Just selecting certain breeds isn’t enough to have a fully tamed chicken. Much of the time you’ll discover that getting your chickens to trust you and stick with you isn’t as simple as just hatching them and then tossing them feed once in a while. There are a few things you can do to help things out though to ensure that these chickens really are yours and not just living somewhere near you. Here are just a few simple ways to tame chickens.
The best advice you can follow is to start when they’re young. Younger animals are always more impressionable, and chicks are no exception. The goal is to ensure that the animals are comfortable with you and other humans, and that should be the angle you approach them from at all times. You want them to be connected to their momma hen, but you also want them to associate you with good things and act as if you’re another mother of sorts.
To really start to form this connection, you’ll want to feed them frequently from your hand when they’re still chicks. Make sure there’s enough space around so that they don’t feel crammed by you, then gently and quietly reach your hand down and offer them feed. You don’t want to be forceful about this or demand that they come right over. This is going to take a lot of patience to accomplish as it will all have to happen on their time, not yours.
Of course, the type of breed can certainly play into how simple or difficult this will all be in the long run. A lot of breeds are more inclined to be outgoing and sociable, so they will naturally be a lot simpler to coax into domesticated tendencies, such as coming when you call or just generally acting calm when you’re around. Of course, something you should never do, especially when they’re young, is to actively do things that could frighten or alarm them, such as screaming at them or running toward them. The goal is not to induce panic, so keep that in mind.
Something very simple you can do to help them become accustomed to noise and commotion is to leave a radio on nearby them during the day. You don’t necessarily want it to be too loud but make sure it’s noticeable. This will help them to get used to the sound of people around them, thus reducing their fear later on when they’re expected to interact with you and others on a regular basis. The radio trick, along with constant calm reinforcement, should do the trick when started early on.
Chickens are a pretty domesticated species these days, but it still requires some effort to get them all the way there. Have patience and work with a dedication toward their eventual integration with the human world!
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