In exploring the incredible world of our feathered friends, one uncovers the truly surprising intelligence of chickens. While often underappreciated, these barnyard fowls are not only capable but eager learners when provided with effective and stimulating training methods.
This article takes you on an insightful journey into the realm of chicken training- shedding light on the potential of a chicken’s intellect, practical steps to embark on a training adventure using communication and sound, and seven specific skills or behaviors you can efficiently cultivate in your fine-feathered pets. Brace yourself for an invigorating experience while bridging the gap between human and avian understanding!
Before we start training our chickens, we must first understand their intelligence and what your little furry friend is capable of. Chickens do not just peck and cluck aimlessly. On the contrary, these fascinating birds possess astoundingly complex cognitive capabilities that rival or even surpass those of some household pets.
Firstly, chickens have impressive memory retention abilities. They can remember over 100 different faces! This includes both their chicken friends and their human caretakers. So, if you think your backyard chickens don’t recognize or remember you, think again.
In addition to superior facial recognition skills, chickens have exhibited an understanding of mathematical concepts. They can compare quantities and even comprehend rudimentary arithmetic! Isn’t that surprising? Aside from these academic feats, chickens also exhibit empathy towards their peers— a trait that was previously thought to be exclusively found in primates.
Now that we’ve established that chickens are quite smart let’s talk about how we can leverage their intelligence while training them! Training chickens is essentially a task of patience, kindness, and creativity.
Positive reinforcement is crucial. Most things are achievable by using this tried-and-true method when it comes to training these feathered friends. Rewarding good behavior with food or treats has proven time and time again to be one of the best ways to encourage repeated behaviors or actions in chickens.
One activity could involve calling for your chickens by name or by a specific sound cue and rewarding them with treats when they respond. You’ll find them perk up in anticipation whenever they hear your training call!
Chickens can also learn physical activities like perching on your hand or arm upon instruction. Start by handling them gently while they’re young so they become used to human interaction. If acclimatized properly, adult birds will peacefully roost on you without fussing.
Chicken agility training is one more idea worth exploring! This fun, circus-like exercise needs creativity in setting up a safe but challenging course. With practice and positive reinforcement, chickens can conquer miniature obstacle tracks, including tunnels or barriers.
Communication and Sound in Training Your Chickens
Training chickens isn’t as peculiar or tough as many may think. In fact, they’re one of the more intelligent birds you’ll come across. The primary trick lies in effectively communicating with these feathered fellows by implementing the same techniques you’d use for traditional pet training- rewarding positive behavior and discouraging negatives, but with a couple of twists- understanding their language and using it in training.
Dive into their lingo! Chickens have diverse sounds for different situations or emotions. “Pok” could mean contentment while pecking around while “Cluck” might show curiosity or gentleness. “Brawk” or “squawk,” on the other hand, might indicate scare or distress. When training your chickens, pay attention to these sounds as indicators of their emotional state during sessions.
But how do you communicate back? Using a consistent sound or phrase every time a particular behavior is done is vital. This could be a phrase repeated, a whistle or even better- a pet clicker! If you’ve never been around bird trainers before, this might seem foreign but trust me- it works wonders! Every time your chicken does something you want them to learn- say pecking at designated spots or retreating to their coop at three sharp whistles- click or make that specific sound or phrase.
Next comes the reward! Chickens are food-motivated creatures. You can choose their favorite treat or cut down some fruits to smaller pieces. Every time they do what you trained them for correctly aligning with your specified sound cue, let them feast on that delicious morsel! This recompense will create an association between the sound and the action leading to reward- over time making them do so without any instigations!
Utilizing this two-way communication through calls, cues, and rewards creates a harmonious bond between you and your chicken while paving the pathway of poultry training! Remember though- Rome wasn’t built in a day. So, stay patient, consistent, observant and most of all make it fun!
My Top 7 Ways To Train A Chicken.
1. Responding to Calls.
This involves teaching your chickens to come when called by associating certain sounds or words with rewards or food. You can initiate this by using a pet clicker, a unique whistle, or even a specific phrase whenever it’s feeding time or when you give them a treat.
2. Perching on Your Hand.
Knowing how to perch on your hand can have numerous benefits both for you as an owner and for the chicken itself! Not only will this allow more intimate interaction between you two, but it will also help manage the flock better by checking their condition up close.
3. Navigating an Obstacle Course.
Training chickens to navigate obstacle courses isn’t just about having fun spectacles! These exercises enhance their cognitive abilities while keeping them healthy and even help fend off boredom or pecking order troubles within the flock.
4. Returning Home from Free Ranging.
Getting your hens used not only by free-ranging but by returning on cue – usually before dusk – ensures they’re safe overnight from predators while providing them higher quality nutrition found outdoors.
5. Being Safely Herded.
Training your chickens for herding eases the process of transitioning them into new locations or getting them back into their coop at the end of the day.
Yes — just like dogs or cats! If you plan to join poultry shows or do chicken photography, consistently practicing poses while rewarding good behavior will make your beloved hen a pro-poser in no time.
7. Wearing a Harness.
You may initially find a lot of resistance regarding this one! However, by applying patient repetition and positive reinforcement (perhaps with some mealworms as a peace offering), your hens will soon be ready for those calm, leisurely walks around the park or neighborhood!