Handling within first 24 hours?


In the Brooder
9 Years
Oct 20, 2010
Hi All,

We decided to take the plunge into backyard chicken raising -- just received our first 5 chicks this morning....Columbian Wyandottes...and have lots of newbie questions of course!

I read that you shouldn't really handle them within the first 24 hours to give them a chance to settle in and all....is this true? We want to have very tame chickens as pets so want to do a lot of handling right from the start.
They will see your leaning over the brooder as a threat, like a flying predator, and it will frighten them. Try to sit at their level and come from the side as much as you can. Lay your hand in there and let them explore it. Put a bit of feed in your hand, or a smear of yogurt. Get them coming to you rather than just grabbing them.

Picking them up from above will be frightening, but you can start letting them get used to your presence. If a brand new chick climbed up on my hand, I'm afraid I'd pick it up, just for a minute.
For how long can you hold a new chick? We have 5 new (hatched last night/this morning) chicks and want to cuddle them SO badly!!! They will crawl into and sit on our hands when we put them in the brooder. But for how long can we hold them out of the brooder? The one will fall asleep in our hands but I wasn't sure how long we could hold it, so I made the kids put it back. How would we know if it was getting cold? Can you cuddle a chicken?
Oh yes, you can cuddle a chicken. When a chick gets uncomfortable (usually cold) it will start peeping, usually loudly. They are usually quite comfortable cuddled up to your neck and that is probably warm enough.

Here's a pic of mine. They were getting agrivated that I wasn't using BOTH hands to hold them...
Oh Noodleroo I LOVE it!! My sons will the SO thrilled to see this picture. My family thinks we are nuts for even NAMING our chickens let alone wanting them to sit with us. We've had a few cuddle sessions and I just LOVE when they fall asleep in my hand all curled up. I just wish I had bigger hands to hold more at one time.
LOL Just wait...its easy when they're babies. Just try juggling 5 grown, well-fed attention loving chickens on your lap and shoulders!

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