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Any tips on helping them be less scared of me?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Guernica, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. Guernica

    Guernica Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 23, 2013
    Clock End Farm, Georgia
    Would welcome any tips on helping my chickies be less scared of me. I do pick them up and hold them gently 2-3 times a day until they stop struggling, but they still wig out every time the lid comes off their brooder.

    Unfortunately I suspect the answer is going to be "spend more time with them" and that's a problem, since I have an indoor/outdoor farm cat who is dying to get his paws on them! I had to move them to a spare bedroom with a door that locks, and I'm still convinced I'm going to come home from work one night to an open door and chicks that turned into chicken dinner. [​IMG] Right now we're in the middle of a spring freeze so Bad@$$ Farm Cat is staying indoors.

    Should I sit in there, take them out and actually play with them a bit?

    Thanks!
     
  2. ScenicViews

    ScenicViews Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 17, 2015
    King, NC
    The lid on the brooder is what is making them skiddish. They think you are a predator. I had to change the set up on my brooder, to make them less scared. Once I did that they were much more at ease.

    Good luck, and I hope you find a way to make the lid more "chicken" friendly.

    I have 7 six week olds in a large what I call an indoor coop, they can see all around them, and when I come to visit, they all come running. and they don't freak out when I take the top off any more, because they can see me.
     
  3. kyexotics

    kyexotics Chillin' With My Peeps

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    YES!!!! We have 5 dogs that, especially now that weather is nicer, we throw outside and it's chick time!...I'll lay on floor or couch and let a bunch play on me, sometimes an entire cage full so the wife can clean cage...We all have our parts to play! ;-) I'm looking forward to throwing dogs out today as my pultans are so friendly, I want to play with them by hiding mealworms!
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2015
  4. Guernica

    Guernica Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 23, 2013
    Clock End Farm, Georgia
    If you don't mind my asking, what did you do to your brooder? Mine is a plastic bin w/ clear sides so that they can see me coming, and I always announce myself, but I think you may be right about the brooder lid!
     
  5. ScenicViews

    ScenicViews Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 17, 2015
    King, NC
    [​IMG]
    This what I built. It is made from cardboard, with pallet supports on the sides and chicken wire. You don't see the "lid" on, but it is just a large piece of cardboard that I set on top, just in case they decide to "fly the coop". They are so much happier now. Out of 7, only one will come to me to be held on a regular basis, but the others will let me hold them, they just aren't as friendly as my Buffy (I know lazy name for a Buff Orpington). I will be moving them to the Coop next weekend.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Guernica

    Guernica Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 23, 2013
    Clock End Farm, Georgia
    That's gorgeous!! Thanks!!
     
  7. microchick

    microchick Overrun With Chickens

    My 2 wk old 8 Buff Orps and 4 Welsummers all run to the front of the brooder excited to see me when I raise the front access panel. My secret? I always have a treat in my hand when I invade their territory. They know I will have either a piece of a slice of whole wheat bread or some meal worms for them and trust me, they expect me to have something for them. Once they have enjoyed their treat they are much more accepting to me handling them. You will always have a few that protest, just be persistent and gentle with them. It only took a few days of 'treating' them to get them eagerly searching my hand to see what I had for them.
     
  8. Guernica

    Guernica Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 23, 2013
    Clock End Farm, Georgia
    Thanks. I for sure plan on giving lots of treats, but at 5 days old mine are still a bit too young for that, yes?
     
  9. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    There are so many questions asked here just like yours, and back when I had just finished raising my first batch of chicks from day-olds, I was asking it myself. It seemed the chicks were more scared each day that passed, racing away from me screeching as if I was intending to kill them.

    It was long about then someone told me about BYC and I had joined, saw this question right off the bat, and read some of the posts. The one thing everyone who had this problem had in common was the brooder on the floor with a top access. The light bulb suddenly went on!

    Avoid top access brooders! I'm into utilizing free stuff every chance I get, so I use discarded cardboard appliance cartons for brooders. I really had fun with that first side-access brooder I built. I cut windows and doors into it, covering the windows in see-through plastic, and the door came downward like opening a bread box. I placed the brooder on a table and pulled up a chair. I was able to play with my chicks with them remaining in their brooder and whenever I would reach in, not a one would run away screeching!

    Later on, I added another box, taped it to the first one and cut a pass-though into the common wall, and the chicks had a two room condo with lots of room to race from one end to the other.

    So, the secret to tame chicks is handling them from the side, never from above. If you can slide your hand in slowly right up to their toes, they will step onto your palm. They get used to doing that and then you never need to grab them. Tame chicks grow into tame chickens.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. microchick

    microchick Overrun With Chickens

    Mine were about that age when I offered them broken bits of mealworm. At 7 days they were hooked. I read somewhere that they love whole wheat bread so at 9 days I introduced them to a small piece and they were bread-a-holics from that point on. Now they don't even give me a chance to lay it down but are snatching bites while I hold it for them. One or two will break off a larger bite and play chicken football with it, running around the brooder, singing and being chased by the others. They get their treats twice a day, in early morning when I say good morning to them and at early evening. Make sure you don't overdo it so they won't eat their chick crumbles. Mine are pile driving through 3 pints of food a day. Don't know where they are putting it all.

    This morning they had broken up cherios for the first time. They were leary of the round shape so I broke them up then they were an instant hit.

    If you wait until they are concentrating on the bread, you will be able to lightly stroke their little backs.
     

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