Making friends with your babies

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Reinbeau, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. Reinbeau

    Reinbeau The Teapot Underground Premium Member

    My babies will be four weeks old this Wednesday, July 2. I was one of the people asking whether or not they would ever 'like' me.

    I've spent lots of time with small pieces of birdseed in my palm. I've strained out all the larger pieces, so they mostly get white millet and bits of sunflower seeds. I pour a little in both palms and hold them open down on their level. They absolutely love it. They peck my palms clean in moments. I also hold little green weeds in for them to pick at, that sends them into spasms of ecstasy! [​IMG]

    At first one of the Buff Orps would fly up onto my arms even when I had nothing. Then one of the Americaunas. Then a Barred Rock. The Golden Laced Wyondottes were very slow to warm up to me, but even they are flying onto my arms now, sometimes I've got five of them walking around on me, they jostle each other off to get a position. It's adorable! There's only one, my lighter colored Americauna, who is still very stand-offish, although now she is pecking at the greens in my hands - but she still won't come for bird seed. Oh well, patience is a virtue, they say, and so far it's paid off for the other 14 chickies.

    I am careful to announce my presence in the room before approaching the brooder, otherwise, if I'm too quick, they all scurry around frantically, shrieking, it's a frenzied thing and I don't think it's good for them.

    My point is, have patience. It takes some time to get them used to you. Bring them treats and they will anticipate nothing but good from you!

    The funniest thing happened today. The brooder box is a high-sided cardboard box. I've cut a flap into it that I fold down when I want to do anything in there with them. I entered the room calling 'Hi Chick-chick-chick!" and the bold/friendly Americauna flew up onto the top of the flap so vigorously it fell open! Well, she landed on the floor (softly and upright) and looked up at me with this "What happened??!?" look on her face. It was so cute. I picked her up and put her back in the box, she was fine.

    They are so much fun - but they really need to get into their coop, they're getting so big! But that's another thread......
     
  2. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

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    While I never wondered if my chicks would "like" me, I did inwardly fret a bit if they'd be as tame as I'd hoped. They love to sit on me but would rarely make the iniative to get on my lap.

    Whelp, that changed this weekend! They're about a month old now and RUN as soon as they hear or see me. They've started jumping into my lap & settling down for a nap. They've also realized that Jenn=food. I wonder if that has something to do with it? I also wonder if the month-old mark is when they're cognitively developed enough to remember individuals.

    I've made a point to only call them "here-chick-chick" when I have a treat. Classical conditioning, I say!

    So, I do agree w/ Reinbeau that it'll happen. Be patient, treat your chicks with kindness & give them treats. They'll come around.
     
  3. donnap1967

    donnap1967 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My silkies are only a week old so I can't really try the treats thing yet. They are so skittish I fell like they are never going to "like" me either. I did try taking them out and putting some starter crumbles in my hand but they preferred pecking at the old tablecloth I had spread over the carpeting rather than come too close to my hands.

    They don't like the yogurt I offered at all. I think they are actually afraid of it and when I dabbed a little on ones beak it was so grossed out it kept wiping it's beak off on the floor, lol.

    Maybe in a couple weeks I can try to win them over with some treats.
     
  4. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

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    Put some crumbles on the yogurt. It may take a few times but they'll figure it out.
     
  5. donnap1967

    donnap1967 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeh, I tried the crumbles on top, actually, almost completely covered the yogurt. I figured I could trick them into trying it. I think they were afraid of the plate. I did try putting a little smidge if it on the floor for them but they looked at me like I was nuts! lol

    Maybe in a couple weeks I can try fruit and sneak some yogurt in there.
     
  6. DottieMarie

    DottieMarie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for starting this thread; I've been wondering why my birds do like me. I've been reading how tame chickens can be and Buff Orp. especially, yet mine stay as far away from as they can. (they are 2 and 3 weeks)
    It's good to hear that maybe in a couple more weeks and some hand feeding, they may come around.
     
  7. mylilchix

    mylilchix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Good topic! I've been wondering if there are some tricks to get my girls less skittish around me. I've tried food in my palm, talking to them, taking them out and cuddling with them. The only that's worked with is one of my sweet ameraucana. I'm wondeirng if things will improve once we get out to the coop.

    Sonja
     
  8. tygab

    tygab Chillin' With My Peeps

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    yes, good topic. Mine are 6 weeks and while I'm not expecting affection I would settle for less fear, allowing me to pick them up more readily... mainly they get themselves in a tizzy when I have to clean the brooder and put new shavings in, even though I move slowly, talk to them softly and handle them (when I can catch them) gently. I do not try to chase them but I do have to catch them sometimes to move them in or out of the brooder.

    Anyway, when they have supervised play time they act less fearful, a few even come up and tug on my laces but overall they screech every time I pick them up... the idea of "petting" seems foreign to them....

    maybe it will change, I am going to try and bring more treats out and hope that helps. yesterday was the first time they tried the yogurt (decided I wasn't trying to kill them with it or something).
     
  9. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

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    For the most part, the first 2 weeks mine were in a brooder, they were very skittish. If I talked softly to them and put crumbles in my hands, they would come eat out of my hands, but most of them always acted a little skittish. I put them in their coop at 2 weeks old and it made all the difference. I was able to sit on the floor with them and they started crawling all over me, flying up to my shoulders and head, and soon ran to me when I entered their coop.

    It does take patience and a little work. But the sooner you can sit with them around you, I think you'll find it easier to get them used to you. I had to come at them from the top when they were in a brooder, and I think their instincts screamed "predator!" when I did that. Getting down on "their level" really made all the difference for me.

    Penny
     
  10. donnap1967

    donnap1967 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I like to spread an old tablecloth or sheet on the floor and set them out on it for some playtime. I lay on the floor at their level and just watch. They are so cute. I tried putting some food in my hand but they weren't interested.

    This past time I sprinkled th crumbles on the ground and just layed my hand very close to the pile. They eventually, carefully came over and ate around my fingers. I figure it's going to be slow going but we may yet make some progress.

    I took them outside for a bit today for the second time in their little lives. I was sitting about three feet from them in the grass calling to them and they just sat there. Then someone started their car nearby and they all ran to me like they couldnt move fast enough! It was really funny, poor things. So I guess even though they don't want me to catch them they are certainly not above running to me for protection when they get scared enough! [​IMG]
     

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