I don't think my chicks like me -- help!


9 Years
Feb 23, 2010
Orange County, California
I've been a mama of 3 chicks for 2 whole weeks -- so I'm pretty new. I adore them & try to hold them a lot -- I want them to grow up & be friendly with people. But they don't seem to like being held one bit! They peep & complain and try to get away.... is that pretty normal? What are good treats to feed them? I've tried bits of banana, cucumber & these cheeto-looking bird treats I got at Petsmart -- they don't seem to like any of it! Please help me before my self-esteem begins to suffer!!! Ha ha ha -- thanks much!


9 Years
Feb 8, 2010
Chandler, AZ
How old are they and how often do you hold them? Temperature being used?

Personality has everything to do with chickens and the second week (in my opinion) is when their personality shines.
My own chickas are great examples: one likes to cuddle, follows me about and the other hates being pet but will sit happily on you. Just don't touch.
I notice you say your trying to hold them a lot, what does that imply? They are in your hands/arms?
Chicks tend to stress out when handled too much. I pick mine up every now and then during play time however only when they move somewhere I don't want them too. Or they are about to fall. :X
The rest of the time they are on my lap or running around me, they fly up onto me when they feel. I suppose it could be that you are holding them too much there for the experience isn't liked.
When they get a bit older they tend to calm down, they have to be at least two weeks now so maybe you have a flighty breed? So..what breed?

Treats...meal worms and crickets! Grains like plain oatmeal works too. All in moderation.

Oh PS: I think this would fit into raising baby chicks section more.
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RT Poultry n Things
10 Years
Jun 29, 2009
from Alaska

That is really pretty normal behavior for young chicks.
Treats- try scrambled egg mixed with chick starter.

Flowers of Abba

Mar 7, 2009
South lake tahoe
I agree with the last post.... maybe trying too hard? Not that you should spend less time, just different.

My kids are welcome to take the chicks out of the brooder at any time. I notice they have more fun if they try to teach the chicks to perch on their finger. (a few inches off of the floor to start) eventually you will notice who the friendly birds are going to be. They will start to settle down and take a nap. It's the best when you can go into the hen house and perch them on your arm without them freaking out!

Remember, its personality, and they are like kids THEY CHANGE CONSTANTLY!!!

Try not to give too many treats too young.

Keep up the effort.


13 Years
Aug 2, 2009
Southwestern Washington State
I'm no expert, but our batch was like that when they were little too. Let them come to you. I fed them chick starter from my hand and that seemed to make me their friend. I would do this when the feeder was empty or covered with the shavings and they were unable to find it and hungrier.

Believe me, they willl boost your self esteem later! They come to know you bring "goodies" even if it is just their food and water so they will come running as close to you as they can get if they see you. However mine still don't enjoy being picked up very much. They like to choose how close they are to me. Chickens are not like cats or dogs but have their own way of interacting. Mine like to "perch" on me sometimes but like to pick when to do this and not have me choose.

Just make sure you try to handle each one every day so they will submit to handling when you need to later. This worked well for me. We do have a couple that were always more friendly and they are still that way. Another one has always been a character.

We raised three breeds the same way and they each came out with the personality of their "group" so genetics seems to play a big part. Our Buff Orpingtons were always calmer, the RIR friendly, and the Russian Orloffs flighty. We handled them all the same and it is still so.

If I had it to do over, I would handle the "flighty" ones more.


10 Years
Aug 19, 2009

Don't get discouraged. I have raised two groups of chickens. The first acted like my best friends (wild dogs got them). The last hated me up until they started laying eggs. It didn't matter how many treats I gave, how clean I kept the coop, how often I let them out, how much I talked to them or how often I sat in my yard like a child with a new pet...they hated me. Now, they see my car pull into the yard and they all purk up. If they are in their pin they yell for me to come over and if they are in the yard they all run over to me. Good granny if I have to bring in the bags from the store. That is a sight to see.

Don't worry they will come around.
Just keep giving treats and being their friend.


13 Years
Jun 21, 2009
My first 3 chicks were much friendlier than the second batch. They would happily sit on my hand - one more than the others. The second batch were curious but treated me like I was GODZILLA. I try to talk to them all the time, give treats. Actually some are friendly but they don't sit on me or like to be handled much. I still admire them from afar and occassionally I will hold one from time to time. I have had to give a couple a bubble bath and they did not mind being washed and blow dried. I would love a chicken that is snuggly and cuddly but so far I don't have any like that. The little chick that loved to sit on my hand unfortunately, I lost her when my dog tried to play with her.

I am not giving up.

My barred rock will sit next to me any time I am eating cheese - if I offer her a little and all will take treats from my hand.

They are all different personalities.



10 Years
Aug 17, 2009
Monroe, North Carolina

Like all the other posts above, I've had chicks that didn't like me, and chicks that got all over me for a bread crumb. My best ones were speckled sussex and d'uccles. Calm, laid back, patient girls who tolerated my mistakes and taught me a lot. My next breed will be old english game bantams, which I've seen luxuriating in the hands of children, eating up the attention. I've heard lots of good things about cochins, too.

A couple of things that an old chicken keeper taught me; if you can scoop them up to hold them without chasing them around they'll be a lot calmer. If they feel like they've been chased and caught, they might feel like you're about to eat them. Also, learn to call them like their mama would, that high pitched cluck-cluck sound that is baby talk for "look here, kids! treats!" and then drop little bits for them, like tiny bits of broccolli or a nice, wriggly mealworm.

And stick around here at BYC. You sound like you're well on your way to chicken addiction, and you'll need the support.


Poultry Crank
12 Years
Feb 4, 2007
Leesville, SC
By now someone has told you that is normal. They are terrestrial birds by nature and anything bigger than themselves is *wisely* perceived as a threat. Yes, you can lure them with treats and get them to sit on you long enough to poop on your lap. Some people consider that being liked.

I, on the other hand, reckon that any critter which shows its gratitude by sh***ing on me is immediately suspect.
But heck, with persistence, they may cease to scatter at your approach - maybe. That's something.

But they will always be prey and you a threat. Keep in mind, the chicken has some serious survival instincts at work in their little pea brains. They aren't really domesticated, as we think, but rather live in a sort of half-light between wild and tame.
They don't know you are being nice to them and so desperately want their love and affection. They can't possibly - they're chickens. What they do know - as far as it goes - is that everything wants to eat them.
Do some googling on a phenomenon known as the 'predatory triangle' and you'll see what I'm driving at.

Ultimately, the best you can hope for is a simulacrum of friendliness, with you seen as non-threatening to them and so "accepted."
(They aren't really thinking that, but it makes us feel good to think so.)

Personally, I don't think it is in a chicken to *like* a human. Oh, they may tolerate us, maybe even accept us, should we not do anything alarming. They will certainly show excitement to see the feed bucket - even if a human is attached to it.
But true love, liking and affection? I'm in the camp that says the jury is still out on that one.

So, I know that what I'm about to say will sound harsh to some, and surely spark another endless debate on this topic - but here it comes anyway:

If you want love, affection and bonding from a pet, get a dog or cat.

And welcome to BYC. After years with chickens, I remain convinced of what I've said above. However, this doesn't diminish that they remain one of the most useful, fascinating and endearing of all God's creatures.
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13 Years
Jun 21, 2009
Yes it is true they are always going to think like prey and we are always bigger than they are. If we are lucky, we can get one to sit and not be afraid to be near us.

My son is very interested in faloning and they train you to try to understand that a falcon will never be snuggly or cuddly and that you can't expect that of them. I think it is a bonus if you have a friendly chicken but it should not be expected for them all to be snuggly and cuddly.

In the mean time, do your best by all the animals in your care and doing a good job should be reward enough.

Just my humble opinion'

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