Chicken Behavior

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by robmcsched, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. robmcsched

    robmcsched In the Brooder

    Mar 5, 2007
    Hi, new to this forum...have three baby chicks and am wondering how much to handle them and things like: How to pet a chicken? Do they like the back of the head, neck gently rubbed (it seems to calm them, but do they actually like this?). Basic handling questions. Also, how soon can I bathe them to get them used to it--in case I have to when they are older, etc...I guess I'm just looking for basic handling guidelines...I have a few books on care and feeding and have visited several websites, but haven't found anything on taming/handling them.

    They will eventually be outdoor layers, but we would like to have a friendly pet relationship with them. Right now, they are in a clear rubbermaid brooder in my office, so they are getting used to me being right next to them. I take them out a couple times a day just to hold them for a few minutes...I don't want to over-handle them and stress them.


    Robyn in Northern CA
  2. Hotwings

    Hotwings Songster

    Jan 27, 2007
    southwestern Michigan
    I would advise you on getting Storey's guide to raising chickens. You can find it in any feed store or probably local library. Don't give your chicks a bath! People generally only bathe if they are going to a show or etc. Chickens will keep themselves clean by allowing to dust bathe in the dirt. Chicks can be kinda fragile. I have lightly stroked on their head with a finger. I would say the guide to chickens will answer any questions you may have. I am new to chickens also(it is a year now) and I have alot to learn too. I think the people at this site are a great help. A good chicken mag is the Back Yard Poultry. Good luck Mary
  3. Forest_Nymph

    Forest_Nymph Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    [​IMG] I've always wanted that info too...

    I keep forgetting to go book shopping. ....Top of the list of things to do!

  4. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    I wouldn't bathe chicks, especially if they don't have true feathers yet. If you rub their wattles, they can be happy with that. I pat mine like you would a dog or a cat, from the back of the head to the base of the tail.
  5. robmcsched

    robmcsched In the Brooder

    Mar 5, 2007
    Thanks to all! I will look for the book, my local feed store doesn't have it--so I'll check around or on-line!

    Robyn in Northern CA

    LICHICK In the Brooder

    Feb 7, 2007
    New York
    I wouldnt bath them. Mine love when I rub under their wattle. They fall asleep on my lap
  7. keljonma

    keljonma Songster

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2011
  8. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon

    Jan 27, 2007
    We only picked ours up (while still in brooder) to transfer them out for as long as it took to tidy things up. Try to pick them up by slipping your hand under them and letting the legs dangle between your fingers - they are instinctually averse to being grabbed from above and behind (predator panic mode).

    When ours were moved to a larger folding dog cage (old enough to roost and stay outside during day), we'd just open the door and place a hand in palm up - sometimes with a chunk of grape/mealworm - sometimes not. They'd each clamor to get on board (outside to the grass and bugs, now!!).

    It's been two years now and, in the evening, when we're here to let `em freerange, they'll all hop up on the back deck if we're sitting on the steps, and hang around a bit preening and stretching out before they head off to the coop. I'm guessing that's pretty good recommendation from these self sufficient chooks. The roo certainly doesn't want to be picked up, but he'll hunker down right next to me.

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