Friday, August 6, 2010
Karen recently asked a question, and my reply was turning into an essay so I thought I would make a post about it.
I stumbled upon your blog this morning, sadly im looking for some chickens as mine dissapeared last night leaving behind just a few feathers, it looks like a fox may have been the culprit. I noticed that your chickens seem to be quite friendly, do they let you pick them up? if so what breed are they? (im deciding what type of chooks to get, looking for a friendly/docile breed that would be fun for kids)
Thanks for the question Karen! Sorry about the fox. My mum unfortunately had a fox incident herself recently and lost hers too. Heartbreaking! :(
My girls are Isa Brown hens. They are very laid back, though a couple of our girls are much more friendly than others. You need to spend a lot of time handling them - hand feeding, patting and picking them up - to get them used to the treatment, but it is worth it.
We try to remember to give everyone a cuddle every day even if it is only a quick one. All their little personalities are so unique so a couple of the more outgoing ladies ended up with more attention than the others and love a longer cuddle, sometimes sitting on a lap for up to 30 minutes! If you listen to their body language you can guage when they want the attention to stop so they don't get too stressed and gradually increase the time they're held. If you can start the handling when they're chicks or pullets you'll have more success too, and take them little nice treats like sunflower seeds to handfeed them.
I think my girls would be great with kids, with supervision of course, as chickens do love to peck at spots or shiney things and still give my earrings and freckles a go if they notice them. I always loved my parents chickens when I was a kid.
Just today I had a lovely cuddle with one girl purring in my lap and another came over and snuggled beside us. We have one girl in particular that will gently peck our pants or shoes to be picked up for a cuddle if she wants it. But of course, they'll all try to avoid a pat if they're too hungry or busy to be bothered too. It's quite amusing having a flock of hens following you around the backyard hoping for a treat.
I'd say that most chicken breeds can be tamed with patience. When I was a kid I loved chickens and would spend a lot of time with my parents hens and the favourites of the bunch would end up being tame enough to pick up and carry around.
Chicken cuddles are the best kind of cuddles!!