Encouraging Chicks to Let Me Hold Them

MrsWeasley

In the Brooder
7 Years
Dec 26, 2012
26
0
32
Any tips? They run away and if I do pick one up, it tries to fly away. They are almost two weeks old.
 

Bill Matthews

Songster
6 Years
Apr 3, 2013
334
44
100
Mrs Weasley: It's probably a breed issue. Some won't allow you to hold them. Or a strain issue within the breed. The lighter breeds are more difficult to make pets. Heavier ones like the Brahmas are usually a snap. I have no practical advice. Check with a kid who has chickens; he/she will know what to do. The wisdom of their answers may surprise you.
 

tymimo

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 15, 2013
95
9
43
Seattle, WA
My Coop
My Coop
I'm new to this but followed the steps outlined in the Learning center article about socializing chicks. We have 4 three week old chicks, all different breeds (Buff Orp, Welsummer, Barred Rock & red Sex Link) and they all tolerate me picking them, putting them on my lap and gently stroking their backs and necks. From about the third day on I was interacting with them several times a day and bribing with treats. I handle them at least twice a day. When in my lap I usually put a little feed in my hand and let them peck at it. Two are much more likely to just settle down on my lap and let me pet them while the other two will fly away as soon as the treats are gone. Good luck.
 

MrsWeasley

In the Brooder
7 Years
Dec 26, 2012
26
0
32
What kind of treats are you using? They have seemed to prefer their food over anything I've tried.
 

tymimo

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 15, 2013
95
9
43
Seattle, WA
My Coop
My Coop
I know this sounds sadistic, but they like the yolk of hard boiled eggs (my two boys only like the whites). Grapes cut in half, meal worms, worms and apples just to name a few. Often the first time I've offered something they are tentative but they soon figure it out. With the apples the first time I broke off very small pieces and let them peck it from the palm of my hand but now they'll just start pecking at slices. Corn has been on sale so I've been giving them corn cobs. My boys don't do a very good job of eating all the corn off the cob so there is plenty for the chickens to eat. Even just putting a little feed in you hand is fine I think just so they start associating you with food and getting used to your being close to them.
 

chicksak

Chirping
6 Years
Apr 25, 2013
169
3
83
Wasilla, AK
At what age can you start giving them treats? Mine are 4 1/2 week old buff orphingtons and have tried spinach, lettuce, yogurt and scratch all within the last few days and they wont take any of it. I gave some egg this morning and seemed to love it. However, if I put chick grit in my hand they come running over.

From the day they came home, I would but my hand in the brooder and let them peck it. It took a couple days but eventuallly they were walking up onto my hand and pecking at the hairs on my arms. From there I could slowly lift my arm and raise them closer to me till they were letting my put them on my lap willingly or holding them close to my chest.

Recently we have had a tramatic event with the chicks and one got hurt. Now I find that I am having to start all over again as they are very skidish.
 

MrsWeasley

In the Brooder
7 Years
Dec 26, 2012
26
0
32
They do eat feed out of my hand, but they remain skittish when I approach and if I move my hand at all, they will run. I'm hoping if I find a treat they love, they might get less skittish. I always have food available in the brooder, so I'm not sure the feed is strong enough motivator.
 

DuluthHomestead

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 15, 2013
50
10
33
northern Minnesota
I have feed available in the brooder 24/7 and my chicks will still coming running if I offer some chick feed in my hand. Sand, too--I can literally scoop sand up from the brooder floor and hold it out and they'll peck away. I guess it tastes better if it's a "treat."
 

Sqwidy

Songster
6 Years
Dec 13, 2014
96
21
126
Austin, TX
I have feed available in the brooder 24/7 and my chicks will still coming running if I offer some chick feed in my hand.  Sand, too--I can literally scoop sand up from the brooder floor and hold it out and they'll peck away.  I guess it tastes better if it's a "treat."


I noticed the same thing! I give them "treats" of just the chick food.... but they run over to eat it out of my hand. I have a maran, dominique, legbar, welsummer, and an olive egger. The wellie is by far the friendliest with people.
 
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