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Chicken Camps

Chicken workshops


Terry has adapted her regular chicken camps to be presented virtually on the Zoom platform. BYOC (bring your own chicken.) Six participants select and condition a hen from their own flock to be their training partner. No experience necessary. Information is sent ahead to help with the selection and conditioning of the chicken to be used for the course.  Auditors without chickens are also encouraged to register. Hosted by Kitsap Animal Rescue and Education, the course meets once a week for 8 weeks for one hour. 




Register Here for current and future chicken camps

Why should dog trainers train chickens?

Trainers do not have bad (or good!) chicken training habits because it’s not likely they have an extensive background in chicken training. There is no library full of chicken training books to influence them.  Therefore, our chicken camp students don’t bring the baggage of conflicting advice often taken to dog training workshops. No prior experience needed. 


Training a chicken is a stretch and a boost to mechanical skills. The average chicken is faster than the average dog, providing the opportunity to improve coordination and timing. Unlike dogs, you will know immediately if you are taking advantage of a chicken or pushing too hard, too fast.  Chickens don’t give their trainers a second chance as often as our dogs do. Chickens will freeze or fly away if they don’t like the way they are being trained.  


Twice a year, camps are held on the

Olympic Peninsula, Washington State


These events take place at a residential conference center right on the waterfront. Hosted by Kitsap Animal Rescue and Education, (KARE) students live on campus and take meals at a lodge style dining hall. Each student will have their own chicken to train using a clicker and food pellets.  Students will work in pairs, taking turns training their own chicken and coaching their partner. 

New classes are started on a regular basis. Visit KARE for more information and dates of upcoming in-person and virtual chicken camps

"I would never have believed I could learn so much from a chicken. Transferring the techniques learned with chickens to dogs was easy as the dog was even more responsive to us than the chicken."

-Brenda Lively

Listen to what experts have to say!


Legacy Chicken Camp Details


Material covered in the live or virtual chicken camps:

The courses will provide practical application for the principles of classical and operant conditioning with the goal of helping you be a better trainer.  Observation and timing skills are practiced. A foundation of target training and discrimination is followed by teaching the chicken to negotiate a simple, chained obstacle course.


The student's understanding of the concepts of applied behavior analysis will be developed. We’ll practice mechanical skills with special attention to timing and eye-hand coordination.  Lessons include observing and recording behavior on a simple ethogram, capturing a behavior, shaping a behavior and the use of targets.  Students will work on a discrimination task. The pros and cons of extinction as a learning tool will be discussed. Effective coaching techniques to aid your training partner will be addressed. 

  • Ethology - consideration of the ethology, physical attributes, and stress issue of the animals

  • Umwelt - how individuals acquire, process and store information differently

  • Selection, identification and effective marking (use of bridge) of training criteria

  • Reinforcement rate, schedule, value, delivery, quantity, and Premack principle

  • Capturing and Shaping behaviors

  • Criteria Selection and Identification - what do you really want? 

  • Goal Setting

  • Task Analysis, Instructional Formatting, Training Plans

  • How to Be a Good Coach - including TAGteach exercises

  • Data Collection, keeping records

  • Lateral thinking techniques

Terry Ryan chicken workshop

The History of Legacy's Chicken Training Camps

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Legacy has been hosting dog training camps since the 1980’s.  In the old days the camps had 120 participants, many from overseas.  Terry decided that a convenient on-site training model should be provided for people flying in and unable to bring their dogs.  For several years Legacy campers trained rats in Skinner boxes.  In the early 90’s Ingrid Kang Shallenberger (Sea Life Park, Hawaii) and Terry Ryan, began using bantam chickens as training models at Legacy camps.  The students rotated several times a day among various instructors and topics.  The “other” species section was a popular rotation enjoyed for many years by Legacy campers.  In 1994 Terry hired Marian Breland-Bailey and Bob Bailey to share their years of animal training experience with her campers.

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