Creating bad habits?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Rwood5093, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. Rwood5093

    Rwood5093 Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 30, 2016
    Jamestown, SC
    My chick's are 4 weeks old. They've been brooder in their outdoor coop using a modified MHP.

    Like everyone else, I enjoy spending time with them and want them to be social. They run to the door when I get home and it's fun to hang out with them. They're slightly nuts, they eat out of my hand, climb all over me, sit on my back, perch on my head and try to eat my hair, my socks, my ring, freckles, etc. It's all fun and games now that they're small, but it probably will not be when they're 9-12 lbs fully grown. am I encouraging bad habits letting them do these things? I want them to be social, of course, but this stuff will not be as fun when they're bigger.

    I've pretty much only ever had one pet in my 45 years, so all I know is dog training. I don't want my chick's to grow up, and then have to figure out how to retrain them.

    Am I overthinking?
  2. SIMZ

    SIMZ Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 29, 2011
    Northwest Indiana
    I wouldn't worry about starting bad habits! Enjoy it! If it ever becomes not fun, it will be pretty easy to discourage. Many of them will probably grow out of that behavior on their own as they mature, especially if you have a rooster.
  3. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Chickens aren't dogs. They aren't nearly as complex as dogs are. Chickens operate far more on instinct than dogs. Compared to chickens, dogs are deep thinkers and masters of understanding and manipulating their humans.

    You're dealing with animals that are worlds apart.

    Chicks are fun because they are so focused on exploring their new world, and you are just an extension of the world they are focused on exploring.

    Things abruptly change when chicks reach the age of maturity and then hormones dictate most of their behavior. That's not to say that some chickens can't have strong bonds with their humans, but that bond doesn't rule their world like it does dogs.

    Don't worry. You aren't "spoiling" your chicks. How you relate to them while they are babies will not come back to bite you later. Just be prepared to back off a bit when they come into their hormones. They will let you know by suddenly acting either a little bit stand-offish or extremely stand-offish. This is especially true of cockerels. It's very important you respect their need to be independent or risk behavior problems if you insist on crowding them and trying to bend their will to your preconceptions.

    Basically, enjoy your chicks now, but be prepared to let them go their own way when they mature.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
  4. Louise Waffles

    Louise Waffles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 1, 2017
    It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye! Seriously. I've been pecked in the eye and it's excruciating. After that, I learned to watch out when they sat on my shoulder. But yes, have fun and enjoy them being so social. They do kind of grow out of it.
    I can't remember who wrote the book or what it was called, but training chickens and dogs is supposedly kind of similar. Maybe Sophia Yin?
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Fine and good to handle them a lot when they are young,
    but I draw the line when they jump on my head or shoulders....
    ....that, IMO, is a 'bad habit'.

    Keep them where you want them now.

    The warning about eyes is well warranted.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by