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Do Chickens Show Affection to Humans?

As a chicken keeper myself, I think one of the most misunderstood things about chickens is their personalities.

People keep dogs and cats for their love, affection, quirks and because they find them interesting, but with chickens, they’re mainly seen as unintelligent egg machines who peck at the ground without a thought.

The thing that interests me the most about keeping chickens is their personalities, so I spend a lot of time observing them and writing about my experiences. In this article, I want to share with you a bit of what I’ve found out about how they interact with us humans.

Chickens can show affection towards humans in various ways, such as following them around, running towards them, and enjoying being petted or held. These social birds can form bonds with humans, especially when consistently handled gently and fed treats, recognizing them as a source of care and food.

As with any animal, or humans for that matter, how affectionate a chicken can be towards a human really does depend on the individual chicken and how much time they spend interacting with humans.

Read on to find out more about how chickens can show affection towards humans and how you can bond and interact with your flock to make them more affectionate towards you.

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How do Chickens Show Affection Towards Humans?

Once you’ve established a routine with your chickens and they’ve learned to trust you, they will start to see you as part of their flock.

Here are some of the ways to indicate possible signs of affection and bonding towards you as their owner:

  • They connect with you – when a chicken looks up at you when you’re interacting with them.
  • Grooming – when a chicken is relaxed enough to groom and preen while you sit with them and they might even pick bits off you too.
  • Wanting to stay close to you – in rarer cases, chickens can become attached to a human and will stay close to you whenever you’re around.
  • Noise interaction – if you spend time with your chickens you might notice them making soft contented noises when you’re there.
  • They come to sit on you – some owners chickens become so attached to them that they come and sit on their lap and some will even fall to sleep.
  • They’re happy to let you pick them up – this is something which needs to be worked on, but some chickens actually enjoy the closeness of being cuddled.
  • Your chickens are very interested in you – chickens are very inquisitive and some will become interested in what you’re doing when you’re around.

Now, I’m not going to lie here, I would say that in most cases, this all comes down to about 80% cupboard love and 20% because they like to be around you.

Being the feeder and the person who treats them, they will mainly think you’re great for this reason.

But there are also those times when you will be able to see a bond between you and your chickens that goes beyond something which is just cupboard love.

If you ever watch your hens on a warm afternoon when they’re huddled together preening or taking a dust bath and picking bits off each other, that’s their way of enjoying each others company and relaxing.

It’s moments like that which you can share with them where they feel relaxed and happy to be around you and might even show some affection towards you.

Now, I’m not saying you need to take a dust bath with your chickens, but being around them for these moments and connecting with them, helps to build a bond.

The exception to the rule of forming a bond with your chickens is there is always that one antisocial chicken who doesn’t spend time with the rest of the flock and certainly has no interest in coming anywhere near you.

Our flocks have changed over the years and we’ve found that this pretty much happens in any flock. Our hens are free-range and there’s always one or two who just spends the day alone grazing while the others always stick together.

I’ve also had hens who have been more interested in humans that chickens and one in particular who followed me everywhere, sat with me outside and had no interest in the flock.

How to Get Your Chickens to be More Affectionate Towards You

The truth is here, there is no way to get them to show affection towards you because it’s really down to that individual chicken or chickens becoming that little bit more affectionate than the others and choosing to spend time with you.

Like I said above, there will always be that chicken who has no interest in spending time with other chickens, let alone humans.

But there are things you can do to help to create more of a bond between you and your chickens which ultimately can lead to them being more affectionate towards you as their owner.

Here are just some techniques which you can use to bond with your chickens, which can help to increase their affection towards you:

  • Talk to your chickens– chickens communicate using various sounds so talking to them is a great way to start interacting with them.
  • Sit down with them – letting them get used to you at their level and allowing them to come to you on their terms is a good way to build trust.
  • Don’t handle them if they don’t like it – you can still bond with a chicken even if they don’t like being handled, take things slowly to begin with and build up their trust.
  • Treat your chickens – an occasional healthy treat such as dried corn and certain types of veg will help to win them over (see below for more information on treats).

The article below goes into much more detail on how to bond with your chickens:

How to bond with chickens (of any age)

Healthy Treats For Chickens

If you’re going to treat your chickens it’s important to make sure it’s something which will be good for them and not something which is going to make them ill.

While treating is a well-meaning gesture, there are some foods which we eat that could potentially impact the chicken’s health, such as junk food which is high in salt or fat.

To find out more about the best treats for chickens, you might find the article below helpful:

What should chickens eat – a complete guide

chickens eating a corn treat

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I hope this post has helped you to find out more about how chickens can be affectionate towards humans, you might also like the following articles too:

7 tips on How to get your chickens to like you

How to get chickens to follow you

Why do Chickens Peck Your Feet?

Why do chickens wipe their beaks?

What Time do Roosters Crow?

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 February 14, 2021.

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