your chicken at least once a day. This helps establish a daily routine and will make her think you’re going to pet her every time you approach.
Petting your chicken is also good for bonding with them, so it’s worth making an effort to do this as often as possible. You can even talk to your chicken while you’re petting them. This way, they’ll get to know your voice too.
As we’ve mentioned, not all chickens like to be petted, but most do. If your chicken doesn’t seem too interested in being petted, then it’s probably best not to force the issue. Instead, just continue interacting with them in other ways, and they’ll come around in their own time.
However, if they show a liking for being petted, you may want to keep up the habit because petting your chickens comes with several benefits, including:
Petting your chicken can be a great stress reliever for them. This is especially true if your chickens spend most of their time in an enclosure or coop. It’s also proven that people get the same calming effects when they pet their animals. So it’s a win-win!
Even if you’re keeping your chickens as pets, you’ll still want them to produce eggs. Petting your chickens can increase their egg production because it helps keep them relaxed.
So there you have it! How to pet your chickens in a step-by-step guide. Just be sure to follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to enjoying the benefits of pet
Petting also provides some much-needed social interaction for chickens that don’t get to see you very often during the day when interacting with other members of the flock. Therefore, it improves your relationship with them while helping to relieve stress or boredom.
Petting your chickens can also make performing your daily health checks easier. You’ll be able to more easily identify any problems with their feathers, skin, or overall health by simply petting them.
Not to mention, you won’t have any problems with them running away from you or hiding when it’s time for these checks. So it’ll be a much smoother process overall.
Can you keep one chicken? This is a question that a lot of first-time chicken owners have. The answer to this question is no. It’s not advisable to keep a single chicken because these are social animals. They need companionship and will be very lonely if they’re kept alone. Not to mention, they may go into depression, which may prevent them from laying eggs.
Ideally, you should have at least three chickens, but we’d recommend four to six as a minimum number for happy hens. With this number, you can rest assured you’ll never have a shortage of eggs or companionship.
There you have it! Everything you need to know about petting a chicken. Now it’s time to go get yourself some feathered friends of your very own. Just be sure to follow the steps we outlined in this blog post, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a chicken expert!
And remember, it may take some time to get your chickens fully used to you. So be patient and keep petting them, and soon they’ll be coming up to you for scratches and cuddles!