How much handling?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Curlita, May 26, 2008.

  1. Curlita

    Curlita Songster

    May 22, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I got my chicks today! They are.... more mature, let's put it that way. Two of them are 3 months old and 2 are 1 month. I know that I need to handle them to get them used to being around people, since they have spent the early part of their lives among chickens with not much human contact.

    I have two kids (one a baby) and a job, so I'm looking for some quantifiable guidelines (3x a day for 15 minutes, for example).

    Also, I'm wondering if human presence is helpful to get them to be people lovin' chickens. My son will spend 45 minutes at a stretch (he's only 3! he doesn't have the attention span to do much for that long) hanging out with them. I've encouraged him to talk to them while they are hanging out, but their crate is shut and he can't physically get to them.
  2. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    You can handle them as much as you want as long as it is gentle handling.

    Treats will also get them being more friendly to you too! There's a treat chart under the feeding category.

    Enjoy your babies! (chicks AND human)
  3. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    Talk to them whenever you are near their crate, handle them as much and for as long as possible. Give treats by hand and they will warm up to you, it just takes time.
    Last edited: May 27, 2008
  4. firebugfab

    firebugfab In the Brooder

    May 3, 2008
    I got my RIR's at 3 days old during spring break. My 8 year old daughter and 3 year old son were home for the week from school and played with the chicks CONSTANTLY! We started calling my daughter the "chicken whisperer" because she could lay one of them on their side cupped in her hand and pet it a certain way a couple of times and then lay it on a blanket and the chick would just close it's eyes and go to sleep.


    I guess it was true bonding because little "chirp" thinks she's a parrot now...


    I was always told handling chicks would kill them due to passing on disease and such but if hands are washed and the brooder is kept clean (I cleaned the bedding/litter out daily), I don't believe it.

    They are like any other "pet". If you stick them out in the yard and never play with them and love on them, they turn into wild animals. Dogs are the same way.
  5. Firebugfab, your daughter (and bird!) are precious! And whether she keeps chickens as an adult or not, how nice to know she'll be the ChickenWhisperer forever!
  6. coltsrox

    coltsrox Songster

    Mar 24, 2008
    Maggie Valley, NC
    yea i would just say whenever you can but not for 5minutes aday because their older they need more love and more of your time. sorry i oculdnn't be able to give you a exact stuff maybe 3x's day for 20minutes at least. when mine was 1.5 weeks i fell alseep with him in my hand and so did he for 45minutes in a car!
  7. DTchickens

    DTchickens Crowing

    Mar 23, 2008
    Bailey, Mississippi.
    Some of the old timers i used to hang around and talk to, would pay kids to go out and hold their chickens. 30 minutes per chicken everyday of the week. but i dont know if it needs that much cause my chickens i just pick up once a day. hold them for maybe 5-10 minutes. and put them back down. and are pretty calm,
  8. Curlita

    Curlita Songster

    May 22, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    So here's another question about handling... I read in another thread that they don't like being picked up from above because it triggers predator fear. How should I be picking them up? They run across the crate from me, so I can't quite figure out a way to pick them up without scaring them -- and without them flapping their way out of my hands!

    This would be a lot easier if I could fit the baby's exersaucer into the bathroom where they are. [​IMG]
  9. lovemychicks9

    lovemychicks9 Songster

    Apr 29, 2008
    South Carolina
    I pick them up by sliding my hand under them and cupping their feet and bottom. I have 2 or 3 of my buffs that come to me when I am in the run and peep at me until I pick them up. they really like it , the snuggle time. Try putting your hand lower then their head near the floor or bottom of their run/brooder and let them get used to your fingers and gentley slide your hand under them and with the other hand gentley cover the wings and rear. They may talk a little but if you hold them close to you they tend to settle quickly and mine love to snuggle with me now. I swear that if I don't pay attention to all of them, the others get their feelings hurt and tend to ignore me. [​IMG] [​IMG]
  10. CityChook

    CityChook Songster

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    Welllllll, I hope that there's not really a thing as "too much handling," or else our family is going to be in trouble. I have three kids and if they're not at school, then they're playing with the babies in the brooder. The chickies actually hop up and down when the kids come to the brooder - it's like they WANT the attention. I'm completely new to chickens, so maybe I'm reading too much into this, but that's what it looks like.

    I actually fell asleep in front of the tv this weekend with a baby on my tummy. My husband just shakes his head....

    We're just going for the opinion that lots of human contact will hopefully make them less skittish and more calm with the tornado of kid-chi going on in our household. If they can handle this, they can handle just about anything, and so far so good!

    Good Luck!


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