Holding chicks on their backs????

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by seattlehens83, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. seattlehens83

    seattlehens83 Chirping

    Jun 11, 2011
    After the initial 2 or 3 days my GF and I started holding the chicks about once a day. After a few days we found that the sometimes flighty chicks seemed very calm and sometimes fall asleep when you hold them on their backs. They stick their legs out and just lie back in the cup of your hand... and hang out. its kinda weird.

    Was just wondering if this was something that is common with chicks or just happenstance of situation.
  2. Kaeta44

    Kaeta44 Chirping

    If it was me, I wouldn't hold chickens on their backs no matter how comfortable they may appear to be. It's not a natural position for them or their internal organs!

  3. SunnyDawn

    SunnyDawn Sun Lovin' Lizard

    Sep 12, 2009
    Nor Cal
    I have a friend that swears that you can tell the gender of a chick by doing this. If they curl their legs up it's a girl and if they stick them out it's a boy! I've tried it and it didn't work for me but she says I'm doing it wrong. [​IMG]
  4. Wisher1000

    Wisher1000 Bama Biddy

    Mar 31, 2010
    Tuscaloosa County, Alabama
    You know, this is interesting to me. I have a theory about chickens being genetically wired to be prey. They seem to shut down when they feel they are "had." I have seen chickens that have been caught by a dog and suffered no wounds, laying lifeless (IN SHOCK) only to fully recover with minimal treatment. I have also seen them die. I wonder how many live chickens have been inadvertantly burried. They will respond as you say when held by the feet, with, seemingly, no ill effects. I don't think I would do this too much with young chicks, could be stressful. On the other hand, mine seemed to be quite comfortable when held on their sides with both feet sticking out to one side. Just my thoughts and observations....but what do I knoow?
  5. MEchickenfarmer33

    MEchickenfarmer33 Chirping

    Jul 29, 2011
    i wouldnt hold them like this. where i work is on a farm and the people used to hold them like that and sometimes by their feet upside down!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! then a lot of them died shortly after [​IMG]
  6. Piper1998

    Piper1998 In the Brooder

    Aug 25, 2011
    We adopted a very hostile (unbeknownst to us at the time) bantam rooster this summer. He kept attacking me whenever my back was turned - drew blood with his spurs twice. Of course, DH assumed it was my fault and that the bird was just being protective of his girls. One morning I was working in the barn and my son ran down to tell me that Dad thought he'd just killed "Bert". When I got to the scene of the crime, the bird was flat on his back with both feet straight up in the air. DH was holding a plastic 5-gal waterer and said that the bird had flew in from about 15 yards away and attacked him. So he bashed him on his second attempt to attack. I was happy the little terror was down, but told my son to flip him over with the broom just to make sure he was dead. As soon as he was flipped over he assumed attack stance, looked at the three of us staring in disbelief, and ran the other way.
    NaturesKeeper likes this.
  7. seattlehens83

    seattlehens83 Chirping

    Jun 11, 2011
    Ok thanks well I guess the cupping them on their backs will stop. For whatever reason doesnt seem to stress them out that I can tell though. Better safe than sorry. The "prey" concept is pretty interesting. They way they behave is kind of like reef sharks (saw this on discovery) when they get turned upside down they kind of go into a trance.
  8. froggie71

    froggie71 Songster

    Apr 18, 2009
    Shamong, NJ
    Never had a chick/chicken or rooster die from being upside down. That is ridiculous. We have often done that. When a chicken or rooster was being checked for mites at a show they often hold them by the legs and even dust them this way. 1st time 1 saw it I thought it was cruel, but it really doesn't hurt them.

    My boys hold their birds (geese, chickens, guineas) like babies all the time and we have had no issues. As a matter of fact they are pretty tame.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2011
  9. larsonll

    larsonll Chirping

    Aug 13, 2011
    West Georgia
    My girls handle our chicks all the time and noticed they are more calm on their backs. I can't see that this has hurt anything once and awhile. They don't keep them that way except for just a few minutes at a time. I have asked them not to do it, although I have no reason to. They are all over a month old in the brooder and no problems.

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