Some flocks take right to The Chicken Swing with no training at all, while others need
a little help. Even if your chickens are already using their swing, it’s a pretty neat
trick to train them to swing on command.
Here are 10 easy steps to help you get your chickens swinging!
Hover over each image to quickly view each step, and click on the images to read all about each step!
It's essential that you get your setup area ready before assembling your new swing. Make sure there is nothing in the way of the swinging motion. It's best to avoid setting up the swing in an area subject to high winds. If you have chicks, you can set the swing up in their brooder. They will need you to place them on the swing once or twice, and will quickly take to swinging. You may add a stump or ground perch below as an extra step for them to jump onto. Raise the swing as they grow.
To start, set the swing to hang only a few inches above the ground. Simply set the swing up, walk away, and let your chickens check it out on their own terms for at least 24 hours. This will familiarize your chickens with the swing. After a couple days, raise the swing to about 18" above the ground. Sometimes swinging happens quickly, sometimes it takes longer, and sometimes they need a little help getting things swinging.
Pick a chicken that trusts you and eats treats out of your hand. If you don’t have any chickens that will take treats from your hand, start working on this first! Take it slow; work for a few minutes a day sitting on the ground shaking your Love Bug Training Treats™ to encourage your chickens to eat the treats from your hand. My chickens love dried meal worms, but dried cat food or strawberries might work for you as well. Within a few days, you should have chickens coming to you for treats!
Work on getting your chickens to trust you and be comfortable with you picking them up. When you pick them up, give them treats and make sure to remain calm and relaxed. Try talking or singing to them - they can sense our mood, and enjoy soothing sounds. Chickens are intelligent, curious, and cautious. Do not get discouraged if they get flustered. That is what chickens do! Encourage them, calm them, or come back and try it again later.
Let's get your chicken comfortable with sitting or standing on the swing. They need to get over any fears, and figure out how to grip and balance on the perch. Make sure the swing is hanging at a height just above their head. Get your treats handy. Pick up your chicken. Hold the perch of the swing and set your chicken on it. Let go of the perch and the chicken. Immediately reward with a treat. Repeat these steps until they are comfortable on the swing. DO NOT pull the swing back just yet!
Place your chicken on the swing and gently pull back on the swing, just a little bit at first. Give them a treat when they swing back to you. If they jump off, pick them up and try it again. Encourage them, but do not overdo it. If they get too flustered, come back and work on it later. This step can be a two or three day thing.
Now we are going to show your chicken how they can control the swing. Yes, they can actually "pump" the swing! While they are up on the moving swing, hold the treats in your hand in front of them, just out from the swing’s arc, and up where they can see them. When they swing towards you, give them a treat. Be sure to hold the treats just out of their reach to make them stretch for them. This will add force to the swing design, and keep the swing going. They should be having fun by now!
By now you may have already seen your chickens jump up and swing on their own. If not, continue working with them on the previous steps until you do. Every chicken is different. Some will start swinging with no help at all, and others will pick it up after a few steps. Some chickens will start swinging just from watching you train other chickens.
By now your chickens should be comfortable jumping up and swinging on their own, and have already made swinging part of their daily routine. Teaching your chickens to swing on command is a fun step to add to your chicken's training. Say “Jump Up” and shake the treats above the perch of the swing. When your chicken jumps up and swings to you, give them a treat. Do this daily, and soon they will run and jump up on the swing when they see you coming with your Love Bug Treats! Nice work!
You should start working with other chickens in your flock. Remember, roosters swing too! You will start seeing them jump up on their own after this introduction. Generally if you get one or two of your chickens swinging, the others will catch on. Note: It is not always the trained chickens that enjoy swinging the most. Some of my best swingers have never actually been placed on a swing, but have found the nerve to try by watching one of their flock-mates swinging.
If you still need some help getting your chickens to use their swing, please feel free to contact us here. We love hearing from our customers, and are more than happy to assist you in whatever way possible.
Note: We've found that sometimes the issue with getting your chickens to swing has to do with the set up of The Chicken Swing in your coop. Don't worry - we can help you with this as well. If you think the set up of your swing may be part of the problem, please have a picture of The Chicken Swing in your coop or brooder on hand so that we can better assist you. Thank you!