Does Watching Chicks Help Them Get Used to Humans?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Razara, May 17, 2010.

  1. Razara

    Razara Hatching

    May 16, 2010
    I bought three Sultan chicks that are two weeks old from a chicken swap this past Saturday. I've grown obsessed with reading this lovely forum for the sake of my chick's health and well being. I am determined to get my chicks used to humans by holding them as often as possible. But because I'm somewhat of a germephobe, the amount of times a day I can hold the chicks is limited by how often I can change my clothes. I put paper towels on my lap, but they still tend to good to the bathroom on my pants instead.

    Though I only hold them once or twice a day, I do spend long periods of time watching them in front of their brood, since I find their behavior simply fascinating. They always see me watching them, and they watch me back. My question is, does seeing humans help them get used to humans?

    Also, about my mild germephobia, is washing your hands after handling chicks a matter of life or death, or am I just reeeaaally paranoid?
  2. CorralitosSunflower

    CorralitosSunflower Songster

    Jun 24, 2009
    I am not a germephobe and although I don't think it is life or death to wash everytime I think it is a good idea. Chicks are not as messy as say ducklings but they are bound to get stuff on them. I wouldn't worry so much about changing your clothes ect. (unless they have indeed pooped on you) but washing your hands before eating is a good idea [​IMG] Let your germephobia keep you healthy in this instance, but don't let it get in the way of bonding with your babies. Once they are older and roost instead of sleeping in their bedding washing after holding them shouldn't be such a big deal anymore, except of course right before eating. As for looking at them a lot, I do think it helps get them accustomed to people being around and close but it is not a replacement for holding. It will not teach them they are safe when being physically handled. If you want them to be easily catchable and super friendly as adults you do need to hold them often. Take into consideration the different temperments of breeds as well, some are more docile than others, this will also play a role in how they are as adults. [​IMG]
  3. Manda0227

    Manda0227 Songster

    Mar 30, 2010
    Its definitely not going to hurt. Im still fairly new to chickens, and I have one of my brooders set up so I can be around them as often as possible. I like to handle them as well, but sometimes I'll just sit and watch. I think it helps/helped. My girls that are outside on their own now come running over to me when I go in the coop! I noticed the chicks I have in a separate brooder instead of the one thats in more of a busy area- the chicks aren't as friendly, and a little more skittish. I wash my hands all the time (from habit at work), and I'm a super germaphobe when it comes to sickness's like colds/flu. I always wash my hands after handling the chicks. I think changing clothes every time could be such a pain. I've gotten Salmonella once- and it wasn't ever from handling animals (I've had animals for as long as I can remember). It was from a nasty chinese food restaurant! Just don't put your hands in your mouth, rub your eyes, or anything. You'll be fine!
  4. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    handling them is always the best way.
  5. Razara

    Razara Hatching

    May 16, 2010
    Like I said, I do handle my chicks. Hopefully there is no misconception about that. [​IMG]
  6. CorralitosSunflower

    CorralitosSunflower Songster

    Jun 24, 2009
    No misconceptions! I get exactly what you mean, you still hold them but it does get to be a chore with all the clean-up involved. A good trick I have found that has more interaction than just watching is when I do not want to have to wash my hands is giving treats! Feeding them treats in the palm of your hand really helps chicks view you as their best friend. Not the same as just putting it in the brooder but taking the time to have them eat out of your hands make it a pleasurable experience for them to have human hands reaching down towards them, which usually spooks other chickens. After feeding treats to my chicks only twice they started to come running anytime my hand went into the brooder, they still run to me when I come into the coop now, treats or not. I like to think it is because they actually love me [​IMG]
  7. 3chimama

    3chimama Songster

    May 8, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    I have held my chicks since bringing them home and have spent a lot of time with them just talking to them and I believe it has really paid off. This afternoon while sitting in a chair in the chicken house, all three 6 week olds hopped on my lap and ended up falling asleep while petting and talking to them. It was a very rewarding moment. And yes, I always wash my hands before and after handling them.
    Last edited: May 17, 2010
  8. elmo

    elmo Songster

    May 23, 2009
    It's highly unlikely that your chicks have any disease that can be transmitted to you. Wash your hands after handling them, and you should be fine.

    Instead of holding them in your lap, you could put your hands into the brooder to touch them there. Or spread an old bath towel on your lap and wash that after chick play time. That's what we used to do, only we put the towel down over our coffee table and sat on the floor next to it.

    Chicks are real poop machines because they're eating so much to fuel their rapid growth. Grown chickens don't poop as frequently (fortunately!).
  9. fastpat

    fastpat Songster

    I always wash my hands after handling the chicks, it's just good hygiene practice. Chicken manure carries some risk, not high, but like all fecal matter, it's not clean either.

    That said, some of my chicks like to come over to me every time I go into the brood room, some are very gregarious, others not so much. They all seem to like the diversion.
  10. 4 luv of eggs

    4 luv of eggs Songster

    Apr 22, 2010
    Westminster, MD
    I'm not a germaphobe but maybe you could have a smock, long lab coat or something similar that you can wear only when you're dealing with the chickens. They may associate it with you and come running when they see you in it. Maybe a raincoat that's easy to keep clean.

    Perhaps if you keep some antibacterial hand cleaner next to the brooder and use it right after you handle them. That way you wouldn't have to wash up right away and would be more inclined to hold them more often.

    Nobody in my household has gotten sick yet and we've all handled them quite a bit.

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