Gaining trust of 7 week old chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Want Less, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. Want Less

    Want Less Songster

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    Mar 24, 2010
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    Yesterday we brought home our long awaited Black Copper Marans pair. They are 7 weeks old and pretty much feathered out. I don't think they've had much handling and we are trying to figure out the best way to gain their trust so they will be more social with us and easier to handle. All of our now adult chickens were obtained as one day olds, so they "grew up" attached to us and used to being handled a lot. And even though they can get in a mood of not wanting to be caught occasionally (don't you love that game??? [​IMG] ), it is nothing compared to these Marans chicks. These two babies try to frantically climb the walls of their pen to get away from you, flapping hysterically. Once you catch them and hold them against you, they submit and quiet down.

    Their pen is big enough for me to sit in with plenty of room left for them to not worry about me. My first thought is to find some treats (yogurt, oatmeal, ect) and see if I can figure out what they like and go silly over, and then try offering it to them closer and closer to me until I can maybe get them to accept it from my hand. I know it will take time, but our chickens are pets so being social is very important in the long run.

    I'm wondering if any of you have any other ideas or tips and tricks for gaining the trust of chicks this old?

    My husband says that the reason they are scared is because they are French and they don't speak English. [​IMG]

    And of course, I have to show off my babies.... Jacques and Giselle. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    (edited to fix pic link)
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011
  2. Higins00

    Higins00 Songster

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    You doing everything right. Eventually they will get used to you. I would sing when ever around them too so they get used to your voice. Sit in the pen on a crate.
     
  3. Stacykins

    Stacykins Crowing

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    Quiet talking and singing plus treats will go a long way in order to gain their trust and friendship!
     
  4. elmo

    elmo Crowing

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    I'd get a small tub of mealworms and sit in the pen with them every day, tossing a few mealworms to them at first, holding them out in your hand later on. Shouldn't take long to get them to associate you with something really yummy. They may never get to the point of sitting in your lap without the lure of treats, but who knows? It's possible.

    By the way, you don't have them mixed in with your adult birds yet, do you?
     
  5. Want Less

    Want Less Songster

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    Quote:No, they are by themselves in a tractor-size pen with a heat lamp in the henhouse. It was a coop built for a few bantams, and the owners sold it to us cheap when they got rid of their birds. Its the perfect size for youngsters. I lined the sides with shade fabric so that they couldnt hurt themselves on the wire sides, but they are close to the pen with the adult chickens so they can see and talk to each other. We plan to keep them in there until they are big enough to start safely introducing to the flock.
     
  6. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

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    A couple of tips that could help:
    Make mamma hen sounds.
    Trill at them (coo purr chicks make when happy) This always calms my Silkies down when they a in their fussy moods.
    Pick them up and hold till they calm down. Place one hand under their feet for support , release the hold and let them decide to jump away or not. Eventually they will understand you are not trying to hurt them.

    And a hold technique I picked up from the Poultry mag from UK, slide your hand palm up under the chick with 1 or 2 fingers between the legs and your outer fingers on the outside of the legs. Balance the chick in the cup of your hand. When balnced well the chick will sit quietly in your hand. (a few of mine even coo when held this way). It may take many tries but this is a neat technique to know. It allows you to hold the chick in a more stress free way thst allows you to check them over with the other hand. You can carry them with their butt away from you so you don't get pooped on.

    Ofcourse once tamed they probably will just want to ride around on your shoulders. [​IMG]
     
  7. Want Less

    Want Less Songster

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    Mar 24, 2010
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    Quote:Interesting technique, thanks for the tip!
     
  8. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

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    Your welcome. I am glad I found that tip from the mag. Chicks associate anything grabbing them as a predator. The handling tech were you pick them up from sliding your hand under them is not a predator type move so it is less stressful.
    Ofcourse it does take some practice, but is worth learning.
     
  9. Want Less

    Want Less Songster

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    Quote:It makes a lot of sense. The adult birds we tend to scoop up from the sides so that we have their wings down (Ive been slapped in the face with wings enough to know I dont wanna feel that again... lol) but with the younger chicks I guess we naturally tend to grab them from the top without thinking much of it. Thanks for sharing that, definitely something to keep in mind. I'll use that once I'm able to get them to come close to me. (they avoid any contact what so ever right now)
     
  10. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

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    A bit of patience and you will have them tame and spoiled before ya know it. [​IMG]
     

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