2 week old chicks have imprinted on me, what do I do?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kitkatnoah, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. kitkatnoah

    kitkatnoah Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 26, 2010
    Houston, Texas
    Monday I bought two 2 week old pullets from my feed store and have been keeping them in a rabbit cage. For some unknown reason, these two have imprinted on me and get very upset when they can't see me! If I leave the room they start to peep very loudly, will try to fly through the bars on the cage, trying to follow me. They have the right temp, 90 degrees, in the cage, plenty of chick feed & water and they chirp when they are content and that is only if I am next to them. Last night they would not stop peeping when my family and I went to bed, so I got up, got them out of the cage, put them in the crook of my arm and covered them with a light blanket. They instantly settled down and went to sleep with little chirps. When I tried to gently move them back to the cage, they tried to fly out of the cage and up onto me! Needless to say, I fell asleep on the couch with them in the crook of my arm. I guess I'm mama hen to these two, but my hubby would throw a fit if I sleep on the couch with two chicks until they are old enough to move to the coop with the big girls. Has this happened to anyone else and how do you handle it?

  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I believe imprinting only happens in their first day or two of life. I'll bet they are reacting to the change and the loss of all those buddies. You may have to grit you teeth and let them chirp til they get accustomed to the new home. Are you using a red light?
  3. harewizard

    harewizard Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 5, 2009
    How about adding some stuffed animals to their pen? Maybe having something big and soft to curl upto or into will help them?

    Just a thought... [​IMG]
  4. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 19, 2009
  5. nanawendy

    nanawendy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2009
    Bellingham Wa
    Try a soft blankie and stuffy. Enjoy young motherhood while you can, soon enough they will only want you for your treats [​IMG]
  6. BayouPoules

    BayouPoules Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:yep,.. soon enough you will be only the treat machine,..
    sometimes a small clock wrapped in a cloth helps,. it's the muffled tick-tock that helps. Make sure it's wrapped on something they can't peck off or eat.
  7. Sumatra503

    Sumatra503 Kozy Orchard Farms

    Sep 24, 2010
    I've found that hanging a feather duster in the cage often helps. I had a young pair of seramas that acted the same way and a single hatch chick that was always chirping.

    You could always just let them follow you around the house. At least then they would be content.[​IMG]

    Sometimes you just have to be a stern parent and leave them to cry in their rooms untilt hey learn not to be afraid.

    Imprinting can occur at any time, particularly with brooder raised chicks. They have been moved to a new place and are looking to the largest creature around them for comfort. You are in a way their mother and their comfort. They are most likely just afraid to be alone in a new place.

    Just be patient with them. They will calm down eventually.
  8. SFlChicks

    SFlChicks Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 28, 2010
    South Florida
    Try giving them an inverted box or plastic container to sleep in. They may need a small, confined area to feel safe - and warm. Make sure you cut a "door" in one side so they can come and go. We had to literally put the container on top of them, but once they figured it out, the quickly settled down (within minutes). I know those loud chirps break your heart!
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2010
  9. kitkatnoah

    kitkatnoah Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 26, 2010
    Houston, Texas
    Thank you for all the suggestions! The blankie & feather duster idea worked...whew! No more loud peeps at night.[​IMG]
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I'm glad your problem is solved. I noticed you said they had a temperature of 90 degrees. For two week old chicks, that is too hot. The temperature needs to drop about 5 degrees per week with the starting range at 90 to 95 degrees, so yours should have 80 to 85 degrees. They shouldbe fully feathered out in another 2 to 3 weeks and won't need any supplemental heat then. As long as they have a cooler area to get away from the heat, it should not hurt them to have that one area too hot. They'll just move away from the heat or not spend much time there at all.

    I like to keep one small area of my brooder in the recommended temperature range and let the rest cool off so they can find their comfort zone. For example, when I starter this spring, I had it in the low 90's right under the light but the far corner of the brooder was around 70 degrees. They spent most of the first two days under the heat lamp, but by the third day they were playing all over the brooder, including the far corner. They would go back to the heat when they wanted to warm up. That was not as often as you might expect.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by