Jumpy/scared chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by NikSmith, Mar 8, 2014.

  1. NikSmith

    NikSmith Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 4, 2013
    I have 22 chicks which are 3 weeks old. Every time I give them food, water, adjust things in their brooder etc, they get SUPER jumpy and run into the corner. It's hard to pick them up because they're all cramming for the corner!
    Is this the normal?!
    If it matters, I have ameracaunas, gold and silver wyandottes, some barred rocks, a silkie, a polish guy, and a crested one...
     
  2. Araucana16

    Araucana16 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Denver, CO
    It depends, but yes, in general, that isn't uncommon.

    You can start all over with taming them. There is an article somewhere here... give me a moment!

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-to-socialize-baby-chickens

    There it is.

    Basically, start small. If they have had time to adjust, start by just putting your hand in for a while. Eventually they'll stop being afraid of it, and apparently they start to love it!
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2014
  3. Araucana16

    Araucana16 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 18, 2013
    Denver, CO
    Those are fairly docile breeds, not very flighty, so it won't be hard to tame them once you have their trust.
     
  4. NikSmith

    NikSmith Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 4, 2013
    Thanks! Ya, right now they're in 2 big cardboard boxes (cut so it's pretty much One box) so it's slightly hard to get your hand in there with the heatlight in the way and then the sides of the box up! (I saw one sitting on the edge of the box, so up went the sides!)
    I"m hoping that once they're out of the box, and in the coop, but barricaded to an area that it'll be easier. I just didn't know if it was normal or not!!
     
  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    I was having the same issue because when I first got my chicks I had to treat most of them for "Pasty Butt", which meant that they didn't like me much! We are past that now, and I was trying to figure out a way to regain their trust. Then I read about how smart chickens are - so I put it to the test. Guess what? Chickens are smart!

    I started by lining the bottom of a clear sterilite box with paper towels and then laying it on its side in the corner of the brooder. They always panicked and ran for that corner, so this time there was a little box just waiting for them. Once they were in there, I gently tipped the box right side up, put a bit of screen on top, then cleaned the brooder, changed the water and feed, put in a little grit and a treat like finely chopped kale or apple, and then slowly removed the screen from the top. At this point in the process I started making a little noise - hard to describe but it's like a soft chirp followed by three of those sounds that you make when you click your tongue on the roof of your mouth. Anyway, you can make up your own sound, just be very consistent. I make that sound as I take each one out of the sterilite, pet them a little even if they are screaming at me, and then put each one back in the brooder right near the treat. I have been doing this for only about 3 days, and already now when I walk into the room where the brooder is they don't panic as badly as long as I'm making that "comfort" sound - in fact 5 or 6 of them are now starting to watch me and move toward me when they hear me. I'm not joking - this has really helped! I should add, for the sake of disclosure, that after the 2nd day they no longer fell for the old "sterilite in the corner" routine so I was back to picking them up one by one, but I don't make that sound until they are going back into the brooder and we can almost see them relax.

    You can find your own method because what works for me might not work for you. I just figured that if I always made the same noise as they enjoyed their treat they might start associating that sound with something nice happening. By golly, for the most part they do. I have a few who still don't trust me, but the others have started getting over their fear little by little. Pearl and Gladys even tolerate me stroking them while they are in the brooder. Don't give up!
     
  6. Sarevan

    Sarevan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 30, 2013
    White Swan, WA
    I talk to them make clicking noise the entire time I am opening the brooder up for cleaning and transferring to a box. They act like they are being murdered. Putting my hand in and letting them investigate it before picking them up helps but still squeal.

    After cleaning the brooder and picking them up to put back I talk to them, give them all a check over. I have them on their backs on the palm of my hand, check bellies, crops, feet, vents. Then flip over check wings and head area. Pet them a bit and they calm down. I then put them back in brooder having them hop off my hand and do this for all of them. They will be 2 weeks old Monday (buff orpington) are doing very well in the plastic bin, will have to move into the dog crate this coming week for more room.

    When ever I go by the box I talk to them and they are starting to look forward to me putting my hand in, they hop into my palm, peck at my nails and are cheeping back at me now. Still act like being murdered when moved but not as long or bad as when first started.
     

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