A timing question...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ChcknLttle, Aug 2, 2014.

  1. ChcknLttle

    ChcknLttle Just Hatched

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    May 18, 2014
    Hello all!

    Question for you..... what is your "timeline" for handling your chicks? Mine will be a week old Mon and I've not done a ton of handling them because I haven't wanted to stress them out. I've picked up to check for pasty butt if I couldn't see, and I've done lots of sitting and watchig them, but not more than that.

    When do you start "heavy" handling them? I want them to be super easy to deal with as adults, so I want to start them off right!! What do your timelines look like?

    Also, sadly, I lost one of my 6 girls last night :/ She was doing well Fri morning when I left for work, but when I got home she was lethargic and not doing much. I tried to give her some electrolyte water but she would have no part of it. When I picked her up, she just let me, and would lay her head on my fingers. When I put her down she would just lay there where I put her. When I checked on her at 1am she was gone :( No idea what was wrong, no pasty butt, no other symptoms. She never did get as big as the other 5 girls, so maybe it was something congenital? Either way, sad day.....

    But back to my point, what do your timelines look like?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

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    Sorry got your loss! I "heavy" handle them from the start.
     
  3. CollegeChicken

    CollegeChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    CHICKS SHOULD NOT BE HANDLED BEFORE THEY ARE 5 DAYS OLD unless it is to treat for pasty butt or to gently rub your finger along the breast bone to check their weight. Handling chicks because they are cute or you want them to be "tamed" is selfish and extremely stressful to the chick. Chicks are not toys for our amusement, they are companion animals that we choose to share our life with. Start handling at around 5 days old for several minutes a day two to three times daily and then increase with age. IMO anyone that tells you different is dead wrong. When I think about how to care for new chicks,'heavy handling' is the last thing I would ever encourage someone to do. The whole point of a forum is to express different ideas so please dont be offended by my knowledge, it is not meant to insult or put down anyone in any way.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2014
  4. RJSorensen

    RJSorensen Chicken George

    I would be in the just leave them alone camp, at least for the first week. Other than to dip their beak or scan for and take care of pasty butt, I think them best left alone. As far as handling them goes. We watch them and, well whatever needs to be done we take care of. Stress is hard on birds, double hard on the little ones… Often I do not tell the grandkids we have chicks, for the first week or so. I will wait until I see that they have 'spunk' and only then do I allow others or myself to handle them.

    The memory of a young bird is shorter than the time it takes to read this sentence. Nothing will happen from not mauling them from the start. As an aside, if you wish to be buddies with your birds, try to do so from the side of them and not from above them. Birds fear things that swoop down from above, but reaching in from the side will not alarm them. You may need to raise the brooder to do this.

    Best to you and your birds,

    RJ
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. ChcknLttle

    ChcknLttle Just Hatched

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    Thanks everyone!

    Yes, the only handling I did the first week was pasty-butt checks

    They'll be a week old tomorrow, they're getting their feathers in on their wings, and they all seem very alert and active. I added some sticks into their brooder yesterday, and I've spotted them climbing on them, but no one seems to be roosting yet.

    I've started just sticking my hand in their box, they're running away less than they used to ;) They have a pretty big brooder, its 3'x3' for 5 chicks, so they have plenty of room to run if they wanted to!!
     
  6. CollegeChicken

    CollegeChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    good job- you are doing the exact right thing...keep in mind the majority of chickens mellow out with age, often times being the most flighty as chicks and teenagers. Chickens can learn to enjoy seeing their human every day but the real key to a chickens heart: FOOD. Thats the bottom line. Dont be discouraged if your chicks dont want to try new foods right away....at 6 weeks of age I started offering pigeon seed as a treat (along with the addition of free choice grit) and they go CRAZY for it..even the most skittish chick will run up and eat out of my hand. Its so much more fun to have an animal that you can admire for its beauty, that trusts you and is willing to eat from your hand, rather than the handling being on the humans terms. It sounds like you are a great chicken owner!
     
  7. ryferre

    ryferre Out Of The Brooder

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    I know that my chicks are often "run away from the human hand" when they are in the brooder--- then once they are out in the open they follow you around as if to say "Wait! Don't leave me!" So yes, chickens tame quite easily! They are not like parrots that need that constant handling!
     
  8. CollegeChicken

    CollegeChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes I agree especially once they know their food and treat routine and you see them all literally doing the 'top speed waddle-run' right at you to get their treats lol
     

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