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Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mayas, Oct 13, 2013.
is it true that if you over handle baby chicks they can die?
Not necessarily. If you handle your chicks in a way that stresses them out, then they could die from it. Or if they get handled but don't get enough warmth, they can definitely die. However, handling chicks is a good idea if you plan on keeping them as pets. Or, if you'd like them to be easier to handle as they get older, handling them is a good idea.
Just make sure that before handling them, wash your hands with a good antibacterial soap and try not to handle other animals beforehand. You'll want to be nice and clean so as to not put any stress on their bodies by spreading bacteria. Chicks are especially susceptible to bacteria.
If chicks are handled too roughly, or dropped from a height or squeezed/hugged too tightly - yes they certainly can die. It's best to sit on the ground and let chicks come to you or climb on you out of curiosity. Young children should be supervised when handling chicks - some kids think throwing them up high will get them flying, or step on them accidentally. Gentle handling that isn't overdone goes a long way in taming them.
@lbejaran would i be able to tell if i was holding them too hard?
also how would you tell if they were stressed
Generally speaking, you don't want to actually grasp them in your fist. Letting them sit in your open palm tends to be enough to associate them with being held.
For example, if you're holding an egg in your hand, you don't squeeze it, right? No, you gently grasp it in your palm firmly enough so it won't fall, but relaxed enough that you don't crack the shell. The same could be said for your chicks. If you don't want them to hop away from your hand, grasp them very gently in your palm, only lightly allowing your fingers to keep them in place. Squeezing is not recommended.
You can tell your chicks are stressed when they are struggling to hop out of your hand or if they are running frantically in their brooder in an attempt to escape you and your hands. If this is happening, I'd recommend backing off for a bit. When they've calmed down, I'd come back with a palm full of food to encourage them to eat from your hand. Once they get used to that, then you can start picking them up and feeding them.
If you are holding a chick and it starts opening its beak as though it is panting, back away and let the chick calm down. The stress could be affecting it and the chick should be given a chance to relax. From my experience, though, food and repetition are the best motivators for getting your chicks used to being held.
We handle all our chicks to get them used to people.