Chick Handling

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by sebloc, May 8, 2016.

  1. sebloc

    sebloc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hello
    Note:This is my first time raising chicks.

    So yesterday we picked up chicks at a small farm. When we brought them home, as anyone would be eager to, we wanted to hold them. Before doing so, we gave them time to acclimate to new surroundings and get under the heat lamp. But later, when we attempted to pick them up, they were shy almost and ran away when they saw our hand. We moved slowly and steadily to ensure that they wouldn't be scared or anything.

    We're just worried that if they don't like to be handled now, they won't want to be handled as full grown chickens when we need to pick them up.

    So, how would we approach this? Would giving them treats make them become more acclimated to our touch? If so, what types of treats would work best?

    Thanks for any info you can provide.
     
  2. Adalida

    Adalida Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How old are they? If they are very small, I wouldn't start with treats yet. A helpful tip I read on here, is don't approach the chicks from above. That triggers an instinctive reaction of fear of a predator attacking them. If you can, bring your hand up to them from the side instead. You can put your hand up to them and just let it sit there for a minute. Mine usually got interested in my rings or the freckles on my hands, and started pecking at them.

    What breeds do you have? I noticed a very distinct difference in chicks, depending on breed. My black Australorps are very calm and docile and I can pick them up easily. The silver laced Wyandottes don't like being picked up and protest loudly when I handle them. Also spend time with your chicks out of the brooder. Just sit on the floor and let them be near you. Even if they don't like being picked up, they'll hang out with you on their own terms. If they're very small, you'll have to make sure they don't get cold and put them back in with the heat lamp if they do. I found that if I sit on the floor with them, they never go far from me and enjoy climbing on me.
     
  3. sebloc

    sebloc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The chicks are a week old. 2 orpingtons, 2 barred rock, and 2 rhode island reds. Maybe ill try that next time, thanks!
     
  4. tommosx56

    tommosx56 Out Of The Brooder

    hi
    I've got isa browns and they don't seem to fussed about being picked up. I let mine come up to me. At first they didn't like me but after a while they started to like being handled. Maybe give them lots of attention. let the out and sit on the floor with them. they usually come up to you and snuggle into you. if you don't grab at them every chance you get they will probably see trust in you. I've only had 1 batch of chickens and that's how mine liked to be picked up. And also, don't be alarmed at about 5 weeks they will stop wanting to be picked up.
    good luck
    tom
    [​IMG]
     
  5. sebloc

    sebloc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks! I'll stick my hand in once and a while and see if that will build up trust. How old were they when they started trusting you?
     
    Last edited: May 8, 2016
  6. tommosx56

    tommosx56 Out Of The Brooder

    I got my chicks at one week old and they started trusting me at about 1 and a half to 2 weeks old.[​IMG]
    that is me with my 2 of my chicks. (btw, i'm a kid)
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    If you raise your brooder up onto a table and create a side access into it, your chicks will react with calm and trust immediately.

    For that reason, if you feel you must brood indoors, get a cardboard appliance box, line the bottom with 6 mil plastic, and cut a side access door into it. Elevated on a table, it becomes similar to a child's doll house, and you can play with your chicks as much as you like, because they will enjoy it too.

    The secret is that they are able to see all of you, and they then perceive you as a caring human, not a predator.

    But if you have a coop all ready for chickens, you could be brooding outdoors where there's much more room and it's more natural and comfortable for chicks. You would then be able to climb right into the brooding pen and play with your chicks.

    For information and pictures of many types of brooders for tame chicks, see my article linked below my post, the second one on brooding outdoors.
     
  8. sebloc

    sebloc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The brooder was already up onto a table, but there is no side access. I will look into this, thank you.
     
  9. sebloc

    sebloc Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you. I put my hand in once and a while but they kind of run away and hide in a corner. I kind of try leaving it there for a while but they still stay there.
     
  10. RonC

    RonC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I only have top access to my brooder. Reach in slowly away from the chicks and move very slowly towards them. If they shy away just let you hang hang still for a bit. Offer them some chick starter in your hand instead of the treats and they will associate the big hand with food. Stroking their fluff gently with one finger builds trust also. It does vary greatly with breed and individual chicks. After having mine a week they are now 2 weeks old and my two Wyandottes start jumping up and down wanting to be picked up at times. They will always come to me but sometimes don't want to be held. Getting them to stand on your finger or hand without wrapping your hand around helps them to trust you. Keep placing your finger against the front of their legs as you would train a parakeet or canary and eventually they will step up on your finger. My Buff Orpington and Americana watch but aren't sure yet.
     

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