2 questions about my babies

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jesirose, Mar 16, 2012.

  1. jesirose

    jesirose Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2012
    McKinney, TX
    Hi all! I have 5 chicks who are 2.5 weeks old - although I think one might be maybe closer to 2 only, she's much smaller and has a few less feathers. I've had them since Monday. I want to let them go outside for a little visit with me in the yard, because our weather is amazing right now, but I'm terrified if I put one down on the grass I won't be able to get her back to me. I've taken them out and just held them so they could have the fresh air (maybe I'm just spoiling them now lol) but not put them down.
    There are 2 that are ok with me picking them up, the little one that is peeps a lot when I do but doesn't run away, and two RIRs that are terrified of me so I wouldn't try it with them.

    I am thinking I just have to wait until they trust me more and I feel confident they won't run off? The yard is fence but the gap under the door is big enough that with the size they are they could get through, so if I wait until they are big enough to move out there they won't escape, but I wanted to take advantage of the nice weather. I saw some people take theirs outside at 2 weeks, but I guess they've had them since eggs or day 1, and I only just got mine this week. So when can I try this without being worried I'll lose my peeps?

    My other question is about giving them treats - we have given them some mayflies and moths my husband caught (that is a whole hilarious story, he looked like a chicken himself) and they went NUTS. BUT they won't eat them when we are holding them. The littlest chick couldn't get one so we tried picking her up and letting her eat it out of our hands, but she was not interested. We tried this with the others too and none of them would even go for the bug, but as soon as we put it and them in the brooder they attacked it. Is that normal? How do I get them to associate ME with the treats? Do I need better treats? When can I give them fruit and other food?
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    Although my flock free ranges my backyard, I don't like to let my little chicks do the same for fear of the same things you mentioned. My solution was to get a few lengths of 1x2 and fashion a little frame. It is 4' long, 2' wide and 2' high. I surrounded it with chicken wire, and this allows them outdoor time while keeping them contained to one small area of the yard. It is a temporary enclosure in that it is not meant to be predator proof and doesn't replace supervision - just allows them to enjoy the sun, fresh air and grass without the concern they will get under a fence or the shed or....

    As for not eating treats while they're in your hand, that doesn't sound unusual. You are still big and scary and they're not entirely sure you're not predators, so while you are holding them they are focused not on food, but on staying vigilant. Once you put them back in their "home" environment, they feel safe enough to go after the treats. Keep trying, but start by offering the treat flat on the palm of your hand in the brooder and see if they will take it from you then. Eventually one of them will be brave enough to do it and then the others will as well.
  3. felidaet

    felidaet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2008
    Vancouver, Wa.
    I try to let my chicks get a little free range time on warm days after they are at least two weeks old. I small fenced area is ideal. I use a dog pen fence that normally folds up flat. When it is expanded out it makes about a 5' or 6' circle. This is a good way to keep them confined. I usually set it up by my chicken run so that the big girls can see the chicks and the chicks can see the big girls. I usually try to have at least one other person outside with me when I let them free range. It always good to have a helper nearby.

    I agree with offering treats in the palm of you hand with it stretched out flat and doing it in the brooder. I usually offer crushed cheerios as the first treat. Uncooked oatmeal also is popular with them. Just the plain rolled oats type with no additives. Make sure before you give them any treats though that they have chick grit available in their brooder. I place it in a bowl and leave it in the brooder 24 x 7.
  4. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    What HEChicken said. [​IMG]
  5. SC Yankee

    SC Yankee Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 11, 2012
    Saint Matthews, SC, USA
    I'm new at this too. I someone mention crushing up cooked noodles, and I remember seeing some old elbow mac in a jar. I cooked it sort of soft. They love it. It was cheap. Now everytime I put my hand down in the brooder, most come running to get the treat (after my hand is down in deep and slowly moved there).
  6. Fierlin1182

    Fierlin1182 powered-flight

    Aug 26, 2011
    When it comes to treats, they'll usually take anything. We discovered to our shock that the first group of chickens loved to eat cooked egg, so we tried it on the chicks, and they like it too. Veggies are okay - they love a good piece of lettuce to tear from. Even just grab a lump of dirt and let them dig through, after it's rained there'll be a lot of worms, down here at least. Old Feathers used to eat twenty or thirty in one go.

    As for eating out of hand, they're probably not used to you enough yet. It took my chicks a few weeks to get to know us enough to do that. Just be patient, and spend time around them!

    It's okay to let them roam in the garden if you can fence them in somehow. I know where you're coming from though, when the first group were small we used to let them free range, and those things are so tiny we could never really find where they'd gone once they entered the area of long grass. Learned a lesson after that. :lol:
  7. jesirose

    jesirose Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 14, 2012
    McKinney, TX
    Thank you all! I will keep trying with the treats. We are finishing up the part of the yard they will be in this weekend so maybe after this I can try taking the ones that seem to like me out there with some hardware cloth for a fence.

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