How do I pick up my Chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by tenderkat, Jun 20, 2009.

  1. tenderkat

    tenderkat Songster

    Okay, I know this is going to sound pretty naive and pathetic, but I'm going to ask it anyways. I'm new to chickens, so I have no shame!!

    What is the proper way to pick up my chickens??????

    I have had my pullets now for 3 weeks, and I have definitely been handling them. They are very comfortable jumping up on me, eating out of my hand, and seem to like to have me around. But everytime I go to scoop one of them up, she completely freaks out!! I'm sure they know I have no idea what the heck I'm doing, and this probably unnerves them, but can it really be this difficult? My girls look at me with dread when they know I'm going to try and pick them up.

    So anyways, I'm sure there is some general technique, and I know it can't be as hard as I'm making it out to be. Do I just Mama-Handle them despite their resistance? I don't want to hurt them, but I do want to be able to pick up my own chickens for crying out loud!!

    Any suggestions???

    By the way, they are 12 weeks old.

    Thanks so much for your patience with all my ridiculous questions!!!!
  2. ScoobyRoo

    ScoobyRoo Songster

    Aug 21, 2008
    Land of OZ
    My son likes to hold both of their feet with one hand and cradle them on his other arm. They sit calmly when he does this. Not sure if this is the 'right' way but it works for him.
  3. emvickrey

    emvickrey ChowDown Silkie Farm

    Mar 5, 2009
    Hornbeak, Tennessee
    I just reach down and put my hands over their wings and fingers under breast bone so they can't scratch me. If they give ma any trouble, I grab them by their legs. I'll carrry them upside down if they really give me trouble to show them whos boss. That usually works and I can pick them up by my preferred methond. The first one I mentioned. I have several that will just stand there so I can pick them up. I am very gentle with them so they will trust me but there are always those that think they are boss. YOu have to show them your boss. You can hold them still on the floor, or ground by their legs, breast on the ground. They will be still.

    I have a couple that will come to me to be picked up so I can pet them. They love it. I will carry them around and pet and talk to them for a while everyday to keep them tame. It's nice to not have to chase chickens down to do what needs to be done.
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I support their feet. They don't like the sensation of hanging in the air, so that's why supporting their feet is important. Then just tuck them under my arm like football (for some) or cradle them like a baby, with my free hand clamped down on their wings. If the wings are free and can start flapping, it just upsets both the human and the chicken.
  5. highcountrychickens

    highcountrychickens Head Rooster Jouster

    Aug 28, 2008
    Jackson Hole
    That's not naive and pathetic! I think it's a great question - I have already learned something by the responses so thx for posting it!

    I have found that none of my chicks really LOVE to be picked up initially... they're programmed that way as a self protection mechanism, so not to worry. Everybody is different, but I try to slide my hands down their little chest and slowly scoop them up with their head facing my wrist and my other hand cupped around their wings. I think they don't like the sensation of being picked up or let down partially because of a height thing, but also because of what Gritsar said about their feet. I always cup them close and talk to them until they calm down before putting them down again.

    Good luck and
  6. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

    Apr 6, 2007
    Oh, I thought you meant something else from your subject... [​IMG]

    Grocery stores are a good spot for me. [​IMG]
  7. Judy

    Judy Crowing

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quote:This is a very good method, IMHO. It seems to distress them less. I read about it here somewhere and have been using it.

    I think the big problem is that they see THE HAND as a predator, and it takes them time to learn that THE HAND is not going to devour them. I have a roo who was a pet when he was tiny. Now he will not just peck, but grab my skin and hang on -- unless I get my hand under his chest first. Then he enjoys being picked up and held.

    At 3 weeks, just lay your hand in there with them and let them explore it. Helps if it contains a little feed or yogurt or something. When one settles in your palm, scoop him up.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 20, 2009
  8. ~*Sweet Cheeks*~

    ~*Sweet Cheeks*~ Songster

    Mar 12, 2009
    Medford, Oregon
    I spent a lot of time hanging out at the brooder talking to my chicks. When they were about your chicks age (3 wks) and able to fly to the top of the large stock tank I had them in. I would gently pet them and practice picking them up. In the beginning when they would try to fly out of my hands, I would gently put both hands on the top around their wings and then gently put them down. Slow movements vs quickly snatching them up.

    As they got used to that, I would then gently put my fingers down their front between their legs, and with one hand scoop them up. This worked for all but one EE who hated being picked.

    All the rest at 17 wks still let me pick them up but the one. I must say it is so nice to be able to walk up to a chick then have to chase them down if one gets out or you want to check them over.
  9. elmo

    elmo Crowing

    May 23, 2009
    One of my five chicks (Dottie) always complains no matter how I pick her up. My technique is a variation of the "step up" move that you do with other kinds of birds, although for chickens I put my other hand on their butts and make it kind of a "scoop up" thing. The other five chicks are fine with this.

    Of course, Dottie is always complaining about everything. If there's one chick peeping loudling, it will always be Dottie.
  10. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:My complainer is Jezebel. She follows me around outside complaining. If I ignore her she does her best to get in my face to complain. She was picked up by the dog when she was a tiny chick. Even though the dog didn't hurt her, she's been complaining about it ever since.

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