Hand-raising baby chicks. Taming question?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kajira, Aug 12, 2016.

  1. kajira

    kajira Overrun With Chickens

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    Ours will be officially "2" weeks old on wed. We left them alone the first 24-48 hours, and after that I check on them 3x a day. at least 2x a day, they come out of the bin now and can run around. I've googled "taming chick" stuff, and followed some of the recommended things, like reaching from the side, holding them under your chin or setting them inbetween your boobs in your shirt. (they weren't a fan.)

    Anyways.... 2 out of the 8 panic if I try to hold them on their back. The other 6 let me, and 3-4 of them actually seemed to fall asleep when I was holding them in my hand upside down.

    Is that a good sign they are comfortable with us? I'm still learning to speak baby chickens, I've only ever had adults before.

    We sit with them and they'll hop all over our arms, legs and hang out, although they still seem to like to huddle together, and will knock each other around a lot. I can already tell my litttle Astrid thinks she's going to be the alpha hen - she knocks everyone else off what they are sitting/standing on. LOL

    Anyways - any recomendations over the next 2-3 weeks on making them friendlier/happier with us? (this will help our next batch that arrives in 2 weeks too.)

    We put their feed in our hands and while they'll peck at it, Hershey, the all chocolate colored hen sits on my leg so she can attack my freckles.... I'm pastey white redhead naturally, so I have LOTS of freckles.. and she's really determined to pick me clean. :p It doesn't hurt now - but I don't want her doing it when she's full grown. Any tips to teaching "manners" while your taming them too?
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Spring Dreaming Premium Member

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    I wouldn't recommend turning them on their backs, they can actually suffocate if held that way too long. It's unnatural. Is there a reason you are doing it?

    Best is to stay consistent and gentle. Chicks have an instinctual fear of being grabbed, and need to run at any sign of predators. So you are working against their instincts. What often happens is you don't immediately get tame chicks, but all that handling sets them up to be unafraid after they reach sexual maturity and than they aren't as fearful, and often become quite friendly.

    I personally don't like hand feeding as it sets you up for some dominance problems later. Mother hens will feed by mouth for a few weeks and than will stop and just call chicks over, so I prefer to scatter treats to avoid pecking order issues later on, just like a mom hen.
     
  3. kajira

    kajira Overrun With Chickens

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    Only reason I turned them over was to look to see underneath. I was just familiarising myself with what every inch of their bodies looked like. I'm obsessive about noticing details. If they were to start having issues, I want to know what they look like when they are healthy, front/back :p

    the other ones I had, were hand fed and we haven't had any issues with a pecking order or attacking and they all eat from our hands. (We didn't hand raise our first batch, a friend of the family did.)

    If chickens can suffocate by laying on their backs, why do some chickens/roosters sleep on their backs when cuddling with people?

    (Cackle hatchery sent me a picture of a rooster, cuddling with an owner in a hammock on it's back with it's feet straight up in the air.) LOL
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
  4. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls Please read more Premium Member Project Manager

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    This is my 4th batch of "new born" chicks in 4 months.

    We (Me and the kids 6, 11, 13) handle the chicks as such as possible from the second we take them out of the box.
    Mine newest were just hatched on the 10th.

    What breeds do you have?

    I've noticed that MY EE's don't like to be handled so much when the start getting older...a few weeks old.
    Usually my chicks less than 5 days old will keep still and fall asleep in the boob crack but not so much after 5 days.

    Just "play" with them as much as possible...
    I think.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2016
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  5. kajira

    kajira Overrun With Chickens

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    This batch is all EE - I have 3 cochins, 3 polish crested, and 3 sexlinked and 2 silkies coming next. Our silkies are going to be my daughters house chickens that live in her room for her 4h project. so if the other chickens end up not liking to be glommed onto a lot, we'll survive as long as they don't run from us or attack us. LOL

    My 2 year old LOVES to hug chickens, but these little guys are too small for him right now. He likes to hug our big RIR hen.
     
  6. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls Please read more Premium Member Project Manager

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    My older two girls are into sports...no time for 4 H but I can not wait till my baby is old enough..2 more years!
    Does that mean I will finally be allowed to have house chickens too?

    Im gonna tell my DH that it will be required to keep them clean!
    Thank you for the great idea!

    I haven't ever had any of the chickens you will be getting next so I have no idea how they will like being handed.
    I really don't so much think it's the breed...I think the more you work with/handle them the more they will get used to it.

    Good Luck!
    I can't wait to see your daughter's house birds! How exciting!
     
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  7. kajira

    kajira Overrun With Chickens

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    Apparently, chickens are also meant to be hats.
     
  8. kajira

    kajira Overrun With Chickens

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    they get handled A LOT around here... that's why they need to like us. The kids will hug them and carry them around and hand-feed them. I don't want to have to beat any mean chickens off with a broom :p
     
  9. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls Please read more Premium Member Project Manager

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    Yes! They are all adorable pics!
    That white hair is precious!
     

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