How do you tame chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Silkie_Lover1, Mar 19, 2019.

  1. Silkie_Lover1

    Silkie_Lover1 Songster

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    My chicks are 4 weeks old and they will eat meal worms and feed out of my hands and run up to me when I open the door to the coop, but when I reach out to grab them they scatter! How can I get them to where I can hold them without having to freak them out?
     
  2. A_Fowl_Guy

    A_Fowl_Guy Wildlife Biologist

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    I have never been able to get them to do that. It’s a predator thing I believe.
     
  3. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

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    Their instinct is to not want to be grabbed, which is what a predator would do.

    I have some luck "grabbing" some of my birds by crouching down, waiting for them to come up, then reaching out slowly and sort of encircling them with an arm while pulling them towards me until I can pick them up. Because it's coming from the side instead of from above, they're a little more tolerant of that.

    I have one bird that will allow me to pick her up as long as I scoop from underneath, but that's just her personality.
     
    A_Fowl_Guy likes this.
  4. Deo

    Deo In the Brooder

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    My chickens in general don’t like fast, erratic movements. Whenever I reach out to grab them I always make sure I’m slow and that I’m not above them.

    With a bit of treating after they let you touch them you could probably get them more used to it.
     
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Free Ranging

    Hi there. :frow

    Try sitting at their level or raising them to yours.. and reach from the side and down low just like when you are feeding them. In this manner it is not the same as predator coming from above. Also, stay there a while and let them come to you. Let them inspect your hands, maybe peck a little (inspection not aggression). Polished fingernails are hit! I sit in the ground in a fresh grass patch and put the meal worms on my pant leg. Even my friendliest bird that follows relentlessly and rides my shoulder up and down the ladder or whatever I am doing... If I just rapidly approach she gets on the run and prey instinct takes over and she avoids me. So I guess I'm kinda saying playing coy seems to work well with shy animals

    Another secret... handle them once the are settled in to roost in the evening if they are doing that. I can usually pet their chest more easily. When you pick them up, hold their wings to their body so they aren't flapping and freaking everyone out. However be aware that pin feathers can be kinda painful and if they are getting squeezed, handling may be uncomfortable and send the wrong signal. Gently return them to roost and do this one by one, nightly. Stay calm yourself, talk gently. See their individual personalities. NEVER put them down when they are freaked out. Wait for calm and set them down gently. These tips will work for some birds and not others. But in my experience they all calm down a lot once mature.

    One of the times I handle them might be on daily trips to the outside and back in again at night, for a period of time before they are moved out full time. They get used to being handled, they know this is normal and they go with the flow... Mostly. I see you say they're already on the coop, and that's awesome!

    I tend to go for the flightiest bird first as their fear factor radiates to others. I thought leghorn were bad until I got white faced black Spanish, them birds can scream! :eek:

    It just takes persistence, patience. You already have the mother load of all chicken treats in meal worms. Try switching it up a little and pique their curiosity. They all seem to respond of I use a higher pitched voice and quickly call in the same manner of a broody... Look babe, look! :p

    Hope this helps give ya some ideas at least. :fl
     
    AmaranthineAcres likes this.
  6. Silkie_Lover1

    Silkie_Lover1 Songster

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    Thank you for all the tips. I moved l moved my hand a bit more slowly this time and they did a little better. I have a chick that is so crazy for mealworms that he literally wouldn't care if I was a hawk trying to kill him as long as I have a mealworm he will sprint to me.
     
  7. Deo

    Deo In the Brooder

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    That’s good, the best way to a chicken’s heart is always through their stomach ;)
     
    Silkie_Lover1 likes this.
  8. cluckmecoop7

    cluckmecoop7 Songster

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    I've raised my chicks sense 2 or 3 days old. I have picked them up and handled them daily. They always cheep a little in surprise but I can easily hold them. Maybe you are reaching down to fast and scaring them? As they got older they got a little harder to catch but still let me handle them. I think they get used to it if you do it daily. Good luck!
     
  9. cluckmecoop7

    cluckmecoop7 Songster

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    I've raised my chicks sense 2 or 3 days old. I have picked them up and handled them daily. They always cheep a little in surprise but I can easily hold them. Maybe you are reaching down to fast and scaring them? As they got older they got a little harder to catch but still let me handle them. I think they get used to it if you do it daily. Good luck!
     
  10. cluckmecoop7

    cluckmecoop7 Songster

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    Jan 4, 2019
    NE USA
    I've raised my chicks sense 2 or 3 days old. I have picked them up and handled them daily. They always cheep a little in surprise but I can easily hold them. Maybe you are reaching down to fast and scaring them? As they got older they got a little harder to catch but still let me handle them. I think they get used to it if you do it daily. Good luck!
     

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