Keeping chickens can be messy; especially if you have a large flock and a lot of open space. Naturally, you may be wondering whether you can train your chickens to do their business in a confined area. Intrigued by the concept, I decided to spend some time looking into the toilet habits and preferences of these birds and if it is at all possible to potty train them. I will be sharing with you all that I managed to find here today.
So, can chickens be potty trained? Chickens can be potty trained but only under certain conditions and circumstances. They will need to be tamed, to the point where they are confident to sit on your lap/hands. Trust and confidence must be built with your bird(s) and success is more likely if done from the time that they are a young age. Persistence will be required, along with an acceptance of accidents that will naturally occur.
Potty training any pet is always a challenge, but when implemented, it’s a total game-changer for hygiene and ongoing sanitary maintenance.
Potty training will take time, and it is not necessarily easy, but you’ll reap the rewards of all the effort you put into practice.
When it comes to chickens; potty training is somewhat different in how you go about it and what you can hope to achieve. Nevertheless, there is a process to follow which will help give you a higher chance of success.
You must be prepared to deal with many accidents along the way; your birds need to learn something entirely new. Equally, routine is critical to getting your chickens to go by themselves.
It’s surprising to learn that chickens can be potty trained, but these birds are quite smart, and they catch on quickly, especially when you reward them.
Let us now take a closer look at the train-ability of chickens before looking at how to introduce potty training to them most effectively and the process steps to follow.
- 1 Can Chickens Be Trained?
- 2 Can You Train A Chicken To Use A Litter Box?
- 3 How To Potty Train Chickens
- 4 Finally
Can Chickens Be Trained?
It is possible to train chickens, due in part to their impressive eyesight and their insatiable appetites.
Chickens are intelligent in their way, and like many animals, they can learn from a reward-based system.
Training your chickens is a great way to go about managing your flock. It is possible to train them to come towards you, herd them, and have them respond and behave just as you desire.
As logic suggests, it is easier to train a smaller flock; anything over 10 chickens will be harder and will require more effort and persistence.
While training is not necessary, it is advantageous and can help you protect them, get them to go to certain locations i.e. the coop and so on.
It’s hard to determine how long it’s going to take any chicken to understand whet’s expected of them, and that can be very frustrating for a backyard chicken keeper.
With consistency and patience on your part, expect success after 2 to 3 weeks.
Always reward good behavior; try to find out what your bird’s favorite food is, be it watermelon, banana, or pasta.
Finding out your bird’s preferences will make it easier to train your birds because then they can make the connection. They will then learn that specific actions lead to rewards.
Suffice it to say, never offer the same treats following an accident.
Can You Train A Chicken To Use A Litter Box?
Yes, you can train chickens to use a litter box. Again though, it may take some time. You should also make sure that you stock up on disinfectant products, as there will be many accidents along the way.
Expect to clean chicken poo many times a day for at least two weeks.
As you go about training a hen to use the litter box, reward correct behavior swiftly. In this way, your bird can make the connection between the action and receiving a reward.
A hen that is potty trained can more freely roam; it makes cleaning up far easier and you will also be able to let them walk inside your home.
Occasionally, your birds will make the odd accident, try not to get angry. Instead, just have your cleaning products to hand. It’s always best to be prepared ahead of time.
There are many things to consider if you want to keep chickens indoors, or let them inside from time to time.
For one thing, you can guarantee they will be a lot safer indoors; they will no longer be a target for predators.
When chickens live with their owner, they begin to see them as part of their flock – this means that they will want you around, and they will show you love and be affectionate to you.
How To Potty Train Chickens
Before discussing how to potty train chickens, let’s begin by saying that it’s a good idea to train chickens to use the litter box if you can.
A chicken that isn’t litter trained is likely to use any spot for their droppings – this is not a desirable habit. Chicken poop compromises the health and cleanliness of where it is dropped;especially a home.
Not every chicken is capable of using the litter box; it has to be a bird that is willing to sit on your lap or on your hand.
It helps to have the same level of affection, trust and bond that you would have for a cat or dog.
Chickens are generally easy to care for. Once they can use the tray, they can come or even live indoors.
The younger your chicken, the easier it is to potty train them.
Consider the following steps in preparing your bird to use the litter box:
Learn A Chickens Pre-pooping Behavior
Once you understand your bird’s pre-pooping behavior, you can anticipate when they need to go.
You can encourage your bird to use a litter tray by putting them in it, and in time they should make the association themselves.
You are training your chicken to poop on command; so you must anticipate when they are about to go.
Many chickens ruffle their feathers before they poop, while some don’t. Either way, you must watch your chicken in the coop and observe what they do before pooping.
When you think your bird is about to go quickly, place them in the designated area and hold them over it until you hear the poop sound upon release. Immediately reward with a treat.
You should notice a pattern in timing when your bird must go.
When it’s, almost time put the bird in the area, when they poop reward her promptly.
If she doesn’t go, offer no reward. Practice this method until she starts using the litter box by herself.
Prepare Your Chicken’s Litter Box
You should keep the litter box in one location at all times to promote the association.
You must clean it frequently to prevent the risk of bacteria, infection and even disease.
You can use kitty litter to fill the tray, but make sure no other pets use the chicken’s litter box.
The reason no other animal should have access to the litter box is that other pet’s feces can deter your bird from using it.
Your chicken might also eat other animal’s feces, which is likely to make them very sick.
Reward Your Chickens When Litter Training
Chickens are smart enough to make the connection between an action and getting a reward.
These birds love rewards and will repeat the same behaviors until they get one.
Once your chicken exhibits pre-pooing behavior, put them in the box, once she has released feces, reward them with a treat. Fruits like blackberries and cherries are great, as are insects like crickets.
Chickens will repeat actions until they get their reward.
Refrain from cleaning the litter box immediately, allow your bird to see their poop in the box.
This action will help her understand what the litter box is for.
When you talk to your birds and praise them during this process use simple words, not complex ones. Otherwise this will confuse them. Stick with treats, as it is easier and much more effective.
Use A Clicker Instead Of Treats
If you are concerned about your chicken putting on too much weight as you reward them, you can use a clicker to train them instead.
You can purchase a clicker online for a great price on Amazon; they are a useful training tool for any pet.
When your bird gets used to using the litter box, use the clicker at the same time, you would reward with a treat.
The clicker sound will replace the treat, and upon hearing the sound, your chicken will use the litter box to eliminate.
- Keyes, Giene (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 144 Pages - 08/13/2019 (Publication Date) - CompanionHouse Books (Publisher)
Be prepared for the fact that training your chicken to use the litter box will take time; you must be patient.
Repeat all the steps until your chicken is thoroughly trained and using the litter box by themselves.
Do not yell at your bird when she makes a mistake.
Every chicken has her personality and willingness to learn, as learning capabilities differ from one bird to another.
Be prepared For Accidents
You can still expect some accidents even after your chicken is entirely potty trained, just as you would with any household pet, accidents happen.
You must mentally prepare for any accident and be sure to thoroughly clean after they do take place.
Training your chickens to use the litter box is not an exact science, you can only try your best – but it can be done!
If you think your bird is receptive to training, put the steps mentioned above into practice.
Chickens are prone to mistakes and need to learn, so accidents are likely to happen now and again.
Once your chicken is used to going to the bathroom by themselves, they can come inside or even begin to live in your home, if that is your wish.
Live-in birds are more secure than birds that live outdoors; they are less likely to encounter prey.
People don’t realize that these birds can be affectionate and loving and even treat their owners as a member of their flock – it’s quite an honor in itself.
Chickens are at the end of the day, birds. Birds like a cockatiel or a parakeet are often kept inside exclusively as pets – they are trained in very much the same way.
Chickens are not that different; so while it may seem strange to want to potty train a chicken, its not when you consider that all your trying to do is help them adapt to the same environment.
Patience is the key when training your chickens as well as putting a proper training regime in place. You must understand each step and deal with your chicken with your full attention.
Many are often surprised by how intelligent and sensitive these birds are; they understand that good behavior earns them treats and favor with their owner.
While you must expect accidents and be prepared to clean up after your bird, never lose your temper when these accidents occur.
These birds have feelings, and if you yell at them, it might break their confidence, and they might never use the litter box again.
Want to learn more about keeping chickens and best practices in and around the coop? Then my other guides may be of interest:
- Can Chickens Stay In The Coop All Day?
- How Long Can Chickens Go Without Food?
- How Long Can Chickens Be Left Alone?
- Can Chickens Live Alone?
- Do Chickens Need Sunlight?
- Will Chickens Sleep With The Light On
- What Time Do Chickens Wake Up
- How Long Do Chickens Sleep?
- What Time Do Chickens Go To Bed
- Do Chickens Need Food And Water At Night
- Do Chickens Sleep Standing Up
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.