Handling baby chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jmtcmkb, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. jmtcmkb

    jmtcmkb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 2, 2011
    New Hampshire
    My chicks are almost 2 weeks. We moved them out of the plastic bin type brooder the other day as it was becoming a challenge every time I opened the cover they were flying out. So now they are in a larger brooder and very happy campers, they can run, fly and jump to their hearts content [​IMG]

    My question is at first I would hold them every day and they were content to just sit in my hand. This week they are more anxious and wiggle quite a bit. I notice many people take pictures of young chickens on their lap etc. I have yet to let them "free" when I remove them from the cage for fear they would fly off my lap and get into a bad situation. In your experience how do you handle young chicks on your lap, is thier behavour or instinct to sit or fly off etc? I just dont want them to get hurt, but also want to be able to handle them right off from the start so they are used to it and will be easily handled as they get older.
  2. motochick

    motochick Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 24, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    Can you sit in large dog type pen and let them approach you? Or in another small closed area like a run or a bathroom even? I'd like to learn more about handling at that age too. [​IMG]

    But mine are only 2 days old right now. Hoping for friendly chickens too. [​IMG]
  3. jmtcmkb

    jmtcmkb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 2, 2011
    New Hampshire
    Quote:oh I like the bathroom idea, that would work!
  4. CupOJoe42

    CupOJoe42 CT Chicken Whisperer

    Apr 11, 2011
    Duct Tape - now 1,000,001 uses.

    Just kidding. I have rarely gotten a decent picture of my chickens because the darn things just don't hold still! And forget about it when the flash goes off - I would have to peel them off the ceiling! I lay a tarp down on the family room floor and let 2-3 chickens run around on it at a time. Sometimes it helps to have a "snack" on the tarp to keep their interest. I'm still afraid to let them free in the backyard (even tho it is fenced in.) I know they can fly and I don't know if I would be able to catch them if they took off on me. I can't wait until my chicken coop and run are finished being built!

    They are in the brooder in my basement and have been known to fly up onto the edge for attention when I open the top. Sometimes they just keep going and fly off somewhere in the basement. Then it gets tough trying to catch them. One even flew into the slop sink the other day... maybe she wanted a bath after her yogurt snack/shower. (If you've ever given them yogurt, you'll know what I mean!)

    I have a friend who uses a pool net to catch her chickens... others use a broom or a pole to "corral" them. I would advise you to just keep handling them. Speak softly to them, offer a treat, pet them, get them used to being calm in your arms when you pick them up. This way if you have to inspect them for parasites or medicate them, it will go much easier.
  5. OldChurchEggery1

    OldChurchEggery1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 27, 2011
    I've noticed that my birds go through a restless, exciteable period from about age 2 weeks to 10 weeks. Their feathers start coming in and they want to use them! After that time, they warm back up to being handled. One thing you can do is practice cage training. This is what you would do if you wanted to exhibit your birds. If you do a search for it, there are plenty of 4H websites with info on how to set up the cage and properly handle the bird to get it accustomed to being appraised by a judge. I find it's just as well to let mine go buck wild until they're past the flighty stage so that their rapidly growing bones and muscles don't get injured from a handling accident.
  6. Dudu

    Dudu Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 20, 2011
    ─Žal Luqa, Malta
    I am new to chickens but we took 4 one day old babies from our farm (their mommy had chicken pox at the time of their hatching) inside the house this summer and they grew up in a box. I specifically avoided handling them too much not to fall in love as my partner and I had agreed that they'd go back to the farm when they grow up.

    Growing up, they were not particularly attached to me. Not panicking from my hands etc, but trying to escape still, etc.

    When we moved them into a large cage at the farm, they're my absolute BEST buddies. They jump off the perch when they see me, they come to the side of the crate to talk to me, look me in the face and nibble on my fingers. I can hug all of them at once and they love it (and I LOVE them!) Go figure, as I never really handled them a lot.
  7. Rosaleen

    Rosaleen Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 18, 2011
    Danville, Vermont
    I set up a small low perch (about 2 inches off the floor of the brooder)and let them start hopping onto the perch. Pretty soon they will start sleeping on the perch. You will also be able to put your hand in with finger extended and they will eventually hop onto your finger; move slowly along the floor of the brooder as they may jump off with movement. A little bit every day...don't raise your hand too high just in case they do jump off, you don't want them to get hurt if they do jump off. After a few weeks it will be second nature to them. When they're older, they won't be afraid to 'visit' with you.
  8. jmtcmkb

    jmtcmkb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 2, 2011
    New Hampshire
    Quote:Aww how cute, thats' wonderful. Mine do the same at the sides of the brooder, so I know they are friendly, they are just so jumpy when I hold them.
  9. jmtcmkb

    jmtcmkb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 2, 2011
    New Hampshire
    Quote:Ok I did set up a small perch and they love it. This brooder is 2 ft tall and the opening is at the top, all clear on sides and top, but they panic in excitememtn if I open the top, flyig and running, dont know if it's fear or excitement. All I know is they come running and peek and peck at me in a friendly way when I come and sit by the side of the brooder.
  10. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2010
    Frederick, MD
    You will also be able to put your hand in with finger extended and they will eventually hop onto your finger; move slowly along the floor of the brooder as they may jump off with movement.

    They started doing that after I hand fed a couple of times. The boldest Dominique perched on my arm and wouldn't hop off when I wanted to get my arm back. I had to lift her off my arm a couple of times to be able to take my arm out of the brooder. Now she has decided she wants to explore what is outside the brooder so every time I open the door, she stands there ready to jump out -- there's a 3 ft drop to the floor, I've been able to prevent it from happening most times but today she just jumped past my hand. Oh well, no damage done and I put her back right away.

    They are so ready to get out of the brooder, I will build a ramp for them this weekend so that they can have the run of the coop.

    I have also installed 2 drinking nipples in a 1/2 gallon jug hung from the wall of the brooder. They had that one figured out in 10 seconds, and were happily drinking from it soon after. That will cut down on cleaning and feeding time significantly.​
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2011

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