1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

How To Socialize Baby Chickens

Socialising baby chicks to get friendly hens and roosters
  1. iLoveRoosters
    Socializing Baby Chickens to get friendly Hens/Roos


    [​IMG][​IMG]
    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.

    [​IMG]

    -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.
    [​IMG]

    -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)

    [​IMG]

    -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!


    [​IMG]

    SUGGESTED BYC ARTICLES-
    -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

    Share This Article

Comments

To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!
  1. The Balcom Clan
    We're among the many who have done this "wrong" :) We held our 5 babies at a day old even though we were told to take it easy for a week. We have a 9 year old and a 5 year old, NOT holding them wasn't going to be an option! :)
    The chicks got used to our chocolate lab while scampering around our living room floor. At a week old they were already crawling all over us and perching on our shoulders. My husband has had all 5 of them fall asleep in his hands. We just listen to their chirps and can tell when the sound changes to "help me, I'm cold!". We even have taken them out in the back yard to play in the (organic) garden dirt and sunshine. Week old chicks taking dust baths is hilarious and adorable!
    So I suppose there's always exceptions to the rules. I highly doubt we've "ruined" our chicks by handling them too much or by being too friendly with them. They're just over two weeks now and they like to jump on our dog's back, hop up and down our arms and play on our floor. Did we do it "wrong"? Oh probably. Are they healthy and having fun? Yep!
  2. ninjawesome
  3. stretchy4u2
    Well I have 2 chicks I hatched last week I haven't had that much interaction with them. Now I read I should have. They peck at me I try to pet them. They are a little stand offish with me. They know my voice. what do I do now?
  4. theoldguy
    great article .There is one thing I disagree about.,Giving them baths.Once or twice a year I pull out a foot bath( like you get from the hospital),Luke arm water and baby shampoo,the water is leg deep.Chickens do get dirty and need an occasional bath, .The girls seem to love it and a few of the hens just stand in the water.Seems some breeds tame easier then others. Some of the girls eat scratch right out of my hand.Good birds:) just a note:) thanks for sharing:)
  5. RedBreasted
    I like this post! Is nice for a relationship between you and your chickens!
  6. ChickyChickens
  7. CentralOregon
    @Back2Roots -- don't worry about picking them up. If you're gentle, it's no big deal. If any of them have pasty butt, you'll end up handling them the whole time you're cleaning it up anyway. Chicks initially need heat, food, and water...coddling them is not necessary.
  8. MsRiderUp
    Hi,
    I had baby chicks (a few 1 day old, and a few 1 1/2 weeks old) that I bought from breeders and the feed store. So far I've had them in a box on the floor in the laundry room, and now they're in a nice 4 ft. x 8 ft. cardboard-sided pen in the garage. They have fresh water, food, heat lamp, etc. I have gone in and let them eat from my hand, but I think that me always being overhead has scared them. They have generally been afraid of me since I've had them, and the older ones seem to have helped teach them this.

    I have older hens and they're fine with people. Is there any hope to teach the babies not to be afraid of me, AND not to peck at me? They either sit still and don't move when I look in the pen to check on them, or occasionally they huddle together in a corner to get away from me. I'm not too encouraged at this point. Thanks for any suggestions.
  9. Sylvester017
    To KnkGoose - my feed store guy has been ordering hatchery chicks for his egg industry community for over 10 years. When we picked out an 8-day old chick we told him we were going to try soft cucumber centers as a toy for the chick and he recommended strawberries highly. Well, we got the chick some strawberries but she PREFERRED the cucumber!
  10. KnkGoose
    My girls are just over 2 weeks. Can i give them chopped strawberries and oatmeal as treats yet or should I wait til they are older?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by