Clueless with 7 Orpington chicks

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by BabiesNChicks, Dec 1, 2014.

  1. BabiesNChicks

    BabiesNChicks Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 1, 2014
    NSW Australia
    Hi everyone, I am new here, new to owning chickens!

    I have 7 Orpington chicks. They are 3 days old, in our home made brooder. They seem to be pretty healthy... But they are terrified of people! I got them yesterday afternoon from a breeder so maybe that is it? We try to handle them and talk to them but maybe I'm doing it all wrong... Will they warm up to me??

    I really don't want them to be a scared of me! Could I be handling them wrong?

    Also the smallest one seems to be picking on the others a bit... Should I leave it? It hasn't hurt anyone but just seems the least friendly. It is trying to go up in the pecking order or something?

    Any help or advice is really appreciated!! :)
  2. Michael OShay

    Michael OShay Chicken Obsessed

    May 14, 2014
    Welcome to BYC. Glad you decided to join our flock. Buff Orpingtons are a very friendly and gentle breed which can be readily tamed. My children, and now my granddaughter (pictured in my avatar) made lap pets of ours. The way to a chick's heart is through its stomach. Give them a healthy treat such as meal worms or oats, and spread a few on a paper towel or wooden board laid on the brooder floor until they begin to readily recognize the treats when you put them in. At the same time, also put treats in your hand, and the bravest chick will likely come over and take the treats right from your hand. Eventually even the shiest chick will follow their sisters' leads. Finally, stop putting the board in at all, and just use your hand to distribute the treats. You will find at some point that the chicks will even begin standing on your hand while they eat, just as before they were standing on the treat-covered paper towel or board. So long as your chicks stay warm and do not get stressed, gently handling them often will not hurt them, and will help to make them more tame when they get older. Be sure to provide grit to the baby chicks when you feed them treats, so they will be able to digest them properly. (Chick starter is finely milled enough that no additional grit is needed when that is their sole diet). Make sure, too, that the bulk of your chicks' diet comes from their starter, and that they are not getting so many treats that it upsets their nutritional balance. Please feel free to ask any other questions you might have. We are here to help in any way we can. Good luck with your chicks.
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
  4. BabiesNChicks

    BabiesNChicks Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 1, 2014
    NSW Australia
    Thank you! I did give them a cooked egg yolk yesterday which they went bananas over (they hadn't eaten or drank anything for several hours by that point and I was a bit stressed as they were avoiding the chick starter) so is that a good treat food? I don't have worms on hand. They did start eating the chick starter a little after that. How do I give the grit? In a separate bowl? Can I just give them a few rolled oats? I have that!

    That was really helpful thanks! Any other tips?
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Congrats on your new babies! Sometimes chicks pick on each other because something is wrong...either they are hungry, thirsty, too hot, cramped in, bored, ect...So you might start by lowering your heat. I recently raised a batch of Barred Rocks and had to start the temp at 88 degrees to keep them from picking on each other. Give them things to do in the brooder. Some small branches from a tree outside to climb on work really well. You can work them up to thicker branches as time goes on. This also helps with teaching them to roost as well.

    Things to do...


    I put alfalfa leaves in this box, some chick starter and some parakeet grit. You can also put in dried leaves from outside and even dirt to scratch around in. When they burn off calories, they have less energy to pick on each other.

    Get them out on the living room floor every day. (lay an old sheet down to catch the poop!) This will do a couple will let them warm up to you. Instead of being scared of you, they will run to you for safety. It will take a few days before they get off your lap. This will also burn off energy and give them a little field trip. Chicks are naturally scared of you and everything. But as they learn to trust you that you mean them no harm, they will warm up to you. They will not like to be held at all, but keep handling them. Do it safely over the brooder or close to the floor so they don't fall too far if they squirm out of your hands.

    If the temp outside is 50 degrees and sunny, no wind, get them outside as well. Put them in a small enclosure and go sit with them. Again, they will seek your comfort and this helps them to bond to you...
    So give them time and all the lovin'. By the time they are ready to go out to the coop, they will be so close to you, you will never get them off of you! Lower your temp a bit in your brooder to chill them out and work down the heat from there. And put a box in the brooder and maybe some branches. Things to do.

    Good luck with your babies and welcome to our flock!
  6. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
  7. BabiesNChicks

    BabiesNChicks Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 1, 2014
    NSW Australia
    Thank you
    thank you so much! I will go get a little branch now :)
  8. Toddrick

    Toddrick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2014
    I scooped them up and laid them on my lap with some food to peck at. Then when they settle down gently cupped my hands over their back. At that age, the warmth from my hands would put them to sleep almost instantly. They seemed to like me to hold them just so they could snuggle up for a warm nap.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2014
  9. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

    Apr 23, 2014
    At our lodge
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    X2 on Two Crows.

    Oats are great to feed. You only need to provide grit if they are eating anything besides chick starter. Yes, it does need to be in a separate dish.

    Here is a great link that Two Crows and I have written on taming little chicks.

    Good luck!
    1 person likes this.
  10. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 24, 2013
    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]We're glad to have you.

    Good luck with your chicks! You've received some excellent advice already!

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