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7 tips on how to get chickens to like you

Not all chicken breeds and individual chickens are that friendly towards people but there are many that thrive being around humans and will dash up to greet you when you go to see them.

Many people choose chicken breeds based on their personalities and most of all friendliness, but what happens if your chickens aren’t as friendly as you’d hoped?

We’ve spent time experimenting in ways to keep a friendly chicken and we own warrens that wait for us to come outside and then rush up making a big noise as if we’re a long lost friend. We put a few simple steps into place when we first get chickens and they seem to work with most breeds and even ex-battery chickens

I want to share these steps with you so you can make yourself more appealing to a chicken and even get them to sit with you or follow you around in the garden. Our tips to get chickens to like you more are:

  • Develop a call or whistle which you can use from day one of getting your chickens.
  • Spend time near and around the chickens so they get used to you.
  • Talk to them and allow them to connect with you.
  • Treat them when they come up to you.
  • Don’t try and pick them up too much too soon.
  • Keep calm and don’t make any sudden movements.
  • Allow them grazing time for health and well-being.

Read on to find out more about each tip and how you can use them to make your chickens like you more, which will also help you to get them to come when called.

1. How to call chickens

Chickens respond well to a unique call or whistle which they know is just for them. My husband uses a whistle (which I can’t do) that he uses at every feeding time from day one of getting a new chicken.

They get used to this sound even when they’re in the coop and then whenever they hear it they come running.

The call can be absolutely anything you like, as long as it’s the same each time so they can get used to it. It only takes about a week or two to get used to the call and it’s a good way for them to connect and get used to being around you.

2. Spend time around the coop so chickens can get used to you

Spending time each day around the coop will help to get your chickens to know and trust you over time.

Sitting outside with them while they graze around you is not only calming for you, but the chickens will feel more relaxed once they get used to you too.

They might even come and sit or sunbathe along side or with you in time.

3. Talking to chickens to connect with them

You might think I’ve gone a bit crazy here, but stick with me! If you spend time watching your chickens you’ll soon notice that they’re constantly making soft clucking and bawking sounds especially when people are around.

The sounds they make and how they use them can depend on the breed and the individual, but in my experience, most of them will respond back when you talk to them or make some kind of noise too.

If you look at your chickens when you speak to them they may even look up to make eye contact.

Connecting and speaking to your chickens is a really good way to get them used to you and to get to know and like you – give it a try and see how they respond!

The image below shows and example of our warrens doing just this – warrens are a generally a very friendly chicken and are good for beginner chicken keepers.

Image of chickens from various angles

4. Treat chickens when they come to you

Like puppy training, giving chickens a treat when they come to call works really well for getting them to come to you and for getting them back to the coop at the end of the day.

The treat can be anything you like, from a handful of seed to some leafy greens or fruit, but they’ll learn to love you for it and will rush up to you when they see you.

Using the treat tactic along with step one from day one of owning your chickens will help to get the chickens to like and trust you.

5. Don’t handle chickens too much at first

Not all chickens like being handled and will get stressed when they’re picked up, although it’s important to get them used to being picked up for any health treatments etc, too much too soon can be too much for some chickens.

Let your chickens get used to you and trust you using the previous steps before you start trying to handle them.

A good way to get them used to being touched is by stroking them gently when they come up to you without picking them up.

6. Keep calm and don’t make any sudden movements

When you first get chickens it’s good to stay calm and quiet around them while they get used to their new surroundings.

New chickens can be jumpy when they’re introduced to a new coop and will scare easily. By staying calm and following the steps above, they will quickly get used to you.

This is especially important if you’re taking in rescue or ex-battery chickens who are not used to human contact or being in the open.

7. Allow chickens grazing time for health and well being

A happy chicken is a friendly chicken and one of the things that makes a chicken the happiest is scratching and grazing for natural food, closely followed by dust baths and sunbathing.

It’s not always possible to allow chickens lots of grazing space, but giving them some space to scratch and dig will keep them happy and healthy due to the nutrient-rich foods they will find naturally.

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I hope this post has given you some tips on how to get your chickens to like you As much interaction early on is key to having a friendly flock, but be prepared because there always that one chicken who doesn’t like to conform!

You might also find the following post helpful:

7 ways to get chickens back into the coop at night

Are chickens really that messy?

Do chickens need water in the coop at night?

The pros and cons of keeping chickens

How to get chickens to follow you

Our recommended coop

Chicken coop for different flock sizes and different weather.

This article and its contents are owned by Pentagon Pets and was first published on October 8, 2020.

Click here to find out more about our recommended coop.