The question is, can I train my chickens to come when called? The truth is that you can train your chickens to come when called. This process is simple and straightforward. What you need is to make different sounds and gestures, and your birds will respond promptly.
Some people feel that training chickens to do something unusual is extremely difficult. But I can assure you that these lovely domestic birds are smarter and intelligent. So intelligent that they can learn new concepts better than most animals. This makes it easy for you to train them to do anything you want.
Experienced chicken owners will tell you that these birds are as smart as your four-year-old daughter or son. This may sound fictitious, but with time, you will come to understand better.
Chickens can recall things or even recognize objects. Their skills in memorizing specific incidents, actions, and tangible objects are amazing. These skills give them an excellent opportunity to learn and grasp what you teach them. So you can rely on their sharp memory to train them to come closer to you when necessary.
They are also fully aware of the reward system that comes when you call them. Using this notion, you may use a few treats to make them understand the reason you are calling them. This tactic allows them to perform certain actions in the hope of getting rewarded.
What are the Reasons for Training Your Chickens to Come when Called?
Many reasons explain why you might want to call your birds to get close to you when they are free-ranging.
Some of these reasons include the following:
To keep them away from predators
You may have been lucky enough to spot a coyote, fox, or even a mongoose before it pounces on your unsuspecting chickens. In order to save them from becoming an easy meal for predators, you can just call them to their safety.
Once your chickens are used to your call, they will definitely respond promptly and come to where you are at. Then you will take them to the safety of their pen or coop until the situation gets back to normal.
When the weather conditions change drastically
Bad weather can be a recipe for disaster to your chickens. If you notice that it is getting cloudy and windy, you may call your free-ranging chickens to help them stay away from the coming storm.
When their free-range time is over
Usually, chickens would come back to their coop when dusk comes. But this is not always the case with some chickens, especially the new ones. To help them get back to their coop for the night, you may call them out.
If the majority are trained to come when called, they will compel others to respond to your call as well. This way, you will find it easy to confine them in their coop during the night.
If you want to know their location
It is essential to monitor your flock while they are free-ranging. If you are not sure where others might be, you may call them to be sure of their location. Some of them might be hiding in your backyard garden while others may be wandering a little farther away from the yard.
To ensure that they are all safe, you can just call them, and they will come to you immediately. Then you will confirm if they are all present before going about your business.
How do You Train Your Chickens to Come When Called?
Below are steps to follow when training your chickens to come when called:
1. Start Your Training Within a Protected or Enclosed Area
Make a temporary enclosure in your backyard for the training of your birds. Once finished, let them out of their coop into the fenced-up area. Leave them to get used to their training ground for a while.
After your flock has settled well in the training enclosure, you should try to cheer them up. Talk to them and observe how each bird behaves. Keep in mind that they perceive you as a source of their daily needs, such as food, water, and many treats. As such, they will pay attention to anything you do in their presence.
Since they are very social animals, chickens will quickly get along with you if you spend a little time with them. Getting closer and interacting with them will help you earn their trust. And this is what you should strive to achieve if you want the training to succeed.
2. Carefully, Choose the Technique You Will Use to Call them
This step requires you to decide which type of “call” to use. In this case, the call can be in the form of a unique sound, word, or phrase. What you choose should be consistent so that your birds can quickly get used to it.
Make sure to use the same word, sound, or phrase all the time you are training your birds to come when called. If it is a word you want to use, just say it consistently and in the same way without altering the sound, pitch, or intonation.
3. Connect the Call to their Reward
Chickens love tasty treats and will do anything to have a taste of any treat you give them. Choose one unique treat to establish a connection with your call. Your treat of choice can be sunflower seeds, mealworms, apples, unsalted pumpkin seeds, cucumber, cracked corn, and so on.
Use the treat to make your birds get used to your call throughout. Once they get closer to you, reward them with that particular tasty treat. Make it a habit of rewarding them with the same type of food until they get used to your call.
4. Guide Your Chickens to their Pen
At this point, you should have your chicken’s attention. Meaning that they should be all over you while curious to know what treat you have for them. Take advantage of their trust in you and encourage them to follow you. Give them a few treats along the way as they get closer to their pen.
Even though one or two birds may try to wander off out of boredom, keep calling them while rewarding them. They will definitely come closer to you to get some more treats. When you get near the pen, toss a few tasty treats inside to lure them in. They will likely follow the treats inside the enclosure. Shut the door once they get inside and give them a few more treats to keep them calm.
5. Repeat The Training Process Every Day
Start with step 1 all the way to step 4. Repeat all these steps the following day to know if your chickens can promptly respond to your call. If not, start all over again until they get everything right. Do this every day until you are confident that your birds are responding well to your call.
At the same time, watch every bird to find out if all of them are following you to enter their pen. This is the only way you will know if your training was effective and successful. To remind you, chickens are intelligent animals and will easily grasp everything you teach them to do.
6. Increase the Size of their Free-Range Area
After training your birds to come when called, you should spend a little more time with them. This will help you to know if they can voluntarily respond to your call at any given time.
Once you are sure that they are well-trained to come when called, you must consider expanding their free-range area. Get rid of your temporary fence or enclosure so they can roam the yard freely. While expanding their free-range area, be mindful of their security. Ensure that there is secure fencing around their larger roaming area to keep away predators.
Besides tasty treats, what else should I use to make my chickens come when called? You may use something like a bell or a whistle alongside some tasty treats to train your birds. In the absence of these two items, you can just use your voice to create different calls for your multiple flocks.
Which types of tasty treats are suitable for training my chickens to come when I call them? The best treats for training your chickens are those that you can easily spread and sprinkle around. Examples of such treats include bird seeds, scratch grains, dried mealworms, among others.
You can train your chickens to come when called by following simple steps. The steps start from making an enclosure for the training, followed by the procedure to make your birds trust you. You may repeat the whole process to ensure that every bird follows you to the pen whenever you call them.
The training itself plays an essential role in keeping your chickens safe. After they have learned to come when called, you can help them avoid predators, stay away from bad weather, and easily confine them in their coop after dusk.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Chicken Board!!