AUTHOR: DR. JOHN ABBAS
Overview Process – How To Litter Train a Chicken
Chickens are intelligent creatures. They possess emotions and feelings and follow the training given by their owners. They are incredibly smart and even possess self-control, holding out for a better food reward, and can assess their own position in the pecking order both characteristics of self-awareness.
Can chickens be potty trained? This question is quite confusing for chicken owners.
Here, we will discuss if you can litter train your chicken with some logic and reasons.
Problem’s Pet Chickens Not Being Litter Trained
If chickens are not properly litter trained, they cause various issues for owners. They can use any place for their droppings and this habit is not likable by chicken owners. In addition to that, chicken droppings badly compromise the cleanliness of the houses.
How to do Potty Training of Your Pet Chicken
Chickens can indeed be ‘potty trained’, although successfully under specific conditions; the chicken will need to be tame enough to willingly sit on your lap or hand, and you’ll ideally start building its trust from a very early age. Beyond that time and patience is key, as is accepting that accidents do happen.
Whilst not traditionally thought of domesticated pets, there is a minority faction in the poultry keeping community that treats their chickens with the same level of care and affection that would usually be reserved for their beloved cat or dog, and in certain cases, this even means permitting them to live inside the home of the owner!
Chickens are quite easy to care for. They’re amusing and energetic. All chickens need to roam outdoors for exercise and well-being. If you’re going to allow a pet chicken to roam indoors, too, you’ll both benefit from house-training. You can do so at any age.
Practice Makes Perfect
Working with your chick or juvenile chicken from a young age, the sole purpose is to get her to poop when you request that she does so. Whilst this sounds like a tall order, with practice it is more than achievable.
The key is to quickly learn what pre-pooping behavior your chicken exhibits, and anticipate when it is time for her to go. You can then encourage them to go in a designated litter tray by placing them in it initially, and in time they will hopefully make the association themselves.
The Younger the Better
As with any animal, Young chickens who have been hand tamed make the best candidates for potty training,
it is easier to train them at a younger age(around 3 weeks is optimal) but this is not saying that it can’t be done with older birds.
How to Control Chicken Pooping by Release Signals
Another important thing is to have control over the moment of ‘release’ by devising some sort of audible signal that will signal to the chicken that they can now poop. It’s important that this doesn’t involve speech because this can easily lead to confusion and mishaps. Instead choose an unusual noise, perhaps something emitted by banging a wooden spoon against a pan, blowing through a whistle, anything that cannot be misconstrued as speech
Steps Needed to Litter Train Your Chicken
There are following steps which you have to follow for proper training of your pet feathery friend, Let’s have a look at each step with some details.
Preparing Your Chicken Litter Box
A chicken’s litter box should be kept at a single spot in the house all times. You’ll need to clean it frequently to limit the risk of disease. Fill the litter box with kitty litter. Make sure other pets do not have access to the chicken’s litter box:
The smell of feces of other animals can deter your chicken from using the litter box; the chicken might also eat the other animals’ feces. This all will lead to serious complications.
So Important to Watch and Learn Your Chickens Behaviour
While litter training your chicken, it is considered very much important to keep an eye on the behavior pattern of chickens.
Because most chickens exhibit a specific behavior right before they are going to relieve themselves. It is usually subtle. Learn the behavior of your chicken to make litter box training easier. Small signs include the rapid twitching of the tail.
The Importance of Rewards when Litter Training.
Chickens are smart creatures, they love rewards and repeat that behavior again and again when you give them treat/reward for that. As soon as potential bathroom behavior is about to occur, place the chicken in the litter box. Once the chicken has released feces or urine into the box, reward the chicken with a treat.
Using treats to reward a chicken for good behavior will cause the chicken to want to repeat the action. Don’t clean the litter box immediately afterward; allow the chicken to see the product in the litter box. This will help the chicken understand what goes in the litter.
NOTE: Don’t use complex praise words, as chickens do not do great with complex words as praise it will just mess up things, and we do not use such complex words to tell them that they have done a nice job. If you want to reward a chicken, give him a treat. Remember,
the way to a chicken’s heart is through his stomach.
Replacing Treats with Clicker
To avoid overfeeding the chicken by providing too many treats, use a clicker. Clickers are easily available at local pet stores, a clicker is a useful tool for training many pets, including chickens. When the chicken is getting the idea of using the litter box, start using the clicker at the same time you provide a treat.
Subsequently, the clicker sound will replace the treat, and the chicken will respond to the sound of the clicker and naturally go to the litter box to eliminate it.
Patience Needed When Litter Training
PATIENCE IS A KEY TO SUCCESS
Training your chicken does take time, especially with complex exercises such as this, you must be patient and work with your chicken.
Repeat all of the training steps until the chicken is fully trained and easily using the litter box without any guidance. Patience is required at all times. Never yell, hit, kick, squeeze, or harm the chicken in any way. Time frames for training more than one chicken may vary. Each chicken has its own personality and ability to learn. Remember, learning capabilities vary from one chicken to another.
Expect Accidents while Training – Prepare for Them
There is still a probability that many accidents can happen even after training your chicken to use a specified litter box/area to poop, just as would a dog, or any other household pet, accidents happen, you may have to pick up a few. In addition, you must be mentally ready to encounter these incidents.
Designing a proper training regime and working with patients and tricks can litter train your chicken. But there is a need to understand each and every step and deal with them with full attention and sincerity.
Last but not least, remember exceptions are always there. This is more like work smart than work hard.
Marler P, Dufty A, Pickert R (1986) Vocal communication in the domestic chicken: I. Does a sender communicate information about the quality of a food referent to a receiver? Anim Behav 34:188–193
Nicol CJ (2015) The behavioral biology of chickens. CABI Publishing, Oxfordshire
Chicken / Poultry Breeder Associations
|US Poultry & Egg Association||United States||USPA|
|American Poultry Association||California||APA|
|Ohio Poultry Association||Ohio||OPA|
|National Chicken Council||United States||NCC|
|British Poultry Council||United Kingdom||BPCE|
|Poultry Club of Great Britain||United Kingdom||PCGB|
|Association of Poultry Breeders in EU||Europe||AVEC|
|Australian Chicken Meat Federation Inc||Australia||ACMF|
|Australian Poultry Hub||Australia||Poultry Hub|