Do chickens show affection to humans?
The more of a routine this becomes in your day-to-day life the better!
Do chickens like to cuddle?
There are a few factors to this.
- How your chicks were raised
- How much Interaction they’re given
- If they’re used to being cuddled
So first things first. You can’t buy a fully grown chicken and expect it to just love you and cuddle with you. If you want a truly cuddly chicken then it starts when they’re a baby. Get your babies acquainted with you. Every single day multiple times a day go to the chicks brooder and just talk to them quietly and sweetly.
Don’t make sudden movements. After a day or two of just talking slowly and gently pick them up. What I like to do is take them out and put them in my lap.
Let the chicks explore you. Let them climb up you crawl under you and whatever they please so they know you aren’t a threat. After doing this for several days they should get excited to see you.
Now there are things that can affect the cuddling amount. Certain breeds of chicken just don’t like to be held. The best breeds for a snuggly chicken are hands down Silkies, Polish and Jersey Giants.
There may be other breeds that work well for others but these breeds have worked best for me. These breeds are very mellow and chill and don’t mind you picking them up whereas some other breeds like Leghorns don’t love it when you get near them.
Back to step one. If they aren’t given much interaction they will never see you as mama. They won’t let you lick them up and they won’t let you cuddle them. More interaction=more trust.
If your chickens have gotten used to being cuddled from a early age they will love to be cuddled throughout their life.
I once had a chick who was the only one that survived a raccoon attack. Everyday I went out there with her (She was barely a week old) and would spend a hour minimum with her.
She got to the point where she’s follow me around the neighborhood and when she wanted to be cuddled she would fly up on your shoulder and snuggle into your neck. So yes chickens definitely can be cuddly but you have to help out.
How much care do pet chickens require?
They need a safe place to spend the day (and night). That means a secure chicken coop and chicken run. Building this is time consuming but once done?
It’s a simple long term construction that doesn’t require much upkeep at all. You can go as cheap or as expensive as your skills and budget allow. Chickens are really flexible.
Coop cleaning. That takes maybe 30 minutes a week. If your efficient and it’s not hard to become efficient. There are design features you can build in or purchase for that will keep your clean up down to an easy 15 minutes.
From poop trays to easy reach clean out doors. Just keep clean up in mind at all times. Sand spread under the coop is a huge help for cleaning up stray bits.
Pest control. It’s a thing. You have to check the coop regularly for things like mites and also check the chicken for signs of mites and diseases.
Do this during clean up and it’s easy. Diatomaceous earth spread in the corners and around the ends of the perches helps a lot with keeping down pests.
Chickens are really strong animals and quite healthy most of the time but there are precautions that you’ll have to take, just like for a cat or dog, and you can’t really skip them.
Rats and mice are always a concern, making sure you have a reasonably rodent proof feeder that can be locked securely at night will go a long ways here. I build my own.
Keep your stored chicken feed in a metal garbage can, cheap and works perfectly. Which brings us to-
Feed. Chickens can be auto watered and fed, so the 30 minutes of coop maintenance will easily cover most but not all of that.
You can set up a hose to the coop that will fill their waterer for them, buy or build a good sized feeder that will feed them for a week at a time.
It works fine and the birds don’t mind. But you do have to spend a little time cleaning the waterer and feeder as needed. And they do require other things besides chicken feed and water.
You should spend a few hours and learn all the small bits a healthy bird requires.
Grit, oyster shells, diatomaceous earth for pest control. A proper nest box for eggs. A good, comfortable roost. All have to be supplied and kept clean. I’ll include a video that give some basic ideas for you. You will need to adapt the basics to your situation.
Attention. They don’t need as much of this as people will say they do. 2 hens together will self entertain themselves nicely. A few chicken toys will give them something to fuss with. (chicken toys are not something you buy at the store) A bit of room in the run to allow them to scratch, peck and hunt bugs will supply them with a lot of the fulfillment a chicken needs.
If I’m working on taming a flock I spend about 20 minutes a day with them. This time is what is required for them to start thinking of me as a flock member.
I have two or three hens in my pet flock right now who are new hens, they are already fully tamed and will come happily when they see me.
One of them has taken to running a “cuddle’s toll booth” at the gate as I enter then run.
She’ll squat in the door and refuse to let me past until I have scratched her feathers, stroked her waddles ( she loves that) and generally let her know I love her.
About chicken toys, a corn cob with a bit of corn on it hung from a string, a bunch of greens (yes they’re VERY food focused) a pile of grass clippings with weeds included.
A log hung up as a swing. A bouquet of dried millet hung up and a little bit difficult to fully reach. All of these qualify as wonderful chicken toys and will keep them entertained ( and you as well) for hours.