I'm pretty sure my chicks hate us.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by AmandaKyle, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. AmandaKyle

    AmandaKyle Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    I've had chickens for about 4 years. This is the fourth time I've raised day old chicks. Right now I have 3 in the brooder, one of which I incubated and hatched myself. Her hatchmates didn't make it, so I got her two little friends of the exact same age. The one I hatched is an RIR, and I also have a Speckled Sussex and a Blue Cochin. The RIR and Sussex flip out when any of us try to handle them. The Blue Cochin tries to avoid being picked up, but she is calm when being handled. The birds are in our home office so they see and hear us frequently. I carried the RIR around for 3 solid days until I was able to get her some friends. Is this just a breed thing? Am I doing something wrong?

    My 9 year old daughter is SO sad that the birds don't like her or want to be held. We've got 5 more in the incubator and I *really* would like to raise up some friendlier chickens. I have few outside who were raised by a broody and don't like being handled. Honestly, that just doesn't work when they need Blu Kote, a hen saddle, etc.

    Any advice on what we can do to raise friendlier chicks?

    Thanks so much!

    Here's a pic of my daughter with our Blue Splash Marans hen, just cause!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. craziesfarm

    craziesfarm Just Hatched

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    My RIR doesn't like to be held either. The breeds I have that let me handle them the most are Porcelain d'uccle and silkies. As a side note in case you are interested in other farm animals, in our backyard we have a couple of pygmy goats- They will give you lots of attention and sometimes get on your nerves.
     
  3. AmandaKyle

    AmandaKyle Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Ha! I'm sure sooner or later there will be some goats in my yard, but not for the next few years! Welcome to BYC, btw! [​IMG]
     
  4. ChickenChaser9

    ChickenChaser9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have heard RIRs can be pretty flighty but Cochins are supposed to be a friendly docile breed. Chicks are naturally wary and since humans are so tall reaching for them usually triggers their aerial predator instincts to flee. Try sitting down amongst them and letting them approach you. They are curious and if you are patient they will get over their nerves and investigate. Best Wishes!
     
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    If you're reaching down for your chicks in a top access brooding container, that would be the problem. Chicken Chaser points out it triggers a predator response.

    Try slipping your hand slowly down the side of the container and then sliding it across the floor of the brooder toward the chick, then butt your hand up against the toes of the chick you wish to pick up. the chick will step onto your hand, then slide the other hand around the chick to cup it and lift it out of the brooder.

    If you are using a plastic tote, consider a cardboard appliance box instead. You can fashion it into a brooder with a side access and it makes handling chicks so much easier, and the chicks are much more relaxed about being handled when they can see your arms and hands are attached to a human and not a scary monster from the sky.

    Click on my article linked below in my sig line on outdoor brooding . It has pictures of a cardboard brooder as well as a window brooder, both with side access.
     
  6. AmandaKyle

    AmandaKyle Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    This is really good advice. I should really just take them out one at a time and let them have a few treats out of my hand. I honestly think it's the RIR that gets the other two so frazzled. I know they're going on deeply ingrained instincts, but it's so frustrating sometimes. I was the first person my RIR ever saw. I have never done anything but be gentle with her and feed her. The abject terror she reacts to me with is exhausting.
     
  7. ChickenChaser9

    ChickenChaser9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There is nothing you can do to avoid triggering that flight instinct because grasping monkey hands look like Death From Above to their tiny chicken brains. Like Azygous said, you want to get down on their level so they can see that a hawk is not dive bombing them and move slowly. My brooder was large enough for me to actually enter so I could sit with them allow them to calm down and approach me instead of chasing them around which only increases their stress and flight instincts. Just relax and although they need to be reminded each time you are not going to kill them be cool and they will come over especially if you have a treat to share. Best wishes!
     
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