Harold the Rooster

AMKuska

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Harold got a bit of a surprise today. My 4 year old daughter was working with him instead. I want to make sure he is fine with strangers, children, etc. and not just me.

He approached her curiously, and discovered that she had live mealworms for him. Boy, does he love my daughter! Although he didn't progress on his other tricks, he sure did learn that children are wonderful things to have around. I'm impressed my daughter had no problems holding a wiggling mealworm when she ran screaming the first time an earthworm popped out of the earth in her presence.
 

AMKuska

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I worked on sit more with Harold. He's having a harder time with it than the girls. The girls both seem to have the idea down, while Harold has to be lured into the correct response every time.

When working with him without the bar, it seems like he believes I want him to drop his wings. He does this at the same time when working with the bar, but without it he stands upright but drops his wings.

This is a normal part of training animals, and happens in dogs too. Puppies that were doing great on sit for a while and suddenly "forget" even when the distraction level is the same usually haven't forgotten. They've just been doing something else at the same time (an ear twist for example) and also happened to sit. They think sit means an ear twist, and one day offer just the ear twist but don't sit.

The dog is often very confused when suddenly the ear twist isn't rewarded, and it can take many lessons for them to figure out what exactly the crazy humans are looking for.

Going under the bar requires many actions from Harold. He must lower his head, crouch down, walk forward, and yes he drops his wings too. All I want is the lowering part. I expect it will take him many lessons to figure out which one I'm looking for.
Although he wasn't successful without a lure today, he did get several "correct" things in, and he's learned that dropping his wings isn't the part I'm looking for. Hopefully he'll see Brighty, who can sit without any kind of lure at all, and copy her.

Though I suspect the girls have it easier because sitting is instinctive for them, while probably less so for a male.

A few minutes after I trained them I came back out to give them millet. I think training must be mentally exhausting, because they were all perched when I went out there, resting. I've never seen a chicken napping in the middle of the day!

DSC06273.JPG

Check out the picture I got of him midblink:
DSC06274.JPG
 

AMKuska

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Today, Harold came to the conclusion that I don't want wing drops. I also don't want bows, scratching with the legs, or sticking his butt up in the air and waggling it alot. He's tried everything! What could I possibly want?!

Meanwhile, the girls look like Russian dancers from the Nutcracker they are bobbing up and down so fast to earn snacks.

He definitely knows to sit when I use my hand as a bar so he has to squeeze under, but he has not yet offered it to me without a lure to help capture the right position. He does look super cute waving his butt everywhere and practically doing the cha-cha to get them mealworms though.
 

AMKuska

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The light bulb went on today. Harold still won't offer a sit freely, but if I put my hand out and then take it away he'll sit. It's very rough and needs shaped, but definitely the right idea.

haroldcrouch.png

This is him crouching about to sit. I should be able to fade the lure. I need to put the X-pen in the coop so I can work with each chicken one at a time, as Brighty has such a beautiful sit I'd like to put it on command without everyone trying to take her snacks.

It's getting to the point where 3's a crowd haha.
 

AMKuska

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Today I tried netting off one section and working with one chicken at a time. Harold loved it. The girls just wanted to get back to the others ASAP! Brighty even earned a worm quickly wit a sit, and then ran to the fence with the worm to call to the others and invite them to share.

I am still going to do alone time with Harold since eventually he's going to need to do a Rally course on his own, but the girls can just do cute things and get corn.

Harold was very sweet today. He noticed I had some dirt on my leg from sitting in the pen with them, and took time from earning treats to groom it off for me. I don't believe I've ever met a kinder rooster. The girls also took time to sit on my leg for no other reason than just to be there. They're all so very friendly.

Harold sat many times today, all with lures. Luckily, how much of a lure he needs is fading so I'm thinking within the next week or so he will offer a sit or something close to it without a lure.

Since it all looks just about the same, here's a picture of him getting ready to fly over for his lesson.
haroldjumps.png
 

AMKuska

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I love the adventures of Harold!
Aww, I'm glad you are enjoying it! Even if he never makes it to a Rally course (I'm not sure if a chicken can sequence in this situation or not, but videos like this one and this one make me think they can.) I'm having a wonderful time training them. I'm looking forward to seeing how many commands a chicken can hold in their brain at one time.
 

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