Happy chickies!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by YULickenthat, Mar 9, 2015.

  1. YULickenthat

    YULickenthat Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 9, 2015
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    Hi!! My name is Jamie and I live in Reno Nevada. I am new to BYC and basically the whole chicken raising thing in general, so forgive me if I ask silly questions. I am so excited to be starting this new venture! My family had chickens when I was a kid, so I remember very little info on the process. I just bought my first 5 Rhode Island Reds and have 4 black Australorps shipping at the end of April. I have been told that handling them a lot as babies can ensure friendlier chickens in the long run, making it easier to deal with them in the future. So here are a few starting questions; how much handling does "a lot" entail, and what sort of handling? Do I pick them up? Do I pet them? Will it help to bring them "treats" when they are old enough to digestively handle it? Any advice on helping to create happy friendly chickens is very welcome!
     
  2. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

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    Welcome to BYC.
     
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    I'm a person who tends to over do things, I don't have a moderation control. But, I would say spending some time with the chicks (maybe 20 minutes or so) once a day would be a good start. If you can sit on the floor and let them come to you, they may do so., rather than grabbing at them which will scare them. Also sitting down you aren't such a giant to them.

    If that goes well, you can add a second play time with them. Food is definitely the way to a chick/chickens heart but treats should not exceed 10% of their diet. Otherwise they will turn up their beaks at feed that is specially made for them. If they like their feed you can scatter a little around you, to draw them close. After a time when they trust you, they will come into your lap or perch on your shoulder or head- and probably drop a poo on you. That just means they love you. Chicks love scrambled eggs, cooked oatmeal, plain yogurt (very messy tho) etc.
     
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  4. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! I'm glad you joined us!
     
  5. YULickenthat

    YULickenthat Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 9, 2015
    Reno, Nv
    Thank you!! I look forward to learning a lot hear.
     
  6. YULickenthat

    YULickenthat Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 9, 2015
    Reno, Nv
    Awesome advice!! I hope my chicks end up as friendly as yours.
     
  7. YULickenthat

    YULickenthat Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 9, 2015
    Reno, Nv
    Thank you!!
     
  8. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

    What I've found that seems to work is to start socializing the chicks as soon as possible. However, on the day they either arrive or you buy them, try not to touch and cuddle them much. They need this time to get acquainted with their new home and siblings. The second or third day is when you should start touching, holding and speaking to them. I found that by taping my voice on my ipod and then playing it for my chicks helped them get acquainted and comfortable with my voice much faster than they otherwise would have been. When speaking, remember to talk softly, soothingly and quietly. If you ever have heard how a mother hen talks to her chicks, she clucks softly and makes purring sounds. Try and sound the same way. Hold them every day. Scoop them in the cup of your hand slowly and then bring them under your chin while speaking very soothingly. They will probably fall asleep which is a great sign! It shows they are totally relaxed and calm.

    Note that whenever you reach into the brooder, your chicks will more than likely scatter and freak out. This is normal behavior. They assume your hand is a predator (like a swooping hawk) and have the immediate instinct to hide. So try and reach in slowly while speaking and then slowly grab the chick you want. If your chicks still seem very frightened then put your hand in the brooder often. Talk to them but don't touch them. Soon they might even come and stand in your hand. You can also try putting feed in your hand so they soon will associate your voice and hand with food.


    Around day 2, get the chicks out of the brooder for a small field trip each day on the living room floor. Lay down an old sheet to catch all those accidents! Be very careful when holding and moving chicks out of the brooder that they don't fall to the ground or you don't drop them. They are very fragile and can die from such a long fall. So go sit on the floor with them and let them out to run around. The first thing they are going to do is run to your lap. At this point in their lives, they have to trust you. You are removing them from their home brooder and returning them safely. They will seem a bit frightened. But this helps them to bond with you. Get them out each day on the floor for some exercise for 10 or so minutes. Gradually they will leave your lap to explore and learn to not be afraid of new things. This really helps them to bond with you. They learn that you are a place of great safety.


    Week 3 and above is when your chicks will start acting crazy! They are hyper, curious and busy all day! They probably will no longer be interested in their daily cuddles. So, this is the time to train them to come when you call. Take them outside and call them by using "Girls, Chickies, Come," or any other short, quick call. They will follow you closely. But also know that they will probably stop often to investigate something new or even take a quick nap in the sun! So be patient!

    They will be fun to watch! Sometimes they flap their wings as they chase after you! At the end of the day when they have worn themselves out you can cuddle and hold them. Maybe even put them on a towel on your lap while you watch TV!

    This has worked for me and my chicks every time.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  9. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]I'm glad you joined our "flock".

    You've received some good advice from Drumstick Diva! Basically, the more you can handle your birds, the tamer they will be.[​IMG]
     
  10. YULickenthat

    YULickenthat Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 9, 2015
    Reno, Nv
    Thank you for the very detailed directions Mountain Peeps!! It is extremely helpful to have a good plan laid out. I am excited to see how they take to me. I am a stay at home mom so I have a lot of time to look in on my little flock. I peek in on them multiple times a day and put my hands in the brooder to clean out droppings as they are dropped. I use a plastic fork as a pooper scooper. So far when I do this they run to the fork! They DO scatter initially when they hear me come in the room. I also talk to them softly.

    Wyandottes7, thank you also! Yes I agree, Drumstick Diva's advice is very helpful as well.
     

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