If you treat your chickens with worms and healthy scraps when you’re in the garden, they'll soon become tame. handle them as well when they're still young and they'll soon be completely chilled out in human company.
Chickens who are happy around humans will feed from your hand or even test their luck by hopping through the front door, or begging at your ankles like a dog. If you have children, get them involved in the taming process, showing them how to feed the birds from the hand and handle them in a manner comfortable for human and hen alike.
A young boy holding a tame hen, who has been handled from an early age
Handle Your Chickens When They Are Chicks
If you want tame chickens, buy them at 'point of lay' - that is, when they're still young. If you're hatching your on birds, you can handle them after a couple of weeks. If you keep up the contact as the birds grow they will enjoy the attention, and may even nestle down in your lap like contented cats.
If you are buying from a breeder, ask whether the birds have been handled. Ones which have become used to humans already will be much easier to 'tame'.
Which Chicken Breeds Are Most Tame?
If you are looking for a breed that is typically more tolerant of frequent handling then go for a Silkie or an Ornamental Bantam Breed like the Japanese Bantam. Orpingtons are also great chickens to have as pets. They have wonderful personalities and lay beautiful, brown eggs. It’s also very apparent that Orpington chicks like to jump up on you when feeding them, they love human contact.
An Orpington hen - friendly and beautiful in equal measure
Why Are My Chickens Not Tame?
Sometimes hens just seem to remain nervous and afraid of humans. The usual reason is that they weren’t handled enough when they were younger. They need to be confident in the fact that you are keeping them safe and healthy, and even though you might be doing all you can, if your chickens weren’t handled enough when they were young they just might never want to be picked up or stroked.
You can always try taming untamed chickens by offering food from your hand. In some cases quite flighty birds have gained confidence in their owners after time and have completely changed around, but this takes a lot of time and perseverance.
Nicole, 11 July 2021
Hi someone gave us a chicken I have no idea how old it is or if it had been tamed I want to keep it as a backyard chicken but I don’t know if it was tamed my parents want to kill and eat it but I wanna give her a chance. Any advice?