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Old 09-25-2011, 03:25 PM   #61
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LOL, yeah, they have a large... ring in their nose.
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Old 09-25-2011, 05:46 PM   #62
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If it has horns and is chasing me across a pasture, I'm not going to stop to "look underneath".
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Old 09-27-2011, 03:12 PM   #63
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I wish I could train my chickens. In any case, a backyard flock of heirloom variety chickens are interesting, fun and dare I say it - intelligent in their own way. They are not birdbrains.
Love your chicken stories.
Back when I used to clicker-train dogs, we'd have "chicken training" seminars. We used a clicker and would give them bread when they did something we wanted them to do (come closer, take the bread from our hands, etc.). The RIRs will go in their nesting box with a hand signal, will follow me back to the barn, go in the enclosed pen with a hand signal, and come when I call them. I've been doing the hand-feeding of bread and clicking with the Plymouth Rocks--the rooster is getting so he'll come running when he sees me. Two of the three hens will now take bread from my hand and one follows the rooster when he comes running. I click when they have approached, and then I slowly move my hand closer to my body so they are closer to me as they take the bread. They take bean seeds, wild grapes, and grape tomatoes out of my hand. I make sure I'm low to the ground, move slowly, and click if they don't "bolt" when I move my hand. Then they get a piece of bread (a cube). They love bread. I also go out when they are roosting and pick them up, stroke them, and talk to them in a soft voice. I've just started "taming" with my two Buffs. They like tomatoes, cottage cheese curds, and bread. I don't have any mealworms, but supposedly chickens love mealworms. I know they love earthworms. All three of the breeds I have are supposed to be friendly, but the PRs were little feral chicks when I got them. I don't know if I'll be successful, but they are getting better. Ironically, the RIRs were the two that had been handled the least and were the oldest of all the birds. And, they are the two that are like little dogs. I could probably put a band on them and a little chain and ride my bike with one on my shoulder (my "adopted" aunt in Germany used to ride with her parrot on her shoulder). I haven't figured out how to house train them...and, I don't think I want them in the house...
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Old 09-27-2011, 05:47 PM   #64
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That is so cool. Hope you have a working washer/dryer, CW!
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Old 09-28-2011, 01:49 AM   #65
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CWS, that is most interesting reading. However, I don't think anyone has to really train a chicken to come when called. They just seem to know what "Chick, Chick, Chick!" means.

I wonder why my chickens come running up to me, almost attacking, even when they are well fed? Could I be spoiling them with too many treats and now they've come to expect to receive them every time they see me? Gee, I didn't realize I was "training" them...

What breeds of roosters have turned out to be attackers? For me, it was some of the Buff Orpingtons and all of the Black Australorps. Yes, they would chase me up the steps and into the house.

Bet you have lots of tales to tell about your flock.
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:10 AM   #66
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Well--whether they come when called or are conditioned to come to the person who feeds them is debateable. I do know when I call Myrtle, she comes. Harriet might follow, but Myrtle seems to recognize that by coming to me when I call her name, something good will happen. Positive-reinforcement training marks the behaviour you want the animal to display. So by saying her name, clicking (using a clicker) when she turns toward me and then rewarding the "turn" I mark the first behaviour in the behaviour sequence and toss a bread cube. Then when she starts moving toward me, I mark that again with the click and toss a bread cube. When she gets to me, I click and give her a higher-value treat (worm). The sequence is when she hears "Myrtle" she turns toward me, moves toward me, comes to me and stops in front of me. By marking each behaviour in the behaviour sequence, I've now got her so she'll come to me and stop in front of me when I say her name. Does she know her name? No, she knows that that sound I make means the treat dispenser is open and she'll get something she likes. When I'm done, I step back 1/2 step and say "okay" and turn away from her. Sometimes she gets picked up when she comes to me (she'll eat a worm in my arms, but that's about it). Sometimes she gets invited to perch on my shoulder, sometimes not.

ClickerSolutions Training Articles -- How I Trained a Chicken
Cluck, Cluck, Click! Martha Stewart Meets Coco the Clicker Trained Chicken | Karen Pryor Clickertraining
Clicker training chickens - Why? | Karen Pryor Clickertraining
Poultry in Motion

And, then there are those who say you can't clicker train a chicken:

Can you clicker train a chicken? - Yahoo! UK & Ireland Answers

However, I am seeing the responses I've marked, so I think Myrtle and Harriet have caught on to the fact that if they do a certain pattern, I'll give them a treat...or, they've trained me. They definitely require more repeats than dogs to catch on and if you don't do it for a couple of days, it takes more than it would take with a dog to put 2 and 2 together again.
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Old 09-28-2011, 07:07 AM   #67
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Isn't coming thinking they're getting a treat the entire point of training? Pavlov's dogs and all that?

My favorite was then when we lived in Hawaii, there was a temple we used to visit because of its beautiful setting, gardens, peaceful all around. One time a guest we took there who didn't really know much about how Asian Hawaii can be thought the guys walking around in saffron robes and shaved heads were like people in costume you see at Disney. No, they're really monks, and no, taking off your shoes before entering the temple is NOT an option, it is mandatory.

To get to the point, the care-taker of the lovely koi pond was an old man who would clap is hands twice before feeding his fish. So the fish were "trained" to come towards someone clapping. I didn't know their hearing was that good under water, but it definitely was. So we'd buy a handful of food, lean close to the water, and clap twice to see all the beautiful colors of the fish and toss them their food.

We lived there twice, and the second time we were there a friend told us that the old man who had the fish trained had died, and his replacement was as ancient as his predecessor had been. We called him "The New Old Man", which amused him.
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:03 PM   #68
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Back when I used to clicker-train dogs, we'd have "chicken training" seminars. We used a clicker and would give them bread when they did something we wanted them to do (come closer, take the bread from our hands, etc.). The RIRs will go in their nesting box with a hand signal, will follow me back to the barn, go in the enclosed pen with a hand signal, and come when I call them. I've been doing the hand-feeding of bread and clicking with the Plymouth Rocks--the rooster is getting so he'll come running when he sees me. Two of the three hens will now take bread from my hand and one follows the rooster when he comes running. I click when they have approached, and then I slowly move my hand closer to my body so they are closer to me as they take the bread. They take bean seeds, wild grapes, and grape tomatoes out of my hand. I make sure I'm low to the ground, move slowly, and click if they don't "bolt" when I move my hand. Then they get a piece of bread (a cube). They love bread. I also go out when they are roosting and pick them up, stroke them, and talk to them in a soft voice. I've just started "taming" with my two Buffs. They like tomatoes, cottage cheese curds, and bread. I don't have any mealworms, but supposedly chickens love mealworms. I know they love earthworms. All three of the breeds I have are supposed to be friendly, but the PRs were little feral chicks when I got them. I don't know if I'll be successful, but they are getting better. Ironically, the RIRs were the two that had been handled the least and were the oldest of all the birds. And, they are the two that are like little dogs. I could probably put a band on them and a little chain and ride my bike with one on my shoulder (my "adopted" aunt in Germany used to ride with her parrot on her shoulder). I haven't figured out how to house train them...and, I don't think I want them in the house...
Just out of curiosity, what kind of dogs did you clicker train?
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Old 09-28-2011, 05:48 PM   #69
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now if we could just figure out how to train a cat. i believe they know what we are saying but just don't care.
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Old 09-28-2011, 07:31 PM   #70
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I clicker trained Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands, and several mixed breeds. The concept behind clicker training chickens was to help fine-tune one's timing and precision.
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Old 09-28-2011, 09:31 PM   #71
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now if we could just figure out how to train a cat. i believe they know what we are saying but just don't care.
Babe, you won't believe this, but we had a stray cat who adopted us, and would follow my husband like a dog. He would sit and stay on command. He heeled better than the dogs. Since he was a stray, and our dogs didn't care for cats, we gave him to a friend, who lived out of town. Unfortunately, Chester was an outdoor cat, so my friend had to give him up after receiving too many loose cat tickets. I am hoping he got to go to a nice farm somewhere.
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Old 09-29-2011, 06:26 PM   #72
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You can clicker-train cats--it just takes more time than dogs, but less time than chickens. Speaking of which, I was worried the Buffs wouldn't come back tonight (we got them last Friday). When I went to lock the hens down, the two Buffs were there as well. Yes, I did thumb my nose at the skunks, raccoons, foxes, and coyotes in the bush as I walked back to the house from the barn.
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:50 PM   #73
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I guess it is true that diamonds are a girl's best friend--the hens peck at my rings! I've taken to taking then off before I go out and see them. Funny little things.
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Old 09-29-2011, 08:54 PM   #74
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I guess it is true that diamonds are a girl's best friend--the hens peck at my rings! I've taken to taking then off before I go out and see them.
Apparently, they fancy themselves as crows. And obviously have good taste!
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Old 09-30-2011, 01:28 PM   #75
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Again with the eggs -- I think it's true that in situations where there is no reliable refrigeration that eggs are preserved by coating them with petroleum jelly, which retards intake of oxygen through the shell.

We had a couple of feather-footed hens who loved crawfish out of our pond. Of course, I had to dip-net the crawfish, so we know who was trained here, don't we?
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Old 09-30-2011, 01:43 PM   #76
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About as well-trained as my girls have me--you won't see them out with a flashlight looking for earthworms.
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Old 09-30-2011, 01:59 PM   #77
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Refrigeration isn't necessary at normal room temperatures for a week or more. We never refrigerated our eggs at home on the farm, nor do I now, unless the weather is terribly hot and the house is, also. Never have I seen a semideveloped chick inside our fertile eggs.

I place older eggs into a bowl of water and if they float (they never do), then I'd put them outside for the crows to dispose of.
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Old 09-30-2011, 03:42 PM   #78
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Daizymae--I was under the impression if the eggs were fertilized eggs, they had to be refrigerated; otherwise, they could be kept in a cool place? I wasn't refrigerating the eggs until the rooster matured, now I have been. I also don't wash my eggs--the girls lay clean eggs, so I just dust a speck or two of wood shavings off one egg (I only have 2 layers) and we're "good to go."
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Old 09-30-2011, 07:26 PM   #79
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I guess there's different opinions on this; I have heard that if you want the eggs to hatch (ie, in an incubator) you should not refrigerate them first. Well, I refrigerated a bunch of eggs and had no trouble selling them to someone who subsequently stuck them into an incubator and they got many healthy chicks. Probably there's a variety of opinions. But I have an instinct to place the eggs in a cool or cold place when, as I have mentioned, we are having a period of really hot weather.

I don't wash my eggs, either. Apparently they have a natural coating that acts as a sort of "preservative" and there's no need to remove that.

Best of luck with your chickens and eggs!
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Old 09-30-2011, 07:31 PM   #80
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Thanks Daizymae! My DH wasn't too keen on the idea of chickens. Now he thinks we should add yet a couple of more! I'm still trying to convince the Plymouth Rocks to start laying...hoping the golf balls in the nesting box help!
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