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new 3 weeks old chick

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

hi, I'm new to the forum, and a new chicken owner.

 

i have just bought 3 week old chicks, they haven't been handled until now so aren't very tame, but I've had them 3 days and they are a lot more confident than when i first got them. at the moment all they will eat is grit and their chick crumbs. I've tried lettuce,cabbage,strawberries, dried mealworms, bread, rice and they won't eat any of it! even the mealworms... I'm trying to tame them but its very difficult when i don't have any treats that they like. does anyone have any advice on what chicks like as a treat, also where can i buy live mealworms to try? and best ideas on how to tame them. 

post #2 of 3

Taming is food oriented and by handling. You can condition them at this young age to be used to being handled. Treats at this age aren't advantageous. First off the starter feed has everything they need and is a balanced diet. For them to get off to the best possible start they can that is all you should feed them at this time. Grit is not needed with chick starter. Once they get outside is a completely different matter. They'll be foraging and trying new foods naturally. Grit is needed at this time and usually found by them right from the soil but not a bad idea to provide it. Most soils and housing set ups the grit is readily available, only a scratch or two away on the ground. At this time treats are great and what's going to get you started for training them to come to your call. Over treating will lead to behavior some call aggressive. Pulling on pant legs, pecking and the like. It's because owners tend to treat almost every time they visit the birds. You become the candy dispenser. Pull on pant leg and out pops cracked corn right? Limit this and that behavior wont start. I like to train the birds to come to my call. Not much for shrill "here chick-chick-chick!" but don't mind teaching them to come to a whistle. Whatever vocal que you want do each time you provide a treat. Pavlov trained a dog to salivate when hearing a bell. All we want is for the chickens to come running when we call. It doesn't take long at all and once the behavior is set into them you don't need the feed to get them running from hundred yards away. 

 

Handling is far more important to condition them to stay calm when reached for and held. Treats are just fun to watch and a great place for old leftovers from the fridge to go. Treats aid in whatever training you want but wont make a lap bird; handling does that. I prefer the birds be birds and not all over me or others visiting the run. If I want them near to view or simply if they're loose and wandered too far I only have to whistle. It's all up to you how you want the birds to behave and anything is possible with dedication to task in mind. Do keep in mind if they start being under foot or bumping and pecking at your legs it not their temperament it's how they were raised. If it happens and you don't want that behavior you'll need to train them to stop. That's another topic.

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 


wow, thank you for so much useful info! they're living on wood chips at the moment and will be free range (ish) once they are big enough so that they are not seen as prey to seagulls. I'm not planning on lots of treats i was just wondering why they don't seem to like anything i give them, even if i just put it in a bowl in their cage! I'm wondering if they only like live mealworms as they refuse to eat the dried ones even if i soak them so they're mushy, but the lady who bred them said they love them! I'm planning on doing lots of sitting with them next to their run and Ive been picking them up to before they go in their house for the night to try and get them used to it. i understand it'll take time for them to trust me, and I'm not expecting them to be 'lap chickens' but just don't want them running away from me whenever i go near! 

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