There is just something sweet and soft about chickens that entice humans to want to pet them. Chickens are pretty cautious when it comes to new homes and new people. Building a relationship with them is essential to be able to show them affection.
Many chickens love affection from their humans, including being petted on their heads, necks, and backs.
Depending on the breed and age of the chicken, they can be big, small, nice, and even aggressive. Temperaments vary from chicken to chicken. So that leaves us to wonder, do chickens like affection from their humans?
If so, what kinds of affections are they willing to accept, and when do they like to be petted? Let’s dive into where chickens like to be petted and what types of chickens have the temperament for it!
What kind of affection do chickens like?
Chickens like getting affection from their owners, especially when they feel safe, loved and well taken care of. Some even enjoy being picked up, carried, and even cuddled.
Chickens are often inquisitive and very interested in their human’s day-to-day life on the farm. Just like people, chickens have different personalities.
The relationship between the owner and the chicken is a major factor in determining the level of affection they are willing to accept.
It is important to remember that although chickens are often curious, perky, little creatures, they are also quite skittish to new people and new environments.
Therefore, if you want to be able to handle your chickens, take it slow, show them you’re not there to harm them.
What is the best way to pet a chicken?
Chickens are used to being handled love to be petted on the head, neck, back, or chest.
It is important to remember that chickens are naturally cautious. If they are approached aggressively or without care, they may feel threatened and will most likely not accept affection.
It is vital that you build trust with your chickens before attempting to handle them. Otherwise, they may remain fearful whenever you come near them.
Four steps to approach a chicken you want to pet
Move quietly and slowly.
This appears much less threatening to your chickens and shows them that you aren’t a predator but are a part of their flock.
Sudden movements can come off aggressive and will result in your chicken fleeing from you to avoid potential danger.
Approach the chicken from behind.
Most hens will squat down when approached from behind because it is a natural response that occurs when a rooster attempts to mate them.
They are less likely to try and run away in this instance.
Talk to your chicken.
Talking to them calmly and quietly shows them that you mean them no harm. This allows your chicken to know you are coming so that you don’t jumpscare them.
They will often recognize your voice as well, and it will soothe their anxiety about being approached.
Reach out slowly and touch your chickens back.
They will either run away or accept the affection. It just takes a lot of patience and practice! Once they are used to you, they may even allow you to pick them up and pet them.
In some instances, they may jump up on your lap if they feel comfortable enough.
How do I get my chickens to trust me?
- The first step to building trust with your flock is to provide them with a safe, quiet, clean habitat to live in.
- Creating a routine by feeding them, interacting with them, and egg collecting at the same time every day will give them time to adapt to you and their surroundings.
- To ensure your chickens feel safe, making their living space free from dogs, loud machinery, and potential predators is important. Sometimes these things are out of our control, but chickens need to feel they are safe and can relax to trust you.
- Treating your chickens with special toys and treats is a great way to build trust and a relationship with your flock. You want them to see you as a part of their flock or as their rooster, their provider.
- Talk to your chickens. Growing up, I always called my dad the “chicken whisperer”, because his chickens knew and responded to his voice. They would flock to him as soon as they saw him walking out the back door. He couldn’t sit down on the back porch without his little friends fighting to sit on his lap for treats and pets.
Can you train your chickens to enjoy being petted?
Yes, you can train your chickens to allow themselves to be handled and given affection.
Starting with young chicks and raising them into full-grown pets is the best way to start an affectionate flock.
The earlier you get your chickens, the easier it will be for you to bond with them and become a part of their flock family or, even better, as their rooster!
It is also important to remember that depending on the breed, some chickens are more fearful and jumpier than others, whereas some are more affectionate and docile.
Make sure you choose the right breed for the type of chicken farm you want.
Tips for training your chickens to enjoy being petted
Select your “top hens”
Just like a rooster does, you need to choose a few ‘top hens’. These top hens will be the chickens you spend most of your time grooming to be your social, petting chickens.
By using these top hens, you are showing the rest of your flock that you are not a threat. This teaches others that you are gentle, loving, and can be trusted.
Bribing your chickens with treats is also a great way to get them accustomed to being held and petted.
Chickens are extremely motivated by food and special treats. By giving them treats, you can get them used to be near you.
Practice makes perfect
Once they are used to being near humans, you can start working on training them to be picked up.
Walking up behind them, if you notice them squatting, is a good sign that they are ready to be handled.
At this point, you can start practicing picking them up and petting their backs and their necks.
Do chickens return affection to humans?
Yes, chickens will often show affection to humans, especially those they recognize as a part of their flock.
Chickens will recognize the hand that feeds them and cares for them. If you spend a lot of time with your chickens and treat them like family, they will often treat you the same in return.
Chickens like to show affection is by running over to their owner and rubbing their head on them.
Chickens will often flock to you and follow you around while you work and complete your chores. Some chickens will even jump up on your lap or perch on your arm when called.
Depending on how socialized your chickens are with you will affect how they respond to your presence.
I grew up on a farm with about 30 chickens at a time, and the local sandwich shop would donate their old bread to us when it expired. Our chickens would go crazy for that stuff!
If we held the bread up right in our hand to where the chickens could see it, they would jump up and perch right on our arm and peck the bread!
It is all in how you communicate with and care for your chickens.
What are the best chicken breeds for raising an affection-loving flock?
There are a few breeds that are well known for their affection and friendly dispositions.
|Silkies||Known for their lax, friendly attitude. They are considered great pets for families with small children. Known to be quite affectionate.|
|Speckled Sussex||Friendly, docile hens that are great for families and children. They are very vocal.|
|Cochins||Cochins are known to be very calm, mellow, friendly birds. The roosters rarely get aggressive.|
|Wyandotte Chickens||Wyandotte chickens are so docile and trainable that they are often used as show birds. They are an extremely versatile breed of chicken.|
|Brahmas||Known for their friendly disposition with high egg production.|
|Barbu D’Uccles||Roosters and hens of this breed are quiet. They love their owners’ company and will often jump up on your lap for pets and treats.|
Chickens are interesting creatures. Depending on the breed, they can be the most affectionate little pets to have roaming around your backyard!
It’s important to remember that approaching chickens slowly and quietly is the best way to show them you are not a threat.
By training them from a young age to accept affection, you can almost guarantee they will grow up to be great lap chickens that love to be petted and cuddled.