Handling chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kateberberchick, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. kateberberchick

    kateberberchick New Egg

    Mar 4, 2013
    Hi, we're new chick owners! We just bought 3-5 day old pullets...a delaware, a red star, and a partridge rock. When is the best time to start handling them? We just got them yesterday, so I don't wat to stress them too much. They were purchased for egg laying, but we will never cull them and they already have names...so we want them to be friendly and to like people and to not mind being touched. What's the best way to handle them?

    Also, at what age can we give them small treats, like yogurt, or meal worms?
  2. AlienChick

    AlienChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 9, 2010
    Glasgow, KY
    You can handle them at any time.
    Just remember that baby chicks need lots of sleep.
    You might want to wait a couple of weeks before feeding them anything other than their starter feed.
    I, personally, do not feed anything extra to may baby chicks until they're out of the brooder.
    The chick starter is the best for them in order to get them growing.
    If you do decide to give them treats, make sure you also provide them free-choice chick grit with which to grind the treats.
    No matter how 'tame' your chicks seem to be while they are chicks, keep in mind they will go through the teenage stage where they act like you are going to kill them and they'll run from you. Then they get over this stage and become nice friendly chickens.
  3. CarlyChick

    CarlyChick Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 5, 2013
    Twin Cities, MN
    My baby chicks are 5 days old, and although they calm down once we hold them, they run away like crazy when we try to pick them up. Is this what other chicks do? When do they become more friendly?
  4. mandelyn

    mandelyn Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 30, 2009
    Mt Repose, OH
    My Coop
    Breed plays a role in how "flighty" the chicks will be, as well as initial imprinting. If you get them a week or more after hatch, and they hadn't been handled much, they'll more than likely freak out about it.

    I stopped trying to hold the chicks. When I was a kid I'd hold who ever I could catch. But I started to notice that while some would calm down, others got worse.

    Instead, I take my finger, dab it in the water, then dab onto the chick feed, so that it sticks to my finger. Then I make "chickchickchick" noises like a momma hen does when she's offering food. Eventually that will encourage them to eat off your finger. Then, the big bad scary hand becomes a source of food, and they'll begin to run towards it instead of away from it.

    I use that method to teach newly hatched chicks to eat and drink, instead of dipping their beak in, I use my finger in the water, in the same kind of motion they use to drink. Showing them bits of food. It's handy later when they have suspicions about new food types. If the almighty food hand shows it to them, they'll try it more readily.

    Right now I have 6, 5 week old Swedish Flower chicks. So calm and docile! They stand still to be petted on. Spike, the only boy, let's me pick him up, he just stands there. I can touch the tip of his beak or up under his wing. He doesn't care. There are 2 pullets like that. The other 3 girls aren't as friendly. None of them have outright fear, but only 3 of them actually WANT to be pets.

    When they were little, I'd use a finger to peck in the food with them. I'd cover this one or that one with my hand, but wouldn't pick it up. The hand was just always there, showing them food but not actually bothering them. So now it's no big deal if I touch them or not. Some like it, others don't care for it but they're not afraid of you, they just don't want touched.

    Spike and 2 of the girls come to me and stand there to be petted. There's always a couple in any hatch that will do that. Sometimes they go through a phase of being very hands off. I don't know if these birds will do that or not, usually it starts around 3-4 weeks of age.

    Why does the best bird have to be the boy I'll need to sell?
    1 person likes this.
  5. kateberberchick

    kateberberchick New Egg

    Mar 4, 2013
    Thank you!
  6. akchick76

    akchick76 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 28, 2013
    Hehehe.....almighty food hand....hehe[​IMG]

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