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How soon to start handling chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Pepper Paul, Mar 10, 2016.

  1. Pepper Paul

    Pepper Paul New Egg

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    Mar 8, 2016
    Burlington, WA
    We're bringing home our first four or five chicks tomorrow. With two daughters, 13 and 11, they will want to hold and play with them as soon as possible. How soon after bringing them them home is it okay to start handling them? Read quite a bit but haven't seen this question answered. Thanks all. Excited to get our chicks!
     
  2. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    [​IMG]

    It is ok to handle them a little each day. A better way to "handle" them is to let them come to you. To do this I would have a small amount of feed in the palm of my hand and place it so they can see there is feed there. They are curious by nature and will come to check it out. Letting them get used to the hand meaning good things are there is a great way to start on getting them to not be afraid of you.

    They are tiny and delicate so should be treated accordingly. To much handling can result in a stress reaction causing the immune system to fail. Be careful and kind and they will be ok.

    With my chickens I did the above and then when they are older I would pet them each morning and each evening only a bit and they are quite tame.
    Breed type does play a HUGE roll in how tame they may become. Some chickens are skittish by nature while others are more calm.

    Most importantly know that a chicken will not act like a lap dog so is unlikely to want to be handled much and even less likely to want to sit in your lap. Now if you have a sandwich look out lol.
    Love them for the curious creatures they are and accept that they are what they are personality wise and all will be well. They are a hoot to watch for sure.

    OH and hand washing before and after having the hands in the brooder is very very important for them and for you and yours.

    That is the best advice I can give on the matter. I hope it helps.
     
  3. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 7, 2016
    Saint Louis, MO
    I have several 7 week old chicks that want to be on my lap being petted. I trained them all with treats (waxworms) to allow handling so I would have less problems in the future. A few of them apparently decided that they enjoyed it even without treats! It helps that I did pick my breed for both docility as well as egg-laying I am sure.
     
  4. Pepper Paul

    Pepper Paul New Egg

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    Mar 8, 2016
    Burlington, WA
    This is actually a huge help. I will have both of my daughters read this when I get home to help them understand how to interact with the chicks. They're both pretty mature and responsible, so I don't envision any issues.

    Next question, when is it okay to take them outside to explore in an enclosed area, assuming the weather is decent? We live in the Seattle area, so I would define decent weather as at or above 50* and not raining.
     
  5. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    Things change just like kids growing up. One day they wont want to be seen with you.

    When they start maturing and get to laying age they change personality a lot. Just so you all are prepared.

    Lots of folks raise the chicks outside in the coop that they will call home. I started taking my pampered house chicks out when they hit 3 weeks old. Make sure you have a hardware cloth enclosed area so there are no oops into a shrub or into trouble.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
  6. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 7, 2016
    Saint Louis, MO
    I really do not need lap chickens! I already have a line of cats just waiting for me to sit down and two dogs who have perfected "the lean"! I'd be satisfied if at the end of maturation that they let me check leg bands, gather eggs, and do brief health checks. Oh, and didn't attack me. ;)

    Pepper Paul, if they have somewhere that they can briefly warm up during their outside jaunts, I'd say as early as a week old. If not, then I'd wait until they were feathered just so that they didn't get chilled. They are wearing little down jackets, but their immune systems are still immature so getting chilled has a greater consequence.
     

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