How "young" must chicks be to ensure good pets?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Montpelierchicks, May 16, 2011.

  1. Montpelierchicks

    Montpelierchicks New Egg

    May 16, 2011
    Hi There,

    I'm new to the world of BYC and trying to find our first set of chicks. I want good layers, who are great with kids, and hearty in the winter. Basically, we want pets first and layers second.

    There's a lot of great info on this site about breeds and favorites. Also, everyone says, "handle a lot from as young as possible."

    There are some chicks for sale near us that are a few weeks old. Is that too old to acclimate them to humans? Should I hold out my quest for day-old chicks, or is a few weeks just fine.

    I know there's never a one-size fits all answer, but any insights would be appreciated.


  2. SunnyCalifornia

    SunnyCalifornia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 8, 2010
    Escondido CA
    Sure, a few weeks old is fine. You can't really handle day olds for a few weeks anyways, they are too fragile.

    Edit: I should have added for clarity, I don't allow my KIDS to handle day olds for a few weeks... LOL. [​IMG]

    I've gotten chicks as old as 5--6 weeks, and they are still just fine. Overall friendliness does depend on the breed, I'm sure you've already researched which are friendliest. Keep in mind too, they get much more friendly when they start laying. Younger pullets can be a bit skiddish until then.
    Last edited: May 16, 2011
  3. Wizbop

    Wizbop Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 27, 2010
    Greensboro, NC
    That will be just fine. Go for it!
  4. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I think you'll find that breed is more of a determination of friendliness than age.

    From my personal experience with several breeds, my Ameraucanas have all been the most friendly. My most friendly one happened to be a four-year old adopted hen who quickly adopted me. Michelle would hop onto my head to escape the attentions of the young cockerel who was attempting to rule the roost. She wasn't raised by me, but she certainly felt I belonged to her. She was killed last summer by a bobcat.

    My present fleet of Ameraucanas (EE's) are all extremely cuddly. They all lay a different shade of green or blue egg.
  5. hudsonhousechicks

    hudsonhousechicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 2, 2010
    I am the Grand Dame of Chicken Mauling. We got our 5 chicks last year. They ranged from 1 week in age to three weeks. We handled all of them very regularly and they are still very different. I have two Buff Orpingtons. One literally RUNS to me and can't wait to get into my lap where she nestles under my neck. Her doppelganger will have none of this. Then we have two Speckled Sussex. Again, one is a "lapdog" while the other is very independent. What's stranger still is that the lapdog was very stand-offish even at 3 and 4 months of age. She really changed after she started laying. Our fifth bird turned out to be a roo. I can hold him and he is very tolerant of it but he will pretty much attack anyone else. He can be a real jerk but I love him. I wouldn't have him around kids though. I guess bottom line - long story short as they say...they're all very different. Good luck and have fun!
  6. JulieNKC

    JulieNKC Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 25, 2010
    Kansas City
    My hens I got that were a year old are just as friendly as my day olds. It tool them some time to warm up, they weren't "pets" where they came from. My baby chicks always went through a scared stage too though.
  7. Montpelierchicks

    Montpelierchicks New Egg

    May 16, 2011
    All - thank you for your replies and sharing your experience. I guess I failed to realize that these guys/gals are little individuals, and although some rules apply (e.g. - breed, handling) there will always be exceptions.

    Thanks again - this really was helpful!
  8. Two Creeks Farm

    Two Creeks Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 23, 2011
    Hedgesville, WV
    We always seemed to have nice roosters versus hens. Our two roo's would jump onto my boys handle bars and go for rides!

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