I'm certainly not a veteran....had chickens since March of this year...but all of mine (2 adult silkies, one silkie chick and 25 BO chicks) all acted like they were being slaughtered when I'd pick them up. Now they follow me everywhere and a few fight for a spot on my lap while the others snuggle wherever they can. Just keep handling them, maybe bribe with treats once in a while. They'll come around. Some may be more snuggly than others, but that's just chickens. By the way...
Just picture yourself trapped in a box and a giant hovering over you. Then that giant stoops down, puts its large hand in the box and tries to grab you! YIKES! That would be scarey, wouldn't it?
So with that envisioned try going in, slowly sit down next to the box and slowly stick your hand in from the side. Don't come at them from the top. Go from the side. It would also help to stick your hand in with food in it. Once they figure out that your big / giant hand will usually have food in it, they will warm up to you in no time.
Unfortunately chicks/chickens aren't like a dog or cat. They normally do not like to be held, touched, petted, etc. Their are a few exceptions to that, but not very many. That doesn't mean not to pick them up though. You can get them a little more used to you by continually trying to pick them up and getting them used to you. They still may not like it very much, but hopefully with time will stop the screaming anyway. Treats/food as with any animal is a good way to win them over. Good luck!!
Well said. I move slowly when my hand is entering the brooder, then advance my hand slowly towards the chick, with the back of my hand skimming the bedding. This way they can see my hand approaching but they are looking down on it instead of feeling the shadow of it coming down from above. Once I am close, I am usually able to just slide my fingers between their legs, raise my hand up and cup the chick in the palm of my hand. I've found them to be mostly calm when I do this and not make too much fuss about being picked up.
I've handled all five of mine the same since day one (when they were about 3 days old). As others have said, coming in low with my hands (I used the hand coming in from the front to kind of distract, then scoop my other hand from the side...both low).
Two were friendly from the get-go, two avoided being handled at all costs (peeped like I was plucking feathers out), and one was okay, but didn't seem to enjoy it. Over the past three weeks, some have grown more docile/cuddly, while others who were more friendly at first have backed off a bit...role reversals.
Keep picking them up whether they like it or not so they'll get used to. I think it would help a lot to do as someone else suggested, give a treat in conjunction with picking each one up. Food is a great motivator for all species...
We play a little game with my chicks... when we put our hands in we tap our fingers on the side(like someone would do on a desk) they come and chase our hane.. we have one silkie baby that loves to chase our finger when we have it out