Handling chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cvido47, Jun 3, 2016.

  1. cvido47

    cvido47 New Egg

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    So I'm really new to chickens. I've had my first flock for just over 3 months now. I was told in the very beginning by multiple people to not hold the chick's. I never did, but now i can't get close enough to get them without them freaking out. Any suggestions?
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    [​IMG] If you need to examine them, catch them at night when they are roosting. Some breeds are more flighty than others, but in general chickens as a prey species don't like being caught.
     
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  3. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    They are flighty till they come into lay. Then they will calm down.
    Chickens depending on the bird might like a petting ?? Usually they love us from a distance or come running for food.
    If I have to handle one its quick and I do what was needed and let them go.
     
  4. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with everything posted above! My experience is that some breeds are friendlier than others. Some are even bossy when it comes to treats and food, like Rhode Island Reds. My friendliest breed has been my standard sized Cochin hens. When they came to the point of lay, they would literally crawl in my lap or pick at my shirt and pants while I was sitting and watching them. They will get a bit friendlier, especially when they associate you with food (treats).
     
  5. cvido47

    cvido47 New Egg

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    My reds are the biggest babies in the group. When snack time comes around, the barred rocks and brahmas are bossy. They will all come up to me at snack time, and even eat out of my hand. But the second i move, they bolt. Is it true that you're not supposed to handle them as chick's?
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    No, not true, in my opinion.

    If handled a lot as chicks they may be less skittish about being handled as adults,
    but that doesn't mean they are going to let you pick them up just any old time you want.

    If you want cuddly birds you have to spend a lot of time handling them.....and still, all might not adjust to it, let alone enjoy it.

    Had a group of chicks, most were pretty used to being handled as I caught and picked each one up a couple times a day.
    2 birds never settled with it, screamed the whole time no matter how much time I spent with them.
    But as adults, those 2 would walk up to or get on a roost close to me and let me pick them up, hold them, touch them all over, and then calmly walk away when I put them back down. Never know what a live animal will do.<shrugs>

    Had a group of chicks raised by a broody, never handled them and they still often fight like mad even when I get them off the roost at night to inspect them.
    I always have to cover their heads with a towel to get them to hold still.

    Best advice I have for handling birds is to:
    Remain calm and confident, which can be hard at first, but they can 'feel' your anxiety and will react to it with their own.
    Hold the birds wings to it's body with both hands, or one hand and against your body (football hold), so they cannot struggle.
    Don't let their feet gain purchase on anything for same reason as wing confinement.
    If they know they can't get away they will submit fairly quickly. Talk softly to them, and yourself, that 'It's OK'.

    My theory is that once they have been handled a few times and know they won't 'die' as a result,
    (remember they are prey animals) they usually will accept it with at least less struggle, if not acceptance.
     
  7. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    One thought here - we are all assuming that you have pullets. If you have any cockerel chicks, I would handle them the minimum amount possible. I've gone through the cockerel deal twice, and the first time I handled the chick quite a bit. I ended up with Satan for a rooster. A hawk got him, so, problem solved. My second rooster I pretty much did not handle, other than to transfer him from the box to the tractor. He respects me and keeps his distance when I go out to take care of the birds and other animals. He will come close, but has never been aggressive with me. He is coming up on one year old this month, so we are pretty much past all the crazy hormones. He'll run out to meet me, but turns to run back to the rest of the flock. I think it's more like, "What have you got for us to eat?" type behavior, rather than any kind of threat. Just something to keep in mind when it comes to handling chicks that may be cockerels.
     
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  8. Jea918

    Jea918 Out Of The Brooder

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    I have always handled my chicks. When they're chicks, they are much more timid. But as adults, most of mine don't bolt....they usually come running to me...sometimes I even joke that I'm the pied piper of chickens! They even peck me for attention and scratches. It just takes time.
     
  9. Jenna14Chicken

    Jenna14Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As some said TREATS work very well. Make them happy and they should be a little friendlier. I have always held mine as chicks and they love coming up to me and lying in my lap, eating from my hands, etc. I even taught them to swing with me! :) But I do agree as others different breeds are very different. Such as EEs they are flighty and dont like held much, RIRs don't love being held but will do what they have to. They are aggressive towards other birds usually towards food and their eggs. My brown pullets loved being held! All throughout their lives. I hope they best to you and your flock. Also don't push it just be patient they will come to you soon just wait. But there are many breeds that just will not hold still for you. :)
     
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  10. Jea918

    Jea918 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mealworms!!!! They love mealworms! Mine run when they hear the bag!
     
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