Farm Animal Tricks: Earning trust

By Blog Administrator - 02:13

When the animal is more confident about taking treats from your hand, begin to talk softly. What you say doesn’t matter; she just needs to get used to your voice and learn that you are not scary, even when you’re talking. Then you can gradually inch your hand closer to your body so that she has to come closer to you to get the treats.  
When she is willing to come right up to you for treats, try slowly reaching your other hand toward her while she is eating. If she backs away, freeze your hand where it is and continue to wait.  

The next couple of times she comes up to your hand with the food, don’t move your other hand. When she no longer seems concerned about the other hand, you can try moving it closer again.
Eventually, you’ll be able to hold your free hand in a position where the animal has to brush against it to eat. This small amount of contact is enough to teach most tricks. But it’s even better if you can gradually get her used to being touched and handled.
Be aware that it could take a couple of weeks before a shy animal is totally comfortable around you. Just be patient. You can use all sorts of food for treats. For a horse, you can use horse treats, grain, carrot pieces, or apple slices. Cheerios work well for sheep and goats.
Chopped up bits of fruit or vegetables go over well with many animals. For ducks and chickens, bright-colored tidbits such as dried corn, fresh or frozen peas, shelled sunflower seeds, berries, or almost any kind of grain work well. Try different treats until you find something your animal enjoys. Start by teaching the animal what a clicker means.
Remember that most farm animals are prey animals—the kind of animals that other animals eat—which makes them naturally cautious. So getting your farm friend used to the clicker may take longer than it would with a dog or cat. Try using a quieter clicker, or mute the sound by clicking it inside your pocket or a cloth bag to make the sound less scary.

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