Why are My Chickens Scared of Me?
Chickens can get scared of you for a number of reasons which include making a sudden move, chasing them, being too loud, or being a stranger to them, among others. Just like cats and dogs, chickens are skittish animals although they hate being touched, pampered, or held by strangers.
However, there are a few things you need to do to earn their trust. First, you have to take some time to study them and understand why they flee upon seeing you.
Why do Chickens Run Away from You?
Chickens use running as their ultimate method of survival. So, when they are not yet used to you, they are likely to run as soon as you approach them. Once they trust you, they will get comfortable around you rather than running away. Here are top reasons why your chickens may get scared of you:
– You Are Loud
Being too loud can scare your chickens and even make them look for a place to hide. Chickens tend to be naturally skittish birds, so loud noises are likely to startle or send them into a moment of frenzy and confusion.
That is why you may have spotted some of your birds running around crazily or rushing into their coop as soon as they hear loud noises such as thunder, car engines, or a group of people yelling.
Make sure your chickens are spending most of their time in a quiet and peaceful environment. Besides, lower your voice when you get too close to them. Spend some time with them so they can get used to your voice.
– They Don’t Know You
It is common for your flock of chickens to avoid you if they are not used to you. Chickens and other farm animals are always unfriendly to strangers. More often, people are not interested in spending a few minutes with their young, growing chickens. This is exactly where the trouble starts.
On the contrary, the same people will find newly hatched chicks to be a little lovely and attractive. They will undoubtedly hold them and treat them like little pets until they grow to become young chickens. At this stage, these young birds are taken to their coop or left to hang about and roam the backyard.
The only time these young chickens come close to their caretakers is during feeding and drinking time. No one seems to show them the same interest they were used to when they were just chicks. As a result, the trust and bond are lost, making chicken owners look like strangers to their flocks.
Your chickens can trust you if you take some time to be with them, hold them, and play around with them. Otherwise, they may constantly run away from you when you try to get too close. But when they get used to your presence, they will even rush to meet you or follow you around.
– You Move Very Fast
As expected, the sudden move can scare all animals, including chickens. Such moves are signs of threats to your birds. When chickens feel threatened, they resort to running for their lives. Some may do so just to avoid being captured.
Their instincts will certainly tell them that they are in danger and the only way out of that situation is to flee to their coops or places that look safe to them. For that reason, never make very fast moves that can startle your chickens.
How Do You Get Your Chickens to Trust You?
You can easily create a strong bond with your chickens from when they are young chicks. This is the most effective way to make your birds trust you. However, you may as well have acquired some chickens along the way and want to make them get used to you.
While making grown-up chickens trust you may be a little bit difficult, you can find better ways to get them close to you. You can apply the following simple tricks to make them get along well with you:
Start With Baby Chicks
When you start bonding with your little chickens, you can be sure of earning their trust when they become mature. As they grow, your young chickens will be friendly with you and want to spend some time around you. To achieve this feat, make sure you routinely feed them, play with them, and hold them gently.
– Talk to Them
Learn to talk to your birds as early as when they are still chicks. Talking to your little chickens will help them start associating with you and getting familiar with your voice. As they grow, they will also get used to the different tones of your voice and even not get scared when you speak loudly.
Start by talking to them in your usual everyday tone but not the baby tones. On the other hand, start using their names so they can easily identify themselves whenever you call them.
The more your chicks hear you calling their individuals names, the more they recognize your voice and ultimately understand their names. By the time they are mature, they will easily get more comfortable around you than being with a stranger.
– Be Present Often
Your presence matters a lot when it comes to making your chickens trust and like you. They need to see you most of the time, especially during feeding hours. In addition to that, sit with them and help them eat or drink.
If possible, find a book and read it to them. Chickens are among the smartest farm animals. They can remember faces and voices from specific people. This means that the more you spend time with them, the more they will become familiar with you and your voice. It may take time to achieve this goal but rest assured that your birds will finally be comfortable being around you.
– Hand Feed Them
Giving your flock of chickens some feed is not just enough to make them trust you. You need to go the extra mile to hand feed them as well. Give them special foods such as freeze dried mealworms, healthy snacks, and chick starter food (for chicks) by hand. Your chickens will be all over you once they are sure that you have some nice, tasty food for them.
– Give Them Treats
Tasty treats provide an easy way to develop a strong bond with your chickens, especially the older ones. They will always associate you with specific types of treats. In this case, you should consider choosing foods and snacks that excite them.
Good examples of treats to feed your birds include mealworms, corn, pumpkin seeds, and many more. It may take a while for them to be comfortable with you but eventually, they will trust you and get closer rather than run away when you approach them.
How Do You Tell If Your Chickens Like You?
You will know that your chickens like you when they feel comfortable around you or follow you wherever you go. They will also stay on when you get close to them. Some may even sit on your laps or stay comfortably in your arms.
In most cases, they will rub their beaks on you, get under your feet, give you a hug, present themselves to be petted, touch you with their tail feathers, try to groom you, stand on your feet, or snuggle on your laps.
If you discover that your chickens are running away from you, just know they are scared of you. It does not matter how old your birds are because they will still try to avoid you. To help them get used to you, make sure to treat them right.
Provide them with their favorite treats, talk to them, approach them in a friendly manner and handle each bird gently to help them get used to you. With time, they will run towards you instead of running away from you whenever you approach them. After all, chickens are some of the friendliest animals that you can keep at home.