How long do you have to wait before handling baby chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by HelenKirby, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. HelenKirby

    HelenKirby New Egg

    Oct 3, 2010
    I think today we may be seeing our baby chicks as one of our eight eggs has cracked and we can definitely hear a noise. The eggs are all with our broody hen so hopefully she will look after them all well. I just wondered how long is it before we are able to handle them? Should we wait until mother leaves them for a bit of a roam before we touch them for the first time or is it best to wait a few weeks? Can the broody hen reject them if we pick them up too early? Also, just a couple of other questions - Should we dip their beaks in the water as soon as they are born and put chick crumbs in with them?

    Any help would be much appreciated, thanks.
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I'd give the hen a couple of days.

    She won't want you to touch them, but you'll want to make sure that they are drinking etc...

    If there is water there, mama hen will make certain they drink. Hen's aren't like other animals. They can't smell your scent on their chicks.
  3. tammyd57

    tammyd57 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes, DO put chick crumbles in with them. Momma will benefit from also eating the chick feed, which is a bit higher in nutrition, to help her bounce back from her broody stint. Depending how big the chicks are, you may need to grind the chick feed somewhat finer so it is small enough for them.
    I usually wait to handle chicks until the mom takes them outside and is comfortable walking away from them for a few yards. She'll do that normally within 3 to 7 days of hatch. LOL I did have one psycho hen who wouldn't stray further than 4 inches from her chicks until they were almost as big as her, and she would draw blood if I came closer than 10 feet!
  4. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    You got some good answers.

    It depends partly on your broody. Mine never really minded when I handled chicks and I would at least touch or pet them right away. I might get a faint growl or light peck, if that. Don't stress or upset anyone, just hang around, lay your hand near, see what happens. It is true the sooner you start the tamer they are likely to be -- if they are going to be tame. True that mama usually teaches eating and drinking --- another reason for food and water to be handy. But they all vary a little, so adjust accordingly. Remember they don't actually need to eat or drink for 72 hours.

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