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How to Pet a Chicken

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Do you have chickens, and do you see the potential for friendship between the two of you?

Chickens are wonderful and interesting creatures that are frequently underestimated for their personality and ability to show love.

If you want to pet a chicken correctly, you should make a steady, gentle stroke and run your hand straight down the chicken’s body from its neck.

But first, you need to tame that chicken, so the petting experience is joyful for both of you.

Like a cat or dog, a tame bird enjoys being stroked. A hen’s willingness to be stroked is a sign of compliance and show of trust in you.

Suppose you want to know how to pet a chicken safely and effectively. In that case, this article will provide you with all the information you need.

little girl petting a chick

Keeping a Chicken as a Pet

To begin, it is important to keep in mind that a chicken is a bird, and as such, it is predisposed to have behaviors that are distinct from those of a cat or dog.

Chickens, for instance, may become quite anxious during the lifting process because they may mistake it for an attack from a predator, which is why, unlike a dog or cat, you cannot simply pick them up and snuggle them.

How to Turn Chickens Into Pets

Consistent attention from when they hatch is the greatest method for forming a tight relationship with your flock of chickens.

After they hatch, chicks learn easily that humans are safe and welcome members of the flock.

So, when you are rearing chicks, it is highly recommended that you spend quality time interacting with them on a daily basis.

Hand feeding, for instance, is a fantastic approach to getting them familiar with the concept of coming each time they see you in the future.

And if your chickens associate your visit with tasty treats and gentle cuddles, they will think you’re pretty amazing.

young girl holding a brown chicken in her arms

Patience and Kindness

Always be patient and kind when dealing with your birds. Successful interactions with birds require a patient, calm, and loving approach.

Once you’ve gained their trust and formed a bond with them, it’s time to start petting them.

Most chickens enjoy being stroked on their backs, chests, and necks. In fact, chickens like to be petted almost everywhere except for their head and tail feathers.

Petting Movements and Spots

When I say “petting,” what I mean is giving the birds a light massage by separating their feathers with your fingers and massaging them down.

So, remember that the tugging that your dog loves probably won’t make your chickens happy.

The majority of chickens respond positively to being petted on the back, chest, and neck. Yet, your chicken may appreciate being caressed practically everywhere. 

The only spots you should avoid if you don’t want to stress your pet are its tail and head.

Pet the chicken with a flat palm all the way down its back, starting at its neck and working your way all the way to its tail.

Once you have established a trusting relationship with your chickens, they will allow you to scratch their necks, bellies, and chests.

Of course, not every chicken is the same. While some chickens may go crazy over any kind of attention you give them, others will be more reserved and refuse to be petted under any circumstances.

You should always respect the nature and preferences of your pets and not force them into activities they do not enjoy.

silver laced wyandotte chicken on green grass

Guidelines for Petting a Chicken

1. Introduce Yourself to Your Chickens and Give Them Time to Settle

  • Start by sitting nearby, watching, and talking quietly to your flock.
  • Toss some tempting treats around you. Make sure the chickens are comfortable enough around you that they will eat near you, scratch in the sand beside you, and walk nearby.
  • Try to avoid making any sudden movements and give your bird some time to become familiar with you.

2. You Shouldn’t Stalk Chickens

  • Do not chase the chickens or pick them up unless absolutely necessary; this will help them get used to you and allow you to approach them without fear.
  • Wait for them to come up to you instead of forcing physical contact.
  • Without making any sudden movements, approach them slowly and steadily from the side in order to avoid scaring them.
  • This will help the chickens get used to you, despite the fact that you are much larger than them and allow you to wander freely among them without fear of being attacked.

3. A Gentle Approach

Training your birds to tolerate human touch requires a great deal of patience.

You should begin by running your fingers along the chicken’s back. Show your bird that your touch isn’t bad and that it’s actually very nice.

Pet the chicken gently from its neck to its tail, keeping your palm flat the whole time. This will have the greatest calming effect on your bird.

4. Let Your Chickens Decide How Long They Want to Be Petted

Although chickens make fantastic pets, they do not have the same needs as other types of animals, such as dogs.

Keep a close eye on your chickens, and if they start becoming antsy or uneasy around you, don’t prolong contact and let them get back to their own business.

boy picking up a chicken and holding an egg on one hand

What Is the Best Way to Pick up the Chicken?

The first rule is to never chase the chicken. The chances of succeeding are poor, and you’ll only end up stressing out and frightening the chickens.

The best method, just like for other animals, is positive reinforcement. It is far more convenient to train the birds to come to you, which may be accomplished with simple daily training.

Nevertheless, as a flock owner, you should definitely know how to pick up and hold your chicken.

  1. Get the chicken to walk closer to a wall or corner before you attempt to lift it.
  2. Do not grab the tail or wings; instead, place your hand in the center of the chicken’s back and secure the wings as firmly as you can.
  3. Lift your chicken carefully and slowly.
  4. Hold the bird more securely by placing your hands around its belly.
  5. Prevent the chicken from jumping by keeping it close to you.

Never pick up a bird by grabbing it by the neck or the legs since doing so could cause the bird to experience unneeded stress as well as possible physical harm.

cochin chicken hen poultry free ranging in the grass

Best Chicken Breeds for Keeping as Pets

There is a wide range of chicken breeds to choose from, making it difficult to narrow down the finest options for keeping as pets.

It’s important to understand that, like any other purebred animal, chickens of various breeds have their own set of personality traits, characteristics, and behaviors.

There are industrial chicken breeds that are particularly efficient in terms of egg or meat output. Several chicken breeds are bred solely to be shown at agricultural fairs and other show events.

Then there are the wonderfully friendly chickens, who are sometimes compared to lovable dogs for their affection for humans.

Nonetheless, each chicken has its own unique temperament. 

The following is a compilation of the best chicken breeds to keep as pets.

  1. Silkie
  2. Buff Orpington
  3. Polish Chicken
  4. Brahma Chickens
  5. Cochin Chickens
little boy holding polish chicken near a coop in the garden

Final Thoughts

Chickens were traditionally thought to be strictly farm animals.

Yet, because of the potential for nutritious and organic eggs, an increasing number of people are starting to maintain backyard hens.

As a result, more and more people are discovering the fun and friendly nature of these creatures, and the idea of keeping hens as delightful pets is becoming increasingly popular.

If you raise your chickens from when they are chicks and you give them care and attention, they will most probably grow to love you.

But if your hens were older when they came under your roof, you will find information about taming them here.

Your chickens will feel safe, protected, and loved if you follow our recommendations.