Chicken stampede: Who knew? May 17, 2013

Before I got chickens, I pictured them as rather easily spooked, nervous, flighty. But nothing seems further from the truth. When I walk outside, they don’t scatter and run away. Instead, I am the target of a chicken stampede. If you keep chickens, you know what I mean. Wherever they are in the yard, they come running and flapping toward me—just in case I might have a treat hidden somewhere on my person. Some don’t care about treats as much as they just want some petting and attention.

Chicken stampede

The chicken stampede wonders: “Do you have anything to eat, perchance?”

I’m sure this has partially to do with the breeds I have in my flock. I don’t tend to choose breeds known for flightiness; I want a calm flock. I have Welsummers, Speckled Sussex, Favaucanas, Faverolles, Ameraucanas, Easter Eggers, Brahmas, Rhode Island Reds and more. They all tend to be friendly. But I really didn’t think it would be that easy to have a tame flock. Little did I realize!

What boggles my mind about the chicken stampede even more is that they really don’t seem to be dissuaded by anything, even the lawnmower. My cats are deathly afraid of the vacuum cleaner. But my chickens aren’t chicken at all. In fact, if I try to run the shop vac outside, it can be a challenge to clear a space to use it. I’m afraid I’m going to accidentally suck up feathers, because they give me no space.

Shop vac, air pump, car, tractor, mower: nothing really phases them. In fact, when I’m mowing the lawn, they’re more likely than not to chicken stampede the mower, looking for stunned bugs. At times, while I’m mowing, it looks as if I’m the lead vehicle in a chicken parade: they follow in an unruly group line behind me. I should deck the John Deere out as a float, and follow up with a marching band; we’d totally be set!

I’m just curious: are your chickens brave or fearful? Are they afraid of your mower, or do you—like me—get a chicken stampede every time?


deborah parkinson May 17th, 2013

Our chickens are scared of water and very loud noises, but the cats we had coming into the garden, they don’t now as the chickens scare them off :).

Laura Jean May 17th, 2013

I used to have a Buff Orpington that would ride on the rototiller every weekend when I would turn the dirt over in the run. You would think the loud noise would be too much for them, but she loved it. She knew that when I was done, it was time to go to the “Chicken Spa” and dust.

Karmyn R May 17th, 2013

Totally! Even my “flightly” breeds come running when they see me – especially if I am carrying anything that looks suspiciously like a food container!

Pam Ewing May 17th, 2013

I love your story! It’s a stampede at my house, right up to the fence. Because of the dogs and other critters, we cannot free range. When I walk the outside of the 30 foot by 30 foot yard I am followed by the’ pack”. Buff Orphington in the lead, Easter Egger next then a mix of Golden Laced W, Rhode Island Reds and Austros.
As with yours, mine couldn’t give a whoop about the mower, weed wacker or the tractor. JUST FEED ME!!!

chicki woyak May 17th, 2013

nochicken chickies here either. yesterday we were doing a remodel in the coop with the drills and hammers going and I would have to stop and chase out the busy bodies!!! Lawnmowers, hubby’s tractor, etc. don’t phase them a bit. they are however, very leery of strangers, they high feather it to their run and won’t come out. Not sure why.

DD May 17th, 2013

I have some friendly ones, and some that hate they sight of me, lol I think it depends on the bird.

terry and jeff May 17th, 2013

Hehehehehe I’ve been trying to get my girls tome come when I call. I do my best to cluck *WAK WAK WAK WAK* and hand out treats. I hoped they would follow me back to their chicken yard at night so that bedtime would be more efficient. My girls are just 1 year old now : Dominiques and Silver laced wyandottes.

So I walked out yesterday with yogurt, cabbage and assorted veggie scraps…

*WAK WAK WAK WAK* Holy shamoly! 6 of the 11 were FLYING at me and the other 5 were careening towards me on foot. LOL! I about dropped the treats and ran. I guess the training worked 😀

AJ May 18th, 2013

My chickens stampede / and get underfoot, so much so that I can barely take a step without stepping on them. However when the lawnmower starts up, they freak out and try to get away from it.
Buff Orpingtons, Delaware, Speckled sussex, Black australorp, Dominique, some banty mixes and a barnyard mix who hops on one foot.

roberta May 18th, 2013

All girls come running but some hang back when they see me. If they’re out in yard when I open door on deck Hettie, my Speckled Sussex will run on deck followed by Buff Orpington, Welsummer and sometimes Buff Bramha. Then the rest but Never my scaredy cat Australorps or Ameraucanas hen or rooster!

John May 19th, 2013

My girls come running and get underfoot when I give them food in the mornings… they won’t leave me alone!

Merrill Johnson May 19th, 2013

I have a small flock of black Australorp hens. The come running when I walk into the chicken run. There are two other chickens that were given me. They run quickly the other way.

charlie girl May 21st, 2013

My first year with my chicks, I have a buff orpington, a Ameraucana and 2 silkies…small coop, but hoping to have all the good experiences like everyone else shared soon. The girls, Dahlia, Poppy, Daisy and Iris all are very different in personalities but the silkies seem to be the least interested in me.

Kim May 21st, 2013

When I go out side with a sandwich, I CANNOT get any peace!!!!!
Puffy Lady, my pullet, will jump on anyone sitting in the lawn swing—food or not.
And I have to be on guard when Cranky’s “WAGA WAGA WAGA!!!” rings out!!!

Mike May 24th, 2013

Our chickens fear nothing really. They are *wise* about our children, though… 🙂

Anna June 28th, 2013

Ours usually come running if they see anyone in or near the yard…and if we light up the grill, they’re on us like white on rice! One will be up on the rail supervising progress and the other three are like dogs around the dining room table, just waiting for something to drop. I even had one try to jump up onto the grill–fortunately she was ok, and our chickies are friends, not food!

CJ July 9th, 2013

I am very new to chickens just this March and mine love following me around when I am doing chores and I break up the times in the day I give them treats as to keep them on their toes.

Leni Ella March 9th, 2016

I find it terrifying when our ex batters come running at me in the mornings. I’m trying to calm myself but they all look like they’re about to peck me. I’ve had chickens before but non so eager. Tips to calm my nerves?

Lissa March 11th, 2016

Hmmm… well, it’s tough for me to tell, since I don’t know what your particular arrangements are. If you aren’t free feeding (meaning if you feed them a set amount at certain times of the day), you might instead go for free feeding, and leave their feeder out where they can have access at all times. They are biiologically driven to start eating first thing, as soon as it’s light enough for them to see!

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