how often to hold them

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by erindubb, May 16, 2010.

  1. erindubb

    erindubb Songster

    Apr 18, 2010
    Hi - I have three baby chicks. I got them on Friday. One was two weeks old and two were three days old. I am wondering how often we need to hold them for them to not be scared of us. Or for them to be tame when they are older. I have a friend with chickens and they are all grown and big and they peck at the kids and run away from them - very hard to catch. But, they hardly held them as babies. So, right now the two littlest are bantys and they are easy to catch and hold but certainly scatter and run when we try to get them. The older one is a barred rock and it runs around - um, like a chicken - when I try to get it. They are all in a big box as a brooder and they are really hard to catch. We hold them a few times a day - but they still seem to hate it. They chirp loudly and tremble until we put them back in. I thought they were cold - but they don't go back in by the light - so they just don't like to be held. I understand I should hold them 'as much as possible" but I work full time and when I come home - I do have other things to do than hold chickens. [​IMG] I make sure to do it everyday though. But, I was wondering what your experiences are.
    Thanks for any advice!
  2. RAWR

    RAWR Songster

    May 26, 2009
    who wants to know?
    hold them as much as u can, when you can
  3. noodleroo

    noodleroo Snuggles with Chickens

    Apr 29, 2010
    Rockport, Tx
    I'm by far no expert, but this is what I suggest:

    (1) First, put them in a smaller, clear sided brooder. Talk to them in a calm tone every time you approach. The idea is that you want them to see you comming so that you don't just suddenly 'appear' and startle them. You want it smaller so that when you reach in, you don't have to 'chase' them to pick them up. If you have to chase them, they'll think you're a predator for sure. Its earier to slowly 'corner' them in a smaller brooder.

    (2) Gently slip one hand under them while 'cupping' the other hand over their back so that their head is sticking out between your top hand index finger and thumb.

    (3) Slowly lift them and hold them with your hands in that same position to the area of your chest just below your chin.

    (4) I don't know if anybody does this next part besides me, but it really works; let warm air from your mouth encompass the area between your hands (that includes the chick) by placing your mouth just behind the chick's head, open your mouth kind of wide, think of making you throat really wide (to help warm the air) and just barely exhale. Usually you will feel the chick relax a little as you do this.

    (5) Once the chick does relax, you can use your thumbs to pet the chick on the side of the head and neck in the under-ear area and its chest. Slow and gentle is the key in all of this. Find time do this at least 2 times a day. Hope this helps...
  4. pharmchickrnmom

    pharmchickrnmom Songster

    Apr 13, 2010
    I have 8 chicks that are now 5 weeks old. We held them every day even if it was only a few minutes. I always made sure to speak to them first when I went to the basement so they would hear my voice and know that I was coming. I would stand by their brooder box and speak quietly, then reach in and gently pick them up by twos when they were very little, still speaking in a quiet voice. I would hold them and stroke them, continuously speaking to them. They now know that when I call to them, I am coming to pet them or hold them or give them treats. Some still protest when I pick them up but settle down and enjoy the stroking I give them, especially when I find the sweet spot!!! Just keep at it. Not all of them will like it, but they will at least accept it. My barred rock Flo loves to roost on me and talks to me when I talk to her.

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