Yes, I stroke the top of my Barred Rock's head and she seems to be a little more trustworthy of me. My Buff Orpington's seem kind of shy and so do my Rhode Island Reds. I'll keep attempting to build trust. With my Buffs though it seems hard to stroke their fluff as they run away as fast as they can.
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It can take a while. The more contact even letting your hand hang and talking to them can help. Patience and persistence is the key.
I just tried putting my hand in and they all ran away. You're probably right, I'll give them time to relax and get use to my hand.
I have tried a few of the methods listed above. I did not cut a side in the brooder.
I stick my hand in and leave it for about 10 minutes. Some of the chicks seem interested, but are too afraid to see what it is. The rest just run away. Some of them just ignore it, and walk around and eat food/drink water, but the rest seem scared. I don't know what to do. They're almost 2 weeks old (We got them at a week old). I still have the fear that if they don't warm up to me, then I won't be able to hold them when they're older if needed.
Thanks for any help you can provide :(
I really do believe that chicks need to see us humans in context in order to accept us as non-threatening. I have had a succession of side access brooders after the totally un-successful box-on-on-the-floor-reach-down-from-above brooder. The most successful of my indoor brooders was a plant grow-window where the chicks could observe life going on all around them. Those chicks I thought at the time were the most fearless I've ever raised.
That is until I began brooding outdoors in my run. My chicks are the size of large bugs, and are completely fearless even when I and my huge feet am stomping around in their pen. They are running around, curious, and if i sit down, they are on me in a heartbeat.
For my complete analysis of why this works so well to produce fearless chicks, read my article on outdoor brooding linked below my post.
Articles by azygous:
Articles by azygous:
I only have top access to my brooder. Reach in slowly away from the chicks and move very slowly towards them. If they shy away just let you hang hang still for a bit. Offer them some chick starter in your hand instead of the treats and they will associate the big hand with food. Stroking their fluff gently with one finger builds trust also. It does vary greatly with breed and individual chicks. After having mine a week they are now 2 weeks old and my two Wyandottes start jumping up and down wanting to be picked up at times. They will always come to me but sometimes don't want to be held. Getting them to stand on your finger or hand without wrapping your hand around helps them to trust you. Keep placing your finger against the front of their legs as you would train a parakeet or canary and eventually they will step up on your finger. My Buff Orpington and Americana watch but aren't sure yet.
X2, give them food out of your hand. The braver ones might start to eat out of your hand & then the nervous ones might come around.
BTW, even if they don't warm up to you as chicks, that doesn't mean they won't be friendly when they grow up. My hens always got friendlier after they started to lay. After they start to lay, they will probably squat and let you pick them up with no problem. GL!
Don't feel discouraged!! They'll come around. Do you talk to them a lot? I talked to mine constantly so they'd know my voice when I was coming.
My Silver laced Wyandotte has taken a liking to sitting on my hand. I put my hand in the brooder and she will climb on my hand and the others watch. Soon my Gold laced Wyandotte comes over and gets on my hand too. Shortly the Buff Orpington and Americana come closer to watch but won't get on my hand yet, maybe not enough room.
I took them out for a "field trip" to the old run today and the Wyandottes were the only ones that would cooperate so I left the others in the brooder for a bit. After about 10 minutes the others were fussing loudly and then allowed my to pick them up more easily. The Americana is the most skittish but after placing my hand on her back without grabbing a couple of times she settled down and then I picked her up without as much fuss as usual. I think I might be on to something touching her back for a few seconds first before wrapping my fingers around her.
I am retired so I get to spend a lot of time talking to them and putting my hand in the brooder. They are learning the big hand ain't so bad.
Move slowly and don't chase them, don't send the into a panic
Edited by RonC - 5/13/16 at 6:38pm
Move slowly and don't chase them far