Do you train your chicks?


In the Brooder
8 Years
Mar 5, 2011
Just wondering how typical it is here for people here train their chicks, and what proportion of them. Do you train your chicks, and if so, what do you get them to do?

I have four six-week old chicks that have been keeping me busy for a couple of hours every night on various lessons (for example, early socializing; tongue click = yogurt; getting used to being grabbed; used to being picked up; used to being held / moved around; having their bums checked; up next is potty training). I am thinking with future batches I might just train the naturals!

Since training takes a long time, I'm curious - do others here do all of the above (other than potty training)? If so, do you train all of your chicks or just the most sociable ones? Also, if you don't train, is the bird unmanageable down the road?

Welcome to BackYard Chickens bird_brain_scientist

Haha, if you can potty train a chick, you are definatly amazing.

I've never tried. Seems impossible, but I guess theres always a first.
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Not sure id call it "training", but I hold/pet my chicks 1-3 times daily, each for about 5 minutes. (less if they seem cold or the ones still in the brooder get too upset that ive abducted their friend. Lol). They still all hate having their butts checked- so ive started just watching them long enough to see that each one poops figuring that if theyre pooping, theyre not pasty.

My RIR is my favorite of the four so far, very snuggly and sociable and doesnt get scared when i put my hand in the brooder. (does freak out when hubby or daughter are near tho so i take that as meaning shes bonded to me but still wary of unknown humans/animals- a very good thing imho) i hold her for longer just because she seems to like it.

Never thought of potty training them and i cant say that i have any desire to-- already trying to train my daughter so taking on four more training jobs seems a bit overwhelming.

I do make a tongue click sound when i want them to come to me, shhhh-ing them if theyre scared, and make a sharp louder tongue click when they try to eat something they shouldnt (bits of bedding).

Interested to see what others do.
I have one that I didn't train but follows me around like a puppy. It is one of two what I call my Heinz Birds. I think there was a bird party and some hanky panky going on and when the eggs fell I put them in the 'bater. There were 5 all together and two didn't seem to match anything. The one I am talking about is the kinda white one in my avatar. This little guy ran out through the gate one day when I opened it and I thought "here goes, chasing a chicken". I closed the gate, turned around and he was standing there looking at me. Instead of trying to grab him I just ignored him. I was outside and my bro was cleaning his shotgun so I figured nothing would get the little guy that Alan couldn't take care of. The little guy followed me around as I worked on coops all day. When it came to dusk I looked over and he was standing by the gate to get in. From that day I let him out in the morning and he follows me around when I am working on the farm. When it is lunch time I share what I have with him. I am not sure this is training but I work with him on little things every day like where he can stand on the tractor without getting hurt or where he can or cannot go. Training? I guess, more or less. It is just being patient and taking the time to not only look, but also to SEE.
CatDaddy, that's hilarious - a bird who thinks she's a puppy. I guess either one can be man's best friend.

Outside of the hand training program, I've been rewarding mine with treats for any behavior I want to encourage. The EE has gotten into the habit of flapping up onto my shoulder, and I think that's cute, so she gets a dab of yogurt every time.

Noobchick, mine screamed and ran when I checked their butts, too! Actually, they screamed when I picked them up period, so I didn't do it often until they were comfortable with eating treats from my hand and being levitated while standing on it. I still wonder whether it would have been better to just grab them and put up with their loud peeping as they got over it.
Scientist- I guess Im a big meanie (or maybe just proving Im a mother to a toddler?) but I just picked them up anyway when they protested. Ive had them a week-- The RIR doesnt even run from me and chirps now when I pick her up, the Welsummer and one of the Ameracaunas protest a little but settle down once they realize its just me and that theyre safe. The other Ameracauna still screams bloody murder and runs like hell to try to get away.

Silly bird-- she should know by now that Mama will always win that contest.
My Ameraucanas do the same thing! Bloody Murder!! But they do love the treats I bring the and peck at them ferociously. They are also the first to fly up out of the brooder when I lift the cover. Crazy birds.
I'm currently making a point of holding each one of my chicks every day, as they also hate being picked up. They think I'm gonna eat them! They don't have a problem with perching on my hand and being lifted up, though.

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