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House Training Chickens

House-training a chicken isn’t something every owner needs or wants to do. But if you are keeping a hen indoors as a pet, it’s very useful if she doesn’t poo everywhere. And let’s face it, chickens DO simply poo everywhere, normally.

 chickens and  litter tray
Chickens can be taught to use a litter tray. Sometimes!

Litter Tray For Chickens

The answer to the house training is a litter tray or litter box, filled with earth or shop-bought cat litter. It should be kept in one place, and not moved. It will also need cleaning regularly to minimise nasty niffs and the danger of disease.

No other pet should be allowed to use the litter tray. It’s for hen use only… but how are you supposed to let her know that?

Luckily, chickens give the game away through certain behaviour that tells you they’re about to foul the floorboards, cack on the carpet or deposit poo on the plush. The usual sign is a rapidly twitching tail.

Having spotted this tail twitch, you need to lift the chicken into the litter box asap. Once she has done the deed, reward her with a treat and use a clicker (or a whistle) to reinforce the learning. Leave the poo in the tray for a while, until at least two more poos have been deposited. Give her a treat each time.

After a week of this, leave out the treat but continue with the clicker or whistle. By now, the sound will make her run to the litter tray to poo. After a few more days, she will simply associate the urge to poo with the need to visit the litter tray. That’s the theory, at least - not all hens get there!

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