Handling Baby Chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by hensandchickscolorado, May 17, 2011.

  1. hensandchickscolorado

    hensandchickscolorado Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2011
    Englewood Colorado
    Soo, I'm the proud owner of 4 6-day old chicks. I'll admit, both my daughter and I have been a little skiddish when we pick them up for fear of hurting them (or maybe them pecking us, which I know doesn't hurt, but still!).

    We pick each of them up twice a day for a minute (okay, we really only hold them for about 20 seconds each) just so we get used to it and so do they.

    Needless to say, they are terrified when they see us coming in to pick them up. And we are terrified because we aren't sure how to do it right. One of them jumped out of my daughter's hands right back into the brooder--a good 2 feet!

    I'm sure it's normal for them to be scared. And maybe baby chicks shouldn't really be handled much? My question is--how much SHOULD we be holding them, letting them out to play, petting them, that sort of thing? We want them to be used to us and not be afraid--and we need to get over our fears as well, as I know they will get very big very fast!

    What's the protocol? We are thinking this might be easier when they are a bit bigger and we can give them treats...

  2. mcf3kids

    mcf3kids Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2011
    Such a great question - I am in the same boat as you. Ours are one week old and we started letting them sit on our chest and fall asleep on us yesterday. It was such fun! Today I did it again with the one that stayed on me the most yesterday and when I went near the brooder she just stood there looking at me - like "are you gonna let me sleep on you again??" It was so sweet and yes, she laid on me for about 20 minutes. I don't want them out of the 90 degree brooder to long but figure my body heat is 98.6 so she should be fine. My son who is 12 has been doing the same but they calm down better with me - he holds them a little bit rougher than I do I think. DH even had one sleeping on him [​IMG] Be prepared though - we have all been pooped on [​IMG] I can already tell the ones that are easier to hold. [​IMG] Good luck with yours!!
  3. ragerkid2

    ragerkid2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2011
    Johnstown Pa
    I had a bunch of light barhamas and I had one lay on my chest for about three hours out of the brooder..... I fell asleep. BUT SO DID HE!!! its not all my fault! haha jk he was fine.. Sadly he is a he and will be going to a new home = [
  4. fifenashia

    fifenashia Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2011
    Eastern Kentucky
    We brought our newest babies home tonight and the boys couldn't wait to get them out of the box and onto their chests. They all sat and watched tv for a good half hour, sleepy little chicklets and content little boys. We plan on letting them do this nightly, I figure everyone washes their hands before and after and keep them close and they should be fine. Plus it will acclimate them better to us so maybe they will be friendlier.

    If you are skittish, I would suggest cupping under their bums with one hand and using the other hand to cover their heads while holding them close to your chest. This helps them to feel secure, and by covering their eyes you reduce their fears. It's amazing when I have to work with my bigger girls on things that can be difficult (giving antibiotics for one who recently survived a dog attack) how much easier it is to do just by covering their heads/eyes.

    They can probably pick up on your anxiety too, so really try to relax. You can start by letting them climb onto your hands (sprinkle some crumbles on it!) and getting used to the feel of them, this way they wont fall and you all get acclimated.

    Hope some of this helps out!

    Good luck! [​IMG]
  5. Zaxby's2

    Zaxby's2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2011
    a place
    Sorry, I know this is an old thread but is there such thing as holding chicks too often. I read that you can both hurt them and that when they grow up they will be mean and try to get higher in the pecking order by picking a fight with you. Is this true?
  6. fifenashia

    fifenashia Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2011
    Eastern Kentucky
    I have not heard this, but am interested if anyone else has. I have heard temperament relies heavily on the breed as well. My experience (and it is limited sadly) is that with my first brood we held them daily and my Golden Comet was the friendliest hen as an adult. She would follow us around the yard, and come running when I got home from work every night.
  7. applesweets

    applesweets Out Of The Brooder

    May 20, 2011
    I have a 6 day old Polish chick and a 9 day old Silkie. We hatched the Polish and when the other eggs didn't make it, we got the Silkie from a local farm so that it wouldn't be alone. We handle our chicks a lot, but most of that time, they are just resting in our lap or on a towel/clean rag up against our bodies. They are quiet, calm and happy when doing this, but they do not seem to like it as much when being actually handled and picked up. The Silkie is fairly content no matter what, whether in the brooder or wondering around the house or in our laps, except when left all alone without the company of people or the other chick. Our Polish chick however, is very vocal about getting people time and does not like being left in the brooder. I am brand new to raising chicks, but my suggestion would be to definitely give them as much attention as possible without overwhelming them too much and I agree with what was said above about staying calm as they definitely pick up on your anxiety.
  8. stcroixusvi

    stcroixusvi Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2011
    Western NC
    My Coop
    We have several breeds and for us it is partially breed specific, partially temperment. The rhode island reds are the last to fly out of the brooder to greet us when we roll back the screen. The barred plymouth rocks are the first, all six. Sometimes they will hop on our arms as we are reaching in to pick up the shy RIRs. We have one polish who is very tame, and one who is skittish. The EEs are mixed as well, and tend to be a bit more assertive. We try to handle all of them several times a day so that they are tame. The barred rock in the photo hopped up on my daughter's arm as she was holding a polish chick.
  9. serenityNH

    serenityNH Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2011
    Raymond, NH
    We are holding and interacting with our chicks a lot (they are 8 days old) and I think they are enjoying it now. They love when I put food in my hand and now they associate us with good things. When we come in the room they all run over to the side to the brooder and jump up at us, I put my hand in and they fight to sit on it and crawl up my arms- I love it! There is nothing quite as sweet when they fall asleep on you [​IMG] I can't imagine that turning them mean!
  10. peterlund

    peterlund Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 29, 2010
    MA Cranberry Country
    Quote:My experience is about the same. Most birds could care less if you are there (except when bringing treats) but there are a few that will be your friends, and a few will always be horrified of your presence. I just pick them up if I want to or need to, and they will let me know when they want to be let go... Never show fear.

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