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Socializing Baby Chickens to get friendly Hens/Roos



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The worst thing to do is have un-socialized chickens that want to peck you on site, or have friends come over for us only to say "Don't touch that chicken, he's a pecker." So that's why I want to show you how to properly socialize and care for your baby chicken before all that starts to happen.  Lets get started on when you first day get your baby chicks -



-Arrival Day-

Your chicks are around three days old, so like it says above, try to minimize any touch to your chicks on the first few days of arrival, as hard as it may be. This is because your chicks are in a completely new environment, and they should first get used to their surroundings before human contact.


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-Day Three-

Now you can begin to introduce yourself to your new, baby chicks. You can do this my gently placing your hand inside their box, and letting them walk around your hand. Some curious ones will even start to jump on your hand. Remember, try to have slow movements, so that they won't get scared of you. 

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-Day Four to Six-

Now I would start to put chick feed on my hand, and let them eat out of it. While they eat, softly talk to them. That way, they not only get used to your voice, but they also associate your voice with food. Like I said before, try to have slow movements. 


-Day Seven to Eight-

Now, depending on how much they are used to you, I would begin holding them. Remember to continue to hold them under the basking light, and keep them only a few inches from the ground. PLEASE, if they are afraid of you, then continue -Day Four to Six- for a few more days.





-Week 2-

Keep placing your hand in their box with food, softly talking to them, and sometimes holding them. And continue this for 1 week. 


-Week 3-

They should now be excited when you put your hand in there, as they look for food. By three weeks of age, I would sometimes even pop in a few small treats in my hand. Which includes Meal worms, Chicken Grit, Homemade/Organic unflavored yogurt, etc. (Look into BYC articles for more baby chick treats




-Week Four / One Month- 

As they get older, be sure to continue popping your hand in their box, talking to them, holding them, and feeding them. Sometimes, I would extend my finger out in their cage, and let them perch on me while I study or read.


You'll find that chickens can be great companions, and friends. Take many pictures, and enjoy your beautiful, baby chicks!






-How to professionally photograph your Baby Chicks for under $2.00

-Official Chicken Treats list

-Chicken Anatomy (Good to know)

Raising Baby Chicks Forum Section


Comments (62)

This was one of my biggest questions! Thank you :)
Thanks for the good ideas!
cutest picture ever!
we are getting chickens and want to start with chicks..this could TOTALLY help!
well it seems that Im off to a bad start. I have been holding them since I got them. (yesterday) well several times.
They are in my bedroom. I give them fresh water often, the dish is shallow.
I made a feeder box, they can only put their head in to eat. No poop allowed!
My Buff Orpington is being left out. The other 2 huddle together but move away if the buff comes over.
Should I go get another buff to have an equal number? Would that make her feel better?
thanks Darlene
You can try getting another Buff, is it bigger than the others so maybe it scares them? The longer you wait to get one the harder it will be for the others to accept it, so I would do it asap. JMO
I already messed up. We have been picking them up. This is our second day of having them. Should I just stop with the handling and start all over from the first step? No touching no hands in the brooder? then follow with all the other steps stated above? Please helps, I want to raise happy friendly hens
Seems I've been doing it wrong for years. I always handled them starting day 1. I've never had chickens scared of me. Even my newest (born saturday) already get excited when they hear me. They'll be dead silent with the tv on, other people talking but when I talk they all start chirping like chicks do when looking for the momma hen. Then again, I hatched mine so they maybe hear my voice while in the egg still?
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Great article! I have found that my Barred Rocks, RIRs and Red Comets are the sweetest. They love their heads rubbed and easy to hold. The others are not so trusting.
would this work with older chicks like 2-3 weeks old that are terrified of your hands?
I started doing this, and it has worked so well. I started before I read the article, but not picking them up and just having your hand near them REALLY helps. When I knock on their brooder, they all come running to the front to see me. They are now 1.5 weeks old. I found having the option to come at them from the side and not above really helps.
This'll help alot my friend has some "peckers" at her house lol and i dont want mine to be like that, its just SOO hard not to touch them as day olds and stuff! but im sure i'll live lol :) thanks!
I like to start giving them cooked rice or oatmeal, fairly soon, even and just 3 weeks old, just some on my hands, and talk to them. They soon learn that my hand means treats not to be scared of it. The biggest thing is to go SLOWLY, no fast movements. Some chicks will take to this before others. After a bit, when you bring treats, make sure you sprinkle them around so everybody has a chance at some, or just the biggest will scarf down all of it without letting the nervous ones get a chance.
When my girls get old enough, I airpop popcorn, and give them their treat daily in the afternoon, they all come running! That is one way to make sure they all come back from roaming, if you so choose. For the chicks, I did put in little plexiglas windows so they see me coming and aren't surprised. Chickens don't like surprises!
I hatch my own chicks - never bought them as hatchlings. Because i talk to them in the incubator and immediatly upon hatching i dont have to go through the same steps as above, im able to hold mine straight away and they actually take comfort in ti. they even snuggle up to me to go to sleep!
I have a newbie question: if you are not supposed to handle them the first two days, then how can you check for pasty butt? I get the impression from articles I've read that this condition typically occurs in the first week or so of a chick's life and that it's important to look for signs of pasty butt early so that you can rectify the problem as soon as possible. If you can't pick them up, how can you tell if there's a problem? I haven't raised chicks yet myself, but am trying to learn as much as I can ahead of time.
@ Back2Roots
You can see if they have pasted butt without picking them up. Watch them. If you see them pooping, your fine. You can handle them, it's not going to kill them. Have handled all mine checking for pasty butt, but it's hard when you have a lot, so I just handle the ones I suspect of it. After week one I have never experienced pasted vents. The first few days are usually the worst. If you get chicks from an outside source, they will already probably be a few days old.
cool but i think I raised mine wrong then the oldest are about 8 weeks old and we got them at about 2 weeks old and held them about 1-2 minuets at a time about every 20-30 min and they arent scared of me they come running when they see me outside.
Thanks, we want friendly chickens. I think maybe I've been a little too pushy with them. I'll back off and slow down.
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