Help. My chix think I am the devil incarnate

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by toofoul, May 25, 2010.

  1. toofoul

    toofoul Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 26, 2010
    Just got three 2 week old Australorp chicks. Very cute. They have learned to eat from my hand thanks to some boiled egg and coaxing. But they are still extremely skittish when I try to pick them up. Because of the size of the box I have to reach in and pick them. I try to be as gentle as possible and get my hand underneath them so they are cupped in both hands with their feet sitting on the bottom hand. But they squawk like I’m about to eat them alive. I have avoided picking them up since and am just talking to them and getting them to eat out of my hand for now. But I want them to be eventually comfortable with human handling – am I going about this the right way? The brooder box is in the garage on a couple of saw horses to keep it off the concrete and they are very comfortable and otherwise happy. I also plan to take them out in a week or so and let them have a supervised play on the lawn in the backyard.
    Any advice greatly appreciated
  2. tammyd57

    tammyd57 Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you can avoid swooping your hand down from above their heads (they associate this with a predator and it scares the feathers off em) they should get more comfortable with being handled. Try sliding your hand down the inside wall of the brooder and then over to where they are to pick them up. Don't give up handling them because they scream about it. Eventually they will get used to it and may even like to be picked up. Having treats in your hand every time is a big help too, so that they always expect your hand coming in to be something good.
  3. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 16, 2009
    it will take time, they are programmed to avoid most moving objects as they are likely to be predators. They will eventually learn that you mean them no harm and will accept handling,
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    Chickens quickly learn routines. Make it a habit to pick each one up every day, even if it's only for a few seconds. The other suggestions here about how to pick them up are excellent advice.

    That's how we tamed our first batch of chickens last spring. Several became so tame that all you had to do was stick out your arm and they'd fly up. All of them got used to being picked up, although Martha always squawked and complained, but she'd settle down once she was scooped up.

    We're using the same approach with the 14 chicks our hens hatched out this spring. I notice if I skip a day of this handling, the chicks will be wilder when I next pick them up. Several of them already accept being picked up calmly, and they're only two to three weeks old.

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