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How often to hold them to make them pets?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mandelyn, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. mandelyn

    mandelyn Crowing

    Aug 30, 2009
    Mt Repose, OH
    My Coop
    Ok, so I'm not new to birds, but I have only hatched 3 times in the last 10 years, and have forgotten all the little things I knew from hatching 3 years straight 15 years ago. I hatched, and hatched, and hatched some more and got to be pretty well versed in all things eggs and chick related. Then I became a grown up, moved out on my own, and waited patiently until I could have chickens.

    Had some last year when I thought my husband was going to be out of the Army, he wasn't yet, moved again, now he's out, and I have birds again.

    I have 3 2 week old chicks right now, and some more due in a week. They seem to be getting flighty. They started out "tame" enough, I showed them food, and water, and held them a little, and gave them a momma skunk to cuddle with. I visit 2-3 times a day to pull shavings out of the water and make sure their feed level is good. I make it a point to hold the known boy frequently, but he's still getting shy.

    The breed is Golden Lakenvelder, known to be a bit flighty anyways. So do I need to hold them a lot more than I am currently to grow them into adults I can just pick up off the ground?

    Last year, I bought POL aged birds, and tamed them down. The rooster would fly to my lap, and his hen would too, just to sit with me. No food offered! They came from a large batch, so I highly doubt they had a lot of handling. They were Old English Game, a variety I always had in the past and they were always great pets.

    Right now I have two Red Star and they were highly handled Easter chicks. They're about the best pet chickens I have ever had. My goal is to have all my birds be like them. The rest of the flock... are not like that. The Spanish think I'm out to get them, though if I sit quiet and talk to them they don't mind. The Astralorp and New Hampshire are highly food motivated and have figured out I'm the key for food, but they don't want to just hang out with me. They're gone as soon as the food is.

    So my question, if you have a known flighty breed, how often are you holding them to make pets of them? Do you bring them to the couch to watch TV and cuddle? Do you tote them around with you? Or do you just visit at the brooder and that proves to be enough to make a lasting impression?

    All I remember is having exceedingly sweet roosters, large batches of chicks, but all turned out tame, much like the pair of OE I bought as adults. But I also had Frizzle, Cochins, Aurocana, Seabrights in both colors, Black Rosecomb, Silkies, and some others. All tame.

    Do I need to be holding these little guys once a day or three times a day to keep them tame?

  2. wilkey44

    wilkey44 In the Brooder

    Nov 14, 2010
    Central Oklahoma
    I am big on waiting until they are feathered out so they can maintain their temp better then they are as chicks and then as much as you would like the more time you spend the friendlier they are, just as if with any other bird
  3. magicpigeon

    magicpigeon Songster

    Oct 9, 2010
    I handfeed my chicks, so this might help, though if you have a flighty breed, my advice is to handle as much as possible [​IMG] EDIT: think of it like visiting young relatives. The better they get to know you, the friendlier they are. Good luck [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2010
  4. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    If you have a breed noted for flightiness, they probably won't end up being cuddly pets, no matter how much you handle them. That has been my personal experience.

    That said, I discovered this summer that one of the most important keys to tameness, is the initial approach. Coming at your chicks from above will frighten them and lead to mistrust. Approaching them from the side, allowing them to see all of you seems to generate trust. I also spend a lot of "one-on-one" time with each one as a baby every day. I call it "lap-training". I get one or two at a time out of the brooder to cuddle when I cruise the internet in the evening.

    My Wyandottes are all stand-offish, even the ones I raised recently, though they're tamer than the older ones raised in a top-access brooder. My Ameraucanas are all, without exception, the most tame and all love to do as much lap-time as I'm willing to give them. I have one youngster who has taken to riding around on my head or shoulder when I clean the pen each day. And all of my Brahmas are exceedingly cuddly characters, even the roo.

    So, those are the tips I have - side approach when young, lots of lap time as they grow, and try to obtain breeds known for tameness.
  5. noodleroo

    noodleroo Snuggles with Chickens

    Apr 29, 2010
    Rockport, Tx
    I have lots of taming info on my BYC page. Some will be tamer than others, but the more you show them that there is nothing to fear from you AND that being held is comforting, the more apt they are to tame down...Consistency is the key...
  6. froggiesheins

    froggiesheins Crowing

    Oct 14, 2010
    Jurupa Valley, CA
    Well lets see, as I type this I have a 3 month old Serama hen in my vest snoozing and purring and a 6 day old serama chick helping me type this post. I have learned that when you are hatching in an incubator, the first critter those chickies see when the hatch is MOMMA--so you are "the one", I feel that is the most important part when it comes to truely bonding with these fuzzy-butts. I am just into this for the pet part--chicken make really great pets!
    When I get up in the AM the 3 of us have coffee together at the kitchen table for 30 mins. These 2 go out side in the coop with the 2 "big" birds (baby is inside a small covered cage) for the day. (I live in Southern CA) In the afternoon baby rides in my T-shirt while I do chores etc..We have dinner together and then it playtime in the evening. I engage baby with chase after my fingers and other assorted silly nonsense. I find this quality time with the young'ins works great to turn them into pets. Be a kid again and play with them to yer hearts content. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2010
  7. matimeo

    matimeo Songster

    Jul 29, 2010
    A chickens heart and brain are both located in the stomach. Feeding them out of your hand makes them much friendlier, in my limited experience.

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