|Me making friends with our four hens|
We wanted our hens to be pets as much as we wanted egg-producers, which is just as well as they have yet to lay an egg! Watching them from a distance is good fun, but we want to be able to interact with them properly too.
Bribery. As far as I can tell, bribery is the answer. To be more specific, food is easily the quickest way to a chicken's heart. We enter their run each day armed with a pot of mixed corn. A small scattering to get them interested, and then start keeping the corn close to us in an attempt to persuade them closer. We are even more popular on the days we present them with a grape each. Fizzy and Pepper quickly learnt to accept offerings straight from our hands, and even Frog lately has gained enough confidence to join them. Sadly, Lemon keeps her distance a little, but we try to throw her some corn while the others are distracted to make sure she gets her share.
Our real aim however, was to tame them enough to be picked up. Plenty of other chicken keepers will testify to their girls loving cuddles. So, after a couple of weeks, we started a routine of catching each of them on a daily basis, and rewarding them with food. Panic and mayhem followed. Pepper and Frog seemed the most calm while being held, but after only two days all four would barely leave their coop if we were in the run with them. Not even for corn. We gave up. We had no desire to turn them against us, and this tactic was clearly not working.
It didn't take long of just sitting in with them quietly for the girls to regain their former enthusiasm for all things edible. Did we give up too soon, I wonder? What do you think? Will it get better?