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Chicken Training Made Easy: Tips and Tricks

chicken training

Did you know that you can actually train chickens?

Chickens are not only a valuable source of eggs and meat but also fascinating and intelligent creatures.

Contrary to popular belief, chickens can be trained to respond to commands.

Chicken training is an enjoyable endeavor and can also lead to a more meaningful relationship between you and your flock.

In this fun and comprehensive guide, we will explore the art of chicken training, breaking down the process into manageable steps and providing practical tips to make the training experience both effective and enjoyable.

Let’s get to it!

Understanding Chicken Intelligence

Before getting into training techniques, it’s good to appreciate the intelligence and mental capacities of chickens.

Despite common misconceptions, chickens are capable of learning and remembering a variety of tasks.

They have a social structure within their flock and can recognize each other, display emotions, and even solve simple problems.

Understanding their cognitive abilities is crucial for successful training.

Best chicken breeds in Australia

Selecting the Right Breed

While most chicken breeds can be trained to some extent, certain breeds are more receptive to training than others.

Breeds known for their intelligence and calm demeanor, such as Rhode Island Reds, Australorps, and Orpingtons, are more easily trainable.

However, with patience and consistency, virtually any breed can be taught basic commands and behaviors.

Setting Realistic Expectations

Before embarking on your chicken training journey, it’s important to establish realistic expectations to set yourself (and your birds) up for success.

Chickens, like any other animals, have their own personalities, and some may be more cooperative than others.

While some chickens may quickly grasp commands, others may require more time and patience.

Understanding and respecting the individuality of each chicken will contribute to a more positive training experience.

Be mindful of your attitude, and avoid setting hard deadlines for each command or trick.

Enjoy the training process, and make it more enjoyable for you and your chickens.

Create a Positive Training Environment

A positive and comfortable training environment is essential for successful chicken training.

Begin by selecting a quiet and secure area with minimal distractions.

This can be tough because most chickens want to stay with their flock, but the flock is naturally distracting.

Ensure the chickens are familiar with the training space, comfortable with you, and have their basic needs (like food and water) met.

Gradually introduce them to new elements to avoid stress.

Use plenty of treats and positive reinforcement to create an atmosphere where chickens associate training sessions with enjoyable experiences.

This will make sure they learn quickly and develop a better bond with you.

Basic Chicken Training Commands to Try

Ready to start teaching your chicken new tricks? Here are some basic commands to test out.

Recall Command (“Come” or “Here”)

  • Begin training in an enclosed area.
  • Use a distinct call or sound when offering treats to associate it with the recall command.
  • Repeat the command consistently while rewarding with treats when the chicken comes to you.

Target Training

  • Introduce a target stick or your hand as a target.
  • Use treats to guide the chicken to touch the target with its beak.
  • Start mere inches off the ground and gradually increase the distance between the chicken and the target over time. Always reward successful touches.

Perching Command

  • Use this one to encourage your chickens to perch in a designated area. This is especially helpful for containing and catching your chickens in a hurry.
  • Use treats to lure them onto the perch, rewarding them when they stay.
  • Gradually increase the duration of perching. This is really similar to teaching your dog to stay.

Respect Personal Space

  • Teach chickens to respect personal space to avoid aggressive behavior.
  • Gently push back any chicken that invades your space.
  • Reward chickens for maintaining a respectful distance.
  • This command is excellent if you have people who regularly visit your home who are anxious or afraid around chickens.

Advanced Tricks to Teach Your Chickens

Ready to move on to more complex tricks or commands? Give these a try.

Obstacle Course

Create a simple obstacle course to enhance agility and problem-solving skills.

Use treats to guide chickens through the course, rewarding successful completion.

As your chickens start to understand what you’re asking them to do, they will be faster and more willing to complete the obstacle course with less prompting from you.

Shape Recognition

Teach chickens to recognize and peck at specific shapes or colors.

Introduce objects of different shapes and colors, rewarding correct responses.

Chickens are really intelligent in this department, so they should learn this one quickly.

Check out how reinforcement learning helped in training chickens identify colors in this video:

Crate Training

Familiarize chickens with crates for easy transportation.

This is an especially helpful trick if you regularly take your chickens off-property to shows or breedings.

Use treats to lure them into the crate and reward their calm behaviors once inside.

Trick Training

Train chickens to perform entertaining tricks, such as spinning in a circle or waving a wing.

Break down tricks into small steps, rewarding the successful completion of each step.

Common Challenges in Chicken Training

Being Too Slow

Chickens perceive time differently than humans, and they identify and react to their world much faster than most people.

This is because they have developed this skill to survive in the wild, where nearly everything in the jungle, forest, or field is out to eat them.

When rewarding your chickens, you need to be instant with that treat.

If you wait too long, they won’t make the connection between good behavior and the reward.


Consistency is key in chicken training. Inconsistent commands or rewards can confuse chickens.

It only takes you making a few mistakes to completely undo weeks’ worth of training.

If possible, stick to a regular training schedule and be consistent with your cues and reactions to their behaviors.


Chickens may take time to grasp certain commands, and every individual is different.

You may want to identify your quickest learners first and then choose to work with them only at first.

Remember to be patient and celebrate all of the small victories to build the confidence of you and your chicken.

Fear and Stress

Chickens are sensitive to their environment because they must be hyperaware of their surroundings to survive.

Loud noises, sudden movements, or unfamiliar objects can induce stress.

Your inconsistency can also lead to their fear and stress too, so be consistent.

Of course, always be reliable and kind so your birds know they can trust you.

Gradually expose your chickens to new elements, ensuring a calm and controlled environment.

Chickens are naturally curious. You don’t have to worry about them losing interest or not wanting to be involved.


Excessive treats may lead to obesity and several other related health issues.

Use small, healthy treats and adjust their regular diet accordingly.

Monitor weight and adjust treat portions based on individual chicken needs.

Also, while it’s important to meet your chickens’ needs before worrying about training, overfeeding your chickens means they will be less inclined to work for their treats.

Don’t make your chickens go hungry.

Make sure they have room for treats, and don’t be afraid to break out some high-value treats they love.

Chicken Training Made Easy: Before You Go…

Chicken training is a rewarding and enjoyable activity that can strengthen the bond between you and your flock.

By understanding chickens’ intelligence, creating a positive training environment, and employing consistent and patient training techniques, you can teach your chickens many fun and impressive tricks.

Enjoy the process, and remember that the ultimate goal here is to build a better relationship and understanding of your flock.


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