Chicks Don't Like Us, Wife Annoyed

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jgaepi, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. jgaepi

    jgaepi Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 25, 2011
    davis, ca
    We received our baby chicks a week ago. The first few days they were really docile and allowed us to hold them and tickle their necks. They started not liking it about 2 days ago. Now they freak out when we try to pick them up. Flapping around and screeching. They flail like crazy when we hold them. My wife is annoyed and says she gives up. Are we doing something wrong? Their talons are getting really sharp so we get little cuts.
  2. eenie114

    eenie114 Completly Hopeless

    Try hand-feeding them?
  3. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 2, 2009
    North Texas
    baby chickens change rapidly. Everything from their eye sight, to their porportions change daily. You just have to give them time. Mine would run from me in the brooder, but come running TO me when given outside time. Do you have to reach down into the brooder to handle them? If so, instinctually to them, you are simulating the actions of an arial predator.

    You must also consider that as 1-2 day olds, they are looking for a mother hen to "imprint" on. Without that constant contact with a mother hen figure, they imprint on and bond with eachother, and look to one another for comfort and security. Try taking two at a time out, and taking them away from the brooder to interact with them. Move slow, give them time to be accustom to being away from their brood mates. I take mine out in pairs and watch tv with them (with a tea towel in my lap to catch any poo) to socialize them.

    Always remember, the best way to a chicken's heart is through bribery. distinguish a special treat they get only when spending time with you. I use mealworms. they LOVE them. I use them to condition my birds to come running when I call them. It makes it easier to put them away after free ranging, and to work with them in general. It works best to start young. Good luck, and don't forget, as they mature and reach POL, their personalities will change dramatically. I have had some extremely standofish girls turn into kittens once they started laying.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2011
  4. 202roosterlane

    202roosterlane Happy Hen on a Harley

    Feb 24, 2011
    Central Arkansas
    At first they love being picked up by warm gentle hands. But I think it is normal once the "I am a chicken not a kitten" phase kicks in. It's harder to keep them loving and calm when you have many. But if you have one or two you handle and love on several times a day, you will get the results you are looking for. IMO
    I tried with a bath tub of babies to give each one quality time but no matter how slow I approached them they would scramble. Then when I very slowly reached in there, I stayed still for a few moments. They actually came to my hand out of curiosity. But only one or two cared to be picked up. That's the chicken in them. I'm okay with that.
    As they got older they came to ignore me and label me as "that woman that feeds us". [​IMG] Unless I was bringing meal worms or lettuce. Then I was the most awesome human in the world. [​IMG]

    Got to love em![​IMG]
  5. the1much

    the1much Currently Birdless Hippy

    they like teenagers right now. they still learning. take sum meal worms, or even some dinner leftovers to them bout same time every day. igarentee within a month when they see you commin they will come running to ya.and alsorealize each one is different with different personalities, you'll soon see each will treat you different some will love ya, some wont care if your even alive,,lol but most of all,, enjoy them, they bring great breaks in life ;}
  6. Duramaxgirl

    Duramaxgirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2010
    Quote:that's one of the most accurate statements ever said about chickens. They aren't human and they don't make the best pets. although I've noticed when mine are older they seem to warm up to human contact a little more. So maybe give them time. Lots of treats helps when they're older to get them to trust you to. They will never be like a puppy or cat but they do make you breakfast. [​IMG]
  7. cottagechick

    cottagechick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 11, 2011
    Cottage Grove, Oregon
    I got two when they were three months old and five when they were one day old. I have five different breeds. Some are from breeders and some are from hatcheries. I did try to hold them daily. I also took turn watching tv with each of them for a few minutes each day. And I still take turns with them holding and petting at least one a day. But I didn't spend an inordinate amount of time with them. I can't really say if there is much difference between the ones I had from hatch and the ones I didn't. Some of them I could always catch and are calmer when I hold them. Some of them act like I am chasing them with an axe. They haven't started laying yet so I can't speak to what will happen after they start laying...I can tell you that they do run to me as they associate me with food. At this point I think they are kind of like tame seagulls or squirrels. They like to be NEAR me in case I have food...but not too near...they don't want to cuddle. I can say that it seems to me that their personalities really become more apparent at around four months. They are very fun to watch! But I am not sure they will ever think that I am as great as my dog does... [​IMG]
  8. chickee

    chickee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:What breed are they? That makes a big difference. It does sound like one of the stages they go through. Once they get treats they are all over you [​IMG] I start giving my chicks a nine grain cereal (finely ground grains) from the health food store sprinkled on their food when they are a few days old. They absolutely love it and will come running when they see your hand come in! It teaches them that your hand is a GOOD thing! Just be sure to also sprinkle chick grit over the food like salt when feeding anything other than chick starter.
    Good luck! [​IMG]
  9. wbruder17

    wbruder17 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 7, 2010
    Portland, OR
    DON'T GIVE UP! You definitely need food. Its really the only way with chickens. Scrambled eggs are the best, IMO. Then work on to canned corn. My latest batch of chicks will come when I call and I have 2 trained to fly up onto my arm for corn. You just have to be patient and work with them every day, several times a day. BOTHER THEM. They will get used to it and love you for it.

    Another thing to note, is when they start to freak out and flap around, you need to press them to your chest, holding the wings gently, but firmly to stop the flapping. I will csh csh cshhh them while I hold them against me to calm them. Then I pet their heads gently with my free hand. You can't let the freaking get out of control and you can't put them back until they calm down, otherwise they win and will continue to freak out cuz you will put them down. You have to make sure the experience ends calmly....then give treats.
  10. nurse_turtle

    nurse_turtle Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2011
    Foothills of NC
    Completely normal young chick behavior. Give them a few more weeks, try the hand feeding routinely, and they will chill down eventually. I force-loved mine whether they liked it or not. It paid off when they became large adult birds. There are several I can still walk up to and pick up and hold with no problem and no fuss.

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