1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Handling chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Gonzo_MN, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. Gonzo_MN

    Gonzo_MN In the Brooder

    May 5, 2009
    Plymouth, MN USA
    I see a lot of you post pictures of you or loved ones holding a chicken. My flock is around 24 weeks old. They come a running when they see me outside, and they have a lot of (I think?) endearing vocalizations, but there's not a one that I can get to allow me to touch them, let alone pick them up. I can get some of them to eat scratch and feed from my hand. I didn't handle them unless needed when they were chicks, and have done nothing that should make them shy away.

    I really don't care if I can hold them or not. In fact, unless they required some sort of first aid, I'll never handle them.

    I'm just wondering why they seem so skittish?

  2. goldeneggtees

    goldeneggtees Fluffy Butt Nut

    Mar 11, 2009
    Long Island, NY
    I would say it's probably because you didn't handle them much as chicks. Having said that, I think if you started holding them even now and showing them you mean them no harm, they might come around and act friendlier. I have a few outta eight that I didn't touch too much, partly because they didn't want to be held. But now, even they have come around and seem to enjoy the attention and some cuddling. [​IMG]
  3. davidr

    davidr Songster

    Jan 22, 2009
    Mokena, IL
    I have picked mine up everyday since I got them as chicks (29 weeks old now)
    Some of them don’t like it, some could care less, a few crave to be held, and one in particular will fly to my arm when I hold it out.

    Why do some like it and others not? Who knows?

    I never fed them by hand I didn’t want them to associate my fingers with food.

    I did want to be able to hold them in the event they needed some sort of first aid. And yes holding each one everyday takes time, but I enjoy them and I think at some level they get something out of being held. .

  4. ijon1

    ijon1 Songster

    Jan 26, 2009
    gaines, michigan
    I never handled my Ameraucana chicks much when they were little. But now when they are almost ready to lay one pullet has got real friendley. I think because she is picked on. She got the idea that I am her safe haven. I think the other pullets were watching me pet her, because they let me pick them up and pet them now.
  5. ubumartin

    ubumartin In the Brooder

    May 25, 2009
    Raynham, Ma
    I got my chicks when they were 12 weeks old. At first they didn't like to be held at all. Now I have one that lets me pick her up and hold her and doesn't try to get away. The other two will let me hold them but they are not thrilled with it. Most days I pick them up and take them to and from the coop to a kennel that I move around the yard. For time sake, I pick them up or else I have to chase them around the yard.
  6. Hozer

    Hozer Songster

    Feb 14, 2009
    Homer, Alaska
    My daughter held our chicks at least once every day. She made a point of holding each one. They are juvenilles now and she still goes into their yard and picks them up. Some are very friendly and like to be held, some are somewhat friendly, and some down right do not want to be caught or held. It seems to be an individual thing. However, some breeds seem to be more tame and some strains seem to be tamer.
  7. Gonzo_MN

    Gonzo_MN In the Brooder

    May 5, 2009
    Plymouth, MN USA
    Thanks for the replies everyone.
    I have 21 hens, about half and half white rocks and production reds. It didn't occur to me that I should hold them off and on while they're chicks on up. Like I said, it doesn't bother me, nor do I intend to start picking them up. I'm pretty well imprinted as the Great Provider. They follow me around the yard offering equal amounts of encouragement and criticism as I go about chores. They get pampered plenty without back rubs to boot. [​IMG]

  8. pigcoon

    pigcoon Songster

    Apr 22, 2009
    We handled ours a lot as chicks and they like to hang out with us and don't mind being picked up.
  9. tryingtohaveitall

    tryingtohaveitall Songster

    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Ohio
    We handled ours a lot when they were younger, but it's interesting their different personalities. Our speckled sussex are the friendliest by far and don't make a peep when we pick them up.
  10. possumqueen

    possumqueen Songster

    Aug 17, 2009
    Monroe, North Carolina
    I used to have speckled sussex, and they didn't mind being handled.

    But what was really cool about them was this: I'd be sitting in the pen with them, having a cool one and watching the social interaction, and someone would come and sit beside my chair, just being sociable, donchaknow. Then she'd get up and walk away -- and there would be an egg!

    All that, and speckled sussex are gorgeous!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by