Handling baby chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by AnimalFriend<3, Mar 3, 2011.

  1. AnimalFriend<3

    AnimalFriend<3 In the Brooder

    Jan 21, 2011
    I just got new chicks that are now 8 days old. I want them to be use to human handling but is it too early to get them out and start becoming friends? If not what is the best way to go about this? Also when can chicks start eating treats such as grapes?
    Thank you!
  2. Louise's Country Closet

    Louise's Country Closet Songster

    Feb 5, 2010
    Garrison, MN
    I can't answer about the treats, because I usually wait until they're not even under the heat lamp anymore - but as for handling, they can be played with at any time so long as they don't get too cold! I play with our babies all the time, they're so cute and fluffy it's almost impossible NOT to!
  3. wbruder17

    wbruder17 Songster

    Jun 7, 2010
    Portland, OR
    From what I've heard, you should wait 2 weeks before handling them. I start mine on scrambled eggs. They love the, and they're nutritious as well....I don't think its cannibalistic, tho some do.

    I put a bunch of eggs on my hand and wait for them to eat off my hand while I talk to them in the voice I use to call my older hens. "Here chickie chickie....what's this?" Over and over til they chirp at my arriva.l I've found that chickens that like to be held will come to you when they are ready. The treats help to get them to come to you, but if a hen doesn't like to be held, she wont no matter what.

    My favorite hen, a black austrolorpe, was held CONSTANTLY as a chickie and HATED to be picked up as an adult, tho she is the first to come running when I call.

    My EE, HATED to be held as a chickie, chirped and struggled etc. Now she jumps onto the perch and begs to be held. Will sit still in my lap for HOURS to be petted.

    There's just no rhyme or reason to who is going to be friendly....but treats help NO MATTER WHAT.
  4. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Crowing

    Feb 22, 2007
    Morganton, NC
    I start playing with brooder chicks from day one. Sometimes I have just sat with one or two snuggled under my hand and watch them sleep. Most calming experience I have ever known. Other times I just let them walk around on me. When they get a little cool they always go up and snuggle against my neck.

    I start treats of mealworms at 5-6 weeks old. The two 8 week old bantams that are currently in my living room will jump out of the brooder when the top is off, run to the couch, and jump up on whoever is there to see if they have a mealworm.

  5. weazel922

    weazel922 In the Brooder

    Feb 17, 2011
    Topeka, KS
    I've been researching this same question, and one thread said to make sure you're giving them grit if you start giving them treats.

    When are they old enough for grit?
  6. wbruder17

    wbruder17 Songster

    Jun 7, 2010
    Portland, OR
    My (several) feed stores say to add teeny pinches of small grit right away. I also don't necessarily think scrambled eggs are a" treat". Moreso a continuation of the growing experience. Something along the lines of breast milk for babies.
  7. fargosmom

    fargosmom Songster

    Dec 27, 2008
    Pasadena, CA
    The more you handle them (without wearing them out!) the more they get used to being handled and stop being freaked out by it. And starting early just gets the process rolling sooner. Some will never enjoy it, while others will demand it, but it at least shouldn't be a shock to them if you do need to pick them up.
  8. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I would at least be laying my hand down in there with a little food now. I see no reason not to handle them. If a broody were raising them they'd be eating dirt....

    A little sand will do for grit at that age if you don't happen to have a bag of grit. I usually give them the fine stuff at the bottom of the bag.

    I don't see a problem with treats when they're young, if you can keep the quantities small enough, so they don't fill up on them and miss out on needed nutrition. I find that a little hard to do when they're so small.

    Have fun with your chickies!
  9. weazel922

    weazel922 In the Brooder

    Feb 17, 2011
    Topeka, KS
    Quote:This has been working great for me so far. I just put a little food in my hand and lay it there. I'm letting them come to me for the time being and get use to my hand. Rather than chasing them around the brooder trying to catch them, which obviously startles them a bit.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2011
  10. wbruder17

    wbruder17 Songster

    Jun 7, 2010
    Portland, OR
    Like I said, scrambled eggs work great and don't take away any nutrients they need. The eggs actually provide a great amount of protein and digest easily. Plus, they LOVE them, which makes for a great training tool.

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