We think our backyard chickens are the cutest things on the planet. And it’s only natural that we want to cuddle them and show them appreciation for their hard work. But how do we do this without freaking them out? Well, with a lot of trust, you can cuddle and pet your chickens. So how do chickens like to be petted, you may ask? So let’s at a look.
Do Chickens Like To Be Petted?
The first question we should ask ourselves is, do chickens like to be petted? The answer to this question depends on your breed of chicken. Different breeds of chicken are known for their cuddly personalities, while others scare easily and prefer to stay away. Breeds like the Orpington and Silkie are famous for how much they love their people. Most of them will jump willingly in your lap for a pet.
But it also depends on the individual chicken. You might have a breed that people swear love affection, but yours don’t. And that’s ok. You could try gaining their trust and developing a stronger bond to give them a little love.
How Do You Gain A Chicken’s Trust?
Before talking about how do chickens like to be petted, let’s go over the trust. You can’t expect to get a chicken and immediately have enough faith to pet them. So how do you gain your chicken’s confidence to pet them? There are a few things you can do.
The best way to gain a strong bond with your flock of chickens is constant attention from the day they hatch. At this young age, they will start to recognize your human face as a mother hen. And food is a great way to win the heart of a young chick. But it takes more than just food to get on their good side.
When you raise chicks, you will need to make an effort every day to come in and spend time with them. Hand feeding is a great way to get them used to the idea of coming whenever they see you. And then you can start scooping them up for short periods of time to get them accustomed to handling.
Doing this every day, several times a day, will make any chicken love you. In addition, your chickens will think you are the best things on earth if you start from a young age.
Older Backyard Chickens
Some people prefer to get pullets when they are just about to lay eggs. This is great because you have fresh eggs sooner, but the pullets are usually not tamed at all. So you will have to work harder to get that perfect relationship. And in this case, food is a great motivator.
When your pullets get all settled, go in and sit with them in the chicken coop. Getting down on their level will seem less threatening, and they won’t be too scared of you. Then hold out a hand full of live meal worms to encourage them to get closer. Once your hens get close enough, you can start reaching out to pet them.
This method might take a while, and you likely won’t get to touch them the first time. However, doing it several times a day is even better because it gives more human contact to your young chickens. With due diligence, your pullets will be lining up for affection in no time.
Where Do Chickens Like To Be Petted?
Once you have your chicken’s trust, it’s time to start petting your chickens. But how do chickens like to be petted? Most chickens like petting on their backs, breast area, and back of the neck. In fact, chickens like to be pet almost everywhere except the head and tail feathers. But not all chickens are the same. Some chickens will love any attention you give them and are super social animals. There are even some cases of chickens who adore a good foot rub.
You can either stroke your chicken from neck to tail with a flat hand. Or once you bond with your chickens, they will let you scratch them on the neck and chest. But we aren’t talking about scratching them like you would a dog’s belly. Instead, you do it by gently parting the feathers and rubbing them with your fingertips.
How To Hold Chickens
Now that your chickens are readily jumping into your hands and lap, you might be wondering how to hold bigger birds. There is a particular way that chickens like to be held. When you pick up a single chicken, you have to take great care not to scare them or grasp them too tightly. That’s because if you hold them too hard, then you risk breaking a bone.
To hold your chickens, remember never to chase them. Instead, approach them slowly from the side of your chickens to let your chickens see you coming. That way, they aren’t startled by your sudden appearance.
You will then need to grab the chicken with your palms against the wings for the perfect holding position. Then wrap your fingers around the belly for extra support. In this position, your chickens can’t flap about as well, so they are less likely to hurt them. Once you have ahold, keep one hand on the wing and stomach and cradle the chicken’s other side against your chest.
Then you can pet your chicken and cuddle with them without fearing that someone will get hurt. But it’s a good idea to let the chicken go if they struggle too much.
Do Chickens Need Affection?
As mentioned earlier, not all chickens like handling. And if you have tried everything, you don’t have to feel bad. Chickens don’t need human affection as other pets do. They like to keep to themselves and are tight-knit flock animals. But there are some benefits of petting your backyard chickens.
It’s no surprise to you, but if a chicken allows you to pet them, it can be a huge stress relief. The gentle way that you run your fingers through their feathers and stroke their backs is relaxing for most. It’s also a good idea to pet baby chickens to keep them calm during their critical stages. But did you know that it’s not just stress relief for your pet chickens?
It’s a proven fact that it provides the same calming relief for humans when people cuddle and pet their animals. So petting your chickens could lower blood pressure, relax the mind, and produce better health. So whenever you get the chance, you should pet those birds for both of you to feel relaxed.
We all know that chickens are good pets, but they also have a job. And most of us would do anything for more eggs. One good reason to pet your chickens more is to increase egg production.
Let’s look at a few things here. A relaxed and healthy chicken will lay more eggs than a hen that is not well cared for. And when you pet your birds, they show you that they have utmost trust and confidence in you as their caregiver. They will melt to your touch to relax and produce more serotonin, thus making them happy chickens. So pet your chickens for more eggs!
Easier Daily Checks
And let’s not forget that it makes for easier daily checks if you can pet your chickens. If your chicken trusts you and lets you rub them, you will notice any differences in their bodies faster. For example, feeling the breast can give you signs of an egg-bound chicken. And if they will let you touch their feet, you can check for bumblefoot before it gets out of hand. And there’s no better thing than making sure that your chickens are always happy and healthy.
So What Chickens Make Great Pets?
As you can tell, there are lots of benefits to having pet chickens. But which ones make the best pets? Except you can’t just go into any pet store and pick out a chick. So here are a few of the most docile birds and their best attributes.
- Easter Eggers– These girls produce some of the most beautiful blue eggs. And since they are sweet and friendly, they are famous for loving all of your attention.
- Plymouth Rocks– For high egg producers that are also perfect first-time pets, the Plymouth Rock is for you. These birds are one of the friendliest chicken breeds, which also makes them incredible backyard pets.
- Rhode Island Reds– Another chicken breed that everyone loves and loves back is the Rhode Island Red. These hens are sweet and loyal birds that you will enjoy having around the yard. Plus, they give you tons of lovely brown eggs.
So Get Out There And Pet Your Chickens
How do chickens like to be petted? Most of them will let you pet them anywhere, as long as they have a little trust. And as long as you are the feeder, they will trust and love you too.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Backyard Chicken Board!!