Chicks terrified of me

Francis noyes

Hatching
May 20, 2020
4
0
3
I have 7 healthy chicks of all different breeds. Some are about a Week old and some are 4 days old. They all get along well and I don’t have any problems other than that they are terrified of me. Anytime I put my hand in the brooder to do whatever they run away and chirp very loudly.I don’t know if this is just normal behavior or if I’m doing something wrong that is making them scared of me. Any tips on making them more comfortable around me? I want them to grownup to be hens that run to me when they see me not cower in fear. Does anyone have any techniques or treats that makes them happy around you? Thanks!
 

Perris

Still learning
Jan 28, 2018
4,148
18,566
777
Gower, Wales
hello @Francis noyes - welcome to BYC :frow

It is entirely normal behaviour; you are a potential predator. They will soon realize that you are the bringer of food and other good things :)

If you want to start training already, just make a 'chick,chick,chick' noise or something easily repeatable for you whenever you bring food. They will soon associate the two, and as time goes on and you start to introduce treats like mealworms, they will come running as soon as they hear the cue. (You will be mimicking what a broody hen and a roo do, btw.)
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,051
17,417
817
Western Ohio
They are hardwired, as a prey animal, to avoid predators. As they get used to you, they will usually settle down. Chicks can remain skittish, but quite often settle down once they begin to lay. There are some breeds that tend to stay skittish, but generally if you interact with them, they will be less likely to run from you. We had some pullets that must have had a high flight response-they easily freaked out, way over the top, for things that didn’t bother the others to the same extent, but they were the exception.
 

Esshea

Chirping
May 3, 2020
42
86
79
Brightwood, Oregon
They can run fast at that age too! They will mellow out. My batch right now is super skittish, I got them at Coastal. I think coming from an overcrowded feed store just increases their fear for a bit until they settle in.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
15,270
29,185
1,002
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Not sure how you have your brooder set up, but if it has an option for reaching in through side of brooder instead of the top, they'll be a little less scared of your hand that way. Reaching down from above is more of what a predator would do, so they react with more fear to that.
 

esme13

Songster
7 Years
Apr 22, 2014
485
264
191
New York
Thanks so much this is all so helpful!
Each will have their own personalities. They also go through stages. My sweet friendly chicks in the beginning are now my scaredy chickens. While my scaredy chicks are now my friendly ones. I always offer food on my hands and stroke them or try when they come to it. Earn their trust :)
 

karabeth05

In the Brooder
Jun 3, 2020
31
33
41
Our babies aren't a week old yet but we've had success cutting down on the fear by talking to them for a couple seconds, dropping a hand in and letting them come check it out, and then gently putting it under them from the front for them to step up onto. We have a couple that still squawk about it, but the rest are doing so much better and don't freak out near as much when we pick them up now.
 

Maria L

Hatching
Apr 25, 2020
4
3
8
I have 7 healthy chicks of all different breeds. Some are about a Week old and some are 4 days old. They all get along well and I don’t have any problems other than that they are terrified of me. Anytime I put my hand in the brooder to do whatever they run away and chirp very loudly.I don’t know if this is just normal behavior or if I’m doing something wrong that is making them scared of me. Any tips on making them more comfortable around me? I want them to grownup to be hens that run to me when they see me not cower in fear. Does anyone have any techniques or treats that makes them happy around you? Thanks!
they are very tame birds ,like any pets ,they love you,just talk to them when you feed them or any time you have time , i even sing to my chicks
 

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