My Chickens are Chickens - Did I Screw Up?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by RGBistro, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. RGBistro

    RGBistro Chirping

    Jun 17, 2011
    Orange County, CA
    So my chickens are CHICKENS. Every time I reach into the brooder to clean their water, fill their food, etc. they run for the corner and smash their faces against the seam of the box. All 8 of them. It's almost like they're convinced I'm going to kidnap them.

    Here's a photo of them from last night at three weeks old:


    Well, crap. Maybe I do freak them out. :(Am I doing something wrong? Should I be taking them out and spending more time with them? (Other people talk about baby chicks coming into their hands and falling asleep on their laps. Definitely NOT happening with my chickies.)

    On an unrelated note: Can I clip their wings at this stage? My brooder doesn't have a top, and I've been seeing poop on top of their waterer.... so I know "someone(s)" been sitting up there. I don't want them to start flying around. Help?

    Thanks. [​IMG]

    - Kim

  2. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    Treats. That is the way to their hearts. I start with their regular food soaked to make a paste. I don't know why they love that so much more than their food dry, but they do. Mealworms is another thing that nearly all of them LOVE - once that first braveheart gets one. Or crickets. But treats, and make them take them from your hand. You'll win them over. Also sit on the ground and don't just be that lumbering giant they see sometimes.

    Edit: Yes you can clip their wings but putting a cover on the brooder would be better

    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011
  3. My month-old chicks will take meal worms from my hand, but are pretty skittish otherwise. They're being raised by a broody hen so I don't get to handle them much. When I raised my first crop in a brooder, I gave them plain yogurt mixed with oatmeal and they loved it!

    You will need some kind of a top on that brooder because they WILL get out.
  4. clairabean

    clairabean Songster

    Nov 7, 2010
    Kootenays of BC!
    Yup, treats. Some are cuddlers, some are not. I do love this stage, though. They are not soft, cuddly things anymore. My 4 year old son calls them 'teeny dinosaurs' at thsi stage! Akward teens is more like it!

    You can clip their wings, but don't count on it. They are amazing little creatures!

  5. RGBistro

    RGBistro Chirping

    Jun 17, 2011
    Orange County, CA
    Thanks guys! [​IMG]

    I will make them like me I will make them like me I will make them like me...
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2011
  6. Cadjien_De_Louisiane

    Cadjien_De_Louisiane SWLA Gamefowl Breeder

    Apr 18, 2011
    Welsh, LA
    I would at least handle each of them once a day and try to get them to eat out of you hand.
  7. Quote:your hand is coming down from above them.. like a predator.. that's one of the main reasons why they get scared and run away

  8. RGBistro

    RGBistro Chirping

    Jun 17, 2011
    Orange County, CA
    Quote:your hand is coming down from above them.. like a predator.. that's one of the main reasons why they get scared and run away

    Ahhhhh........ maybe next time, I need to make an "open brooder" and leave it in the living room all day where they could see me and I could see them... and I could make a door that opened from the side so I could reach in from their level.

    Next up: Spending an afternoon with them inside a small dog pen on the lawn. And feeding them treats. Then 1:1 time in front of the TV.

    That's a lot of excitement for one day. [​IMG]

    - Kim
  9. andalusn

    andalusn Songster

    Sep 6, 2009
    Ridgefield, WA
    They are cute but I just can't leave my little ones in the house for longer than a week or two. They just get too dusty or smelly no matter how often their brooder tote is cleaned. The day after bringing home these little ones a few flew right to the edge of the brooder. I quickly covered it with chicken wire. They are agile and brave a 3 days. I have them currently in the garage and they are skittish I guess but when I put new feed or water in the brooder they are braver just don't want to be held.

    I don't make pets out of my chicks and as adult hens they are fine to walk amongst and do my chores. My hens have to be caught twice a year for the State vet to swab for a program I am in for Avian Influenza monitoring and they do okay. They know to come running for scraps when the here the call from the scrap man (my DH). Here is my current brooder with Buckeye peeps.

    Bukeye peeps

  10. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Songster

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    My experience with my 5 week-olds was somewhat similar, that they'd panic when I tried to pick them up and peep and flutter in my hands. I started giving them treats (oatmeal that I ground up a bit with a mortar & pestal) calling them (TREAT TREAT TREAT works for me) and now they all come running towards my hand when it comes into the brooder.

    I also handle them at least twice a day. In the morning I move them from their brooder into a larger "playpen" that I have set up in the garage and in the evening I put them back into a freshly cleaned brooder with fresh food and water. It has,over time gotten to the point where I can just reach into the brooder (having lifted the cover that keeps them from flying out) and just scoop my hand under them from the front and lift them off their roost one at a time. I stroke and cuddle each for a moment and then put them into the other pen. Often if I spend too much time with one, another one hops right onto the top of the brooder and wait with a sort of "my turn!" attitude.

    I do think the scooping them up from underneath, and coming slowly from the front rather than grabbing from the top or from behind helps but the treats don't hurt either. In both cases, they've learned to associate my hand with something pleasant rather than threatening. They are by no means falling asleep in my hands, but much more tolerant of being handled than they were a few weeks ago.

    That said, there is one that still sometimes acts like I'm going to kill her when I pick her up. No holding in one hand and stroking for's two hands and a struggle.

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