how much handling?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by domromer, May 15, 2007.

  1. domromer

    domromer Songster

    May 11, 2007
    My new baby chicks are arriving in the mail tommorrow. I excited but a bit nervous. It seems like they are very fragile.

    How much can I handle my baby chicks? I want them to get used to me touching them but I don't want to stress them too much.
  2. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

    Apr 4, 2007
    Mansfield, MO
    mine were two days old and I was afraid of handling them too much. I wish I had handled them way more than I did now. I only have a few, out of twenty, who will come to me now. handle them!!
  3. Picco

    Picco Songster

    Mar 14, 2007
    You can handle them as much as you want but just make sure you do it in short sessions so they aren't away from their feed/water and heat for too long. You should also allow for ample nap time. Other than that handle them often... you will be glad that you did when they are full grown lap chickens!
  4. Jsto

    Jsto Songster

    Apr 30, 2007
    North Carolina
    I'm by absolutely no means an expert as I've just gotten my chicks today, but I feel your pain. I was way worried, especially after seeing how tiny they are. Everyone has always told me to handle them as much as possible because it will help the chicks get used to you. I think overcoming the nervousness helps. Now, after only a day, they come running when I just put my hand into the brooder. Just hold them gently but firmly, because boy can they move!

    Like I said, I'm new at this, but have found that kind of cupping your hands around them seems to make them feel secure and comfortable. When I do this, generally they chill right out or fall asleep. Also, and this is somewhat embarrassing, I've been cooing or murmuring to them. It could be in my head, but they seem to react positively to it.

    I've been handling them in short sessions pretty frequently all day. They let me know when they want down. They tend to get a bit antsy when they see their sisters running around pecking at some delicious morsel on the floor of the brooder!!
    Last edited: May 16, 2007
  5. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    Also, and this is somewhat embarrassing, I've been cooing or murmuring to them.

    Gosh, if thats embarassing..what do you call someone who encourages her roos to crow by crowing back at them? lol [​IMG]

    You can NOT handle a baby chick too much! (Other than giving them time to eat, sleep, and poo of course!) I am the proud Mama of several batches of chicks. My first batch is now going on 11 weeks old, and they are all sweet as candy and adore everyone. I run a day care in my home, and they are handled constantly by children and come running to us when we come out into the yard! My newer batches are now 2 weeks old and 1 week old. We've been handling them just as much as we did with the older chicks, and now the 2 weekers are eagerly looking for us when they hear our voices before they even see us peeking into the brooder. Most of them (you'll always have a few that remain aloof and somewhat skittish no matter what you do I have found) come running when we put a hand in the brooder, and now that they can fly a little, they even fly up and perch on our hands or arms waiting to be taken out! We've also started taking the 2 weekers outside on warm days for short periods of time, and this helps too. Even the skittish chicks wont venture too far from you when they're put in an unfamiliar environment!

    Handle your chicks many times a day. Start talking to them before they see you so you dont frighten them when you peek over the brooder. Keep in mind that you look like a giant to them! Use a soft cooing gentle voice when speaking to them. Pet them gently like youd pet a new pup or kitty. Always hold them until YOU want to put them back, dont put them back when they wiggle, or they'll learn that wiggling and squirming will make you set them down. Offer fresh treats (not for a couple weeks though! And make sure grit is offered whenever you give treats!) that they must eat from your hand (hard boiled egg works great for this, as do small mealworms!) and they will learn to associate your hands with good things. Never grab them from above, always set your hand palm up and slide it UNDER the chick so their tummy is on your palm and legs hang down between your fingers. This is the proper way (and the most comfortable for them) to pick up a new chick. If you grab them from above, they will mistake you for a predator and run from your hand. Avoid putting the chicks near your eyes as they get older, because a blink will catch their attention and you could end up with a poked eye! DONT smack, yell at, or move too fast with your chicks. DO kiss, snuggle, hug, and love on your chicks EVERY day, and several times a day.​
  6. TJ

    TJ Songster

    Feb 7, 2007

    ...I got a visual!! [​IMG]

  7. Oh how cute, i bet youre excited.
    I listen to mother hens with chicks and they always coo them to settle at bedtime.
    I coo and make kiss sounds when i cuddle them and if you watch them you can see if they shut their eyes a bit they are relaxed. and yes cup your hand around as they feel the heat from your hands.
    I even had 2 on the lounge inside one night and I had them both on my chest and had my cardigan 1/2 zipped up with them under and they fell asleep on me, it was so cute.
    I know some of you will think i'm nuts having them inside but it was only till dark when I could put them under a broody. anyway its nice to spoil your chickens!!!!
    Have lots of fun with them.
  8. jessupfamily

    jessupfamily Songster

    May 14, 2007
    SW Indiana
    Yes, we are big chick and chicken spoilers too! Hold them and love them as much as possible and they will love you back! Our children get inside the brooder with them and sit for hours (literally). And we now have big huge chickens that want to be held and loved on. Some will come up when your outside with them and rub on your legs wanting you to pet them. Each time we get new chicks that is where our children live! ~We also coo and crow and make little clucky mama noises at them!~ They do love it.[​IMG]
    Amy J.
  9. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

    Apr 4, 2007
    Mansfield, MO
    Bantymum-I had one on my chest last night for about 1/2 hour watching t.v. She just laid down and watched the dogs play with each other. she took a wee nap before I put her back out with the others for the night. [​IMG]
  10. SarahF

    SarahF Songster

    wow, i clearly don't spend enough time with my 5 girls like some of you do. isnt anyone worried about all the poop? I have 5 three week old Barred Rocks, coming along very nicely, and I spend over all about an hour a day with them. I usually feed them their dinner around 5:30 and than sit beside their cage with my Cat on my lap. He loves to watch them. He puts his paw (declawed) in the cage and they peck at him. He clearly didn't learn, as he put his nose right against the cage, and he got pecked pretty good! haha it was so funny. he just shook his head like "ma, why did they just do that?" very cute! He doesn't want to hurt them, he just wants to play. I think he's scared of them a bit.
    They grow so much each day, my husband and I are very excited to see it all happen.
    I will definitly handle them more often, as i would love for my chickens to look for my attention.

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