No matter how crazy it sounds, I, Allegra, have decided to train my ferocious chickens, one little beast at a time. Well, maybe they aren’t really ferocious but just really, really stupid and looking for food, so they think that anything within a yard of their reach is edible. Anyway, I’m starting with getting them to follow me from their feeding area to the back of the yard, even without me shaking food at them. To start, I’ve chosen a good-natured if unintelligent brown (formally called buff) hen who has a large red comb, a sign that she’s a good egg-layer. My strategy is to start with enticing her with a trail of chicken treats (cracked corn and oats ~ it’s called scratch) sprinkled in front of her all the way to the back of the yard. Whenever she follows with out too much fuss, I’ll reward her with an impossible-to-reach-if-you-are-a-chicken raspberry. I’ll reduce the scratch little by little until all I have to do is throw a bit of scratch for her and walk toward the raspberry plants for her to follow.
Although chickens have a reputation for being dumb, I’m convinced I can get them to do as I want them too. after all, they’ve learned to associate their coop with safety, and a shaking sound with food (most pet owners will know what I mean by this). Why can’t they learn to take me as a giver of treats if they follow me? I plan to eventually teach them other things with the same method. Is there anyone out there who has some advice for training?