As you may have read in past blogs I am now the proud owner of three chickens - Daisy, Maisie and Cassie, all named by my children. I train dogs for a living but these chickens often have me in fits of laughter.
One of the chooks - Cassie - has taken quite a fancy to me and whenever I am outside will follow me around like a bad smell. Even got her the other day to jump on my shoulder while I was gardening. Also the other day I was reading a book outside on the lawn and she came and curled up on my lap. So all my misconceptions about chickens being a little crazy went out the door.
Now this got me thinking: can I train a chicken using food rewards like I teach the dogs? I already have one of them jumping up on me on cue - they all come when called and don't cross over a boundary to outside on to the road or the next-door paddock. I wondered, what have I taught my dogs that would be cool to teach the chook?
One cool trick I have taught my dog is to surf behind a boat on a board, which is quite entertaining. So I thought I could modify and train a chicken to hop on a skateboard and get pushed by the dog. There'd be no practical reason to do this, and it'd require for both the chicken and the dog to be trained. Luckily one of my dogs already knows "push" on cue so we're halfway there. But can the chicken stay on the skateboard while being pushed and hop on the board on cue?
Am I a little mad? Of course! But when you spend all of your days working with animals and seeing what they can do, you always find yourself thinking what more they can do.
What can your chicken do? I looked on Youtube and found some chooks walking through hoops, which would not be that difficult o achieve, so I'am looking for other challenges!
Let me know and I'll see if I can do them as well and hopefully get some footage up in the next month once all done!
Here's a well-trained chicken:
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