how much handling is good for chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by fosterchickens, May 16, 2008.

  1. fosterchickens

    fosterchickens In the Brooder

    May 16, 2008
    putnam co
    We are getting our first chickens (babies) next week. [​IMG] (2 auracana, 1 buff orphington, 3 golden wynadottes). I have some enthusiastic helpers who are 6, 5, 3, and 1 yrs old. Only the 5&1 are mine, we are literally having a shared flock with our neighborhood- we are raising the chicks then they move next door.

    What signs of distress tell you to tell the kids to leave the chickens alone? How many times a day and by how many different people should a chick be handled?

    I would love to have tame, healthy, happy chickens.

    PS I know my 1 yr old is really only going to get to watch until they are big birds. He's working really hard on petting cats nicely.

    Thanks for all advice
  2. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

    Jun 11, 2007
    I read something recently on about a hen being aggressive and not getting along with other chickens, and the author noted that that particular hen had been raised in a schoolroom with lots of possibly rough handling by many children. The author wondered whether that had something to do with the present personality problems.

    When you think about it, it's got to traumatize a tiny little brain to have giants coming at you and lifting you up into space to who knows where. I'd limit the handling by little kids, but I'm sure other BYCers will write in saying lots of handling is perfectly fine...
  3. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    The 'type' of handling, I believe, is the most important factor. If the chicks are held roughly or too tightly then I don't think they should be held at all.

    Last year, with our first chicks, my 6 and 7 yr. old daughters held our chicks every single day ... mulitiple times a day. Always under adult supervision. I also held them every day. We didn't let our younger children hold them - ever, but they were allowed to gently pet a chick while I held it. All our chickens have grown into very sweet hens that will readily let my girls or I pick them up whenever we want... even if they are out free ranging. We even have two leghorns (a more flightly breed) and they both let us pick them up and hold them), our SS Hamburg doesn't like to be held but she's the flightiest breed I have. I can pick her up but my girls aren't usually able to walk up to her and pick her up.

    We now have a new batch of week old chicks and are again, holding them several times every day. I still don't let my four year olds hold them.

    Another rule here is that you must wash your hands before touching the chicks and wash your hands after touching the chicks.

    Having chicks in a classroom and having them being handled by all those children ... oh my goodness!! I'd think that those chickens would be terrified of people! Personally, I think that was cruel to the chicks.

    Edited for spelling error.
    Last edited: May 16, 2008
  4. 4boysmom

    4boysmom Songster

    Jun 12, 2007
    I totally agree with Chirpy - this is how we handled things when we hatched last month.

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