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Help Calming chicks down!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
My wife and I are brand new to raising chickens. We have had our first flock for less than 3 weeks and they are about 18 days old. When we first got them they were a little skittish but now they seem to freak out every time we make the slightest move around them. Should we be handling them more? Is there a way to correct this while they are still young? Even if we just come between them and their heat lamp and they see our shadow they start running around. When go to pick them up they completely lose it. They run all over the place knocking things over, squawking, trying to fly, and tossing little hairs everywhere. Any input would be greatly appreciated. We have no experience here so we're not sure if this is abnormal.
post #2 of 7
That's quite normal. I personally only handle mine to move them or check them over. When they reach sexual maturity and start laying they start to be less reactive, and by two years old they just stand around in the way talking to me, so eventually they will accept you. They are prey, and need to react quickly to everything, especially things like hands coming over the top of them. It's a survival instinct.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
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Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #3 of 7

I hold mine. Coming from above is going to freak them out, that's completely normal (prey often comes from above).

As for when you handle, some don't like to be held over the top of them, some rather perch on the finger/hand/arm. When they're younger I hold around them so they can't fall and get hurt. When they're a little older I start letting them perch on my hand, arm, shoulder. I talk in a calm/quiet voice to them too. I have a harder time trying to hold my ducklings safely than my chicks (2nd year with chicks, 1st with ducklings). The ducklings are more awkward to hold than the chicks are because of their body shape. With the chicks while they're younger it's easier to safely get around them. I just try not to grab too hard.

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the fast response! I've seen some videos online of chicks that seem really docile. I was just wondering why ours weren't that way. Thanks again!
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonnyRobertz View Post

Thanks for the fast response! I've seen some videos online of chicks that seem really docile. I was just wondering why ours weren't that way. Thanks again!

A lot of chick temperament is very much breed related! I just got my spring chicks 6 days ago mailed from the hatchery at hatch. These chicks actually RUN TOO ME!they jump on my hand and lap and love to be snuggled! What I noticed is ALL 7 of my Barred Rocks are like that. I call them out from under the heat plate and tap on my water and say drink, ALL 10 DRINK! I do the same with food. Then I lead them back to the heat. They ALL come to me but the barred Rocks and the penciled Silver Rocks are the ultra loving birds,my Silver laced wyannadotte and Gold laced wyannadotte come to me but don't like to be touched like the barred Rock. My Golden Buff comes but does not like touched either.only the barred rocks! I was really suprised. They are the friendliest breed I've ever seen!!
Edited by realsis - 4/17/16 at 3:50am
post #6 of 7

Your chicks are close to the end of their brooding period, so any new information will not necessarily be timely enough to apply to this group of chicks, but perhaps you'll gain enough new pointers to apply to your next brood.

 

I wrote a comprehensive article, with lots of photos, on brooding chicks, and went through my iterations of brooder designs whose objectives were calm, friendly chicks.

 

Early on, I noticed that being under light 24/7 was also affecting their demeanor. I tried to remedy that by blocking the light at night, but finally adopted the heating pad system where the chicks only have natural day/night patterns of light.

 

Also, I began brooding outdoors in my run last summer, and those chicks were the most fun of all. You can read the article by scrolling down below this post and clicking on the one about brooding outdoors. Look for "Articles by azygous"

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you guys so much for all the info!
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