Did you know you can train your chickens and to come when called? I discovered this handy dandy little trick by accident years ago when I first started keeping chickens. Our first batch of chicks were kept in a very large box off the kitchen and whenever we would interact with them, we would always say “hey bawk bawk”. I don’t know why we just did.
Well, unbeknownst to us, they learned this little word. When they were older and moved outside, they would come running whenever we would say this. From under the bushes, from the field, and the coop they would come running. It took me a little longer to realize they were coming when called, but when I did, I was pretty excited.
This little trick comes in handy when free ranging. Right now, with the run not fixed from this last winter. My chickens are free ranging all the time except when locked in their coop. So my boys and girls like to go over to the neighbor’s field a lot! Whenever I see them there I call them. When I go out to give them treats and I can’t find them, I call, and they come running.
Through the years we have taught all of our chicken this. The babies have learned this from their mom. Whenever I have a hen raising chicks, I call her to me and the babies follow. As they get older, they start to come on their own when called.
With the new babies I have caged in the shop, I am teaching this and they already do it! Every night, after I have cleaned their cage and given them food and water, I call them to me and they come running over from the back of the cage. It is the cutest thing. Sometimes I have treats, sometimes I don’t. But they come in case I do lol.
Did you also know that chickens can also learn their name? It’s true, some of ours know theirs. My hubby is the one who discovered this with our rooster Clyde. A couple of years ago he was sitting outside on the stairs talking to the chickens. Clyde, our rooster, was pecking around and hubby said: “hey Clyde”. Clyde looked up at him and came over. To make sure what he thought happened did, he waited for Clyde to walk away then he said it again. Clyde came over to see what hubby had lol. I didn’t believe him at first until I tried it. Low and behold, it was true!
In my years of chicken keeping, I have discovered that they are smarter than I ever thought. They learn to recognize their people and are leery of strangers. They even know what cars belong to the property and which ones don’t. When a strange car comes on the property they run from it and the people in it. We have two cats and a dog. They know that cats are safe and the dog is not. They know when a strange cat is in the yard to be leery of it.
Try teaching your chickens to come when called. It can come in handy if you free range your chickens at all.