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Taming chicks tips

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I've seen a few threads with tips on taming chickens, mostly though they were for chickens already in a coop. It's still pretty cold here in the northeast and we just acquired 4 three week old easter eggers. They were handled by kids and adults frequently and lived inside. When we first got them, after they settled, while they were clearly and rightfully nervous they would allow you to hold them. Now, the next day, everything frightens them, and they have started pecking when we hold them. We are first time chicken owners however we've known quite a few people with very friendly easter eggers. it's just concerning they are already hating being handled. Is this something that with persistence will get better? Are they too young for treats to try and coax them into my hand? We were hoping for pets, not just egg layers. Would hate to have chickens that are aggressive when they're older.
post #2 of 6

It's probably in how you're handling them. If you approach from above, they have in instinctive fear of predators swooping down on them, and they will be leery of your hands for life.

 

It's wise to create a brooder that is elevated and has side access, thus you reach for them from their level. The difference will amaze you.

 

The other recommendation I have is to either brood the chicks in your coop or run, or start taking them outside on field trips starting around two weeks. You'll need a towel on you for this until they get big enough not to want to poop on you, but I sit on the ground and let them explore my lap and arms and legs. (See article linked below on tossing out your indoor brooder)

 

The secret is for baby chicks to be able to see all of you, not just your disembodied hands, in order for them to trust you.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for this! That explains a lot...because right now they are in a large grey tub, and we keep having to remove the top and going in and reaching that way. I do lay my hand flat on the floor, occasionally they will come investigate or step on me, but I'm sure to them it's still threatening. Definitely going to try the field trip trick asap!! 

post #4 of 6
I took an old dog crate and made it into my brooder by breaking down a box to cover the cage gaps or using mani blind blades that way I have the side opening where I can get under them instead of over the top. Also walk to em while I am "in" thier space. Mine are still young and this is my first flock of chick's I had chickens in the past but not handling chickens
post #5 of 6

I think time spent and not trying to pick them up excessively helps.  I am always getting after my daughter to stop swooping after them and just sit still so they can come to her. They will pick up on the body language and actions of certain people (especially children who are fast moving and always want to be picking up chicks) and avoid those people.

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for the great suggestions!! Worked like a charm too! Last night we spent about an hour with them in an enclosed area in the house (too cold yet to take them outside). Within 15 minutes they were totally new chicks. My daughter just wrapped herself in a blanket and stayed still and by the end of that hour all 4 of them were walking around on her and sitting on her shoulder. A few would let us pet them and a few were cautiously curious. Still have a long ways to go, but it's a huge relief to see this change. Thanks again all!! DH is making a side door to their brooder tonight so hopefully that alleviates the stress they get in there with us having to reach down to get them all the time. 

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