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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Training Chooks/Hens

Or maybe it is more appropriate to say "conditioning" rather than training.
Animals are most impressionable in the first six weeks of their life that's why if you allow a puppy to learn bad habits early, like jumping up, they are almost impossible to break.
Many people will buy their hens at "point of lay" that is a hen of about five months old who is just starting to lay. The advantage of getting your chickens from hatching or as "day olds" means that you can "bond" with them.
It is very helpful to have your fowl come when they are called or quieten down when they are agitated.

The first noise that I make and teach my chicks is the one tells them who I am and their attention is for me. Each time I come to them and change their water and fill their feed I make it. It makes them stop, be calm/alert and listen. This is also helpful when I am trying to place things in their enclosure. (It is also helpful for their photo shoots!)
Even now, after 2yrs, those same chooks know me by that sound I make. They stop and quieten. Especially handy if the breed is a little flighty like these Leghorn crosses.
The other sound I use is one to indicate food or "come I have treats for you" and they come running. This is helpful when they have strayed from boundaries or escaped into gardens and it's time to return to the yard.
BUT.....
If I am just up and moving about in the kitchen and they spot me, they call and demand me come...
And if I don't go straight away, their next action is to fly up to their fence and eyeball me through the kitchen window, threatening to devour the vegetables in the garden if I don't come straight away and feed them!
Who has trained whom I wonder!
Has anyone out there managed to train their chickens for other tasks? Any techniques you have employed different?

3 comments:

  1. good advice tanya - must say that our ten week old hens we ended up with certainly won't train up and are scatty and flighty. As opposed to our previous young hens that are responsive and communicative.

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  2. I trained our chooks to use their automatic feeder...

    http://funkbunnysgarden.blogspot.com/2010/03/how-to-train-chickens.html

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  3. Oh I love the idea of a trained chicken, but no, they most definitely trained me! They certainly know who brings them their food though, as soon as the spot me the start fussing out loud for me to come see them, it really is very sweet, even if all they want me for is food :)

    Ali.

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