My chicks hate me!!!!!...what am I doing wrong?


In the Brooder
9 Years
Apr 26, 2010
We got our three chicks at one week old, and have been trying very hard to hold them to get them used to us since the day we brought them home. We would pick them up and gently stroke them on the sides of their necks and cheeks. They seemed to have gotten more used to us as the weeks went on, but all of a sudden, at 3 1/2 weeks, they want nothing to do with us! When I pick them up, they squawk like they are being killed, try to fly out of my hands, and will not settle down to be gently stroked. The barred rock now tries to peck me when I pick her up.
I do not think I am picking them up or holding them any differently, they are much bigger now, so a little harder to hold in your hands than before, but I would not think that would make so much of a difference. They are all three starting to feather out, with our welsummer having the most feathers, and the Ameraucana the fewest so far. Could that be it?

It is making me not want to pick them up any more, since they seem to hate it so much!
But, it is was my goal to have chickens that we could interact with, not just animals to ignore and collect eggs from. I am so frustrated!
You're not doing anything wrong:) This is just a phase they're going through, which is quite common at that age. Just ignore their behavior, continue to hold them, and bring them treats. Believe me, they will soon learn that you are "The Bringer of Good Things!". Almost all chicks go through this phase. This Spring, I hatched 3 of the most antisocial chicks I have ever dealt with(antisocial for the first 2 months of their little lives!). Guess what? The darlings are 3 1/2 months old, run to me when I call to them (cuz they know I always bring treats), and think that I'm the world's most perfect perch:) Don't worry, your babies will get over their insecurities:)
Mine did the same thing as they got older, and I've read others say the same thing. I've read to move slowly and feed treats. Mine are 8 weeks or so old now and some are just more docile than others, but they do come up to me hoping for treats.
Hang in there. I used to have "cuddle time" with mine, holding them and stroking the lightly on the back until they settle down.
I think it's important to pick each chick up once a day. Routine is the key. I notice if I skip a day with mine they go wild again very quickly. But when I pick them up every day at about the same time most of them (not all) come to accept it calmly.
My chicks are 6 weeks old. I've tried from the beginning to get them used to being held. They still run like crazy when I reach into their pen to feed or water them.
But, I haven't been feeding them treats either. This is my first time out with my own chicks and I was afraid to feed them anything but starter food. I'll try boiled eggs today.
I have tried boiled egg and yogurt for treats, but they do not want either. Any other suggestions for picky chickens? Is there a right and a wrong way to pick up and hold a chick?
It is a stage. I've had a few pullets and a couple of roos bite me also. I tap them on the head with my finger (like a peck) until they back down. It's a dominance thing.

I have a certain coat my chicks like, it's really fuzzy.(of course you can't do that when it's hot out) I find that even the wild ones settle down if I tuck them in my arm. They nuzzle their head by my elbow and I can stroke their backs. Just think of how they snuggle with a hen, and try to mimic that.
My girls were super picky about treats till they reached about 5 months of age. Now anything is a treat and they get excited over everything. When they were younger I found sunflower seeds were a huge winner-- they went crazy for them.
Also when they were younger it took them awhile to figure out they liked it. The first couple of times I would give it to them they'd ignore it, then the 3rd or 4th time they's figure out they liked it.
Mine respond best to cooked spaghetti noodles. I cut them about 1 inch long and will twist them to get their attention. They love them!!!! I also am cery careful not to reach over them to pick them up. They respond better if I reach along the ground then pick them up. I think it has to do with their natural instinct to fear anything comming from above! I also will reach under them and let them step up into my hand. I will use my thumb to stroke them while they are standing there. I do not always HOLD them. I will just lift them up with an open hand. I let them stand there as long or short as they want. I feel this allows them to feel safer knowing they can come and go. But I will always hold them at least once a day! Routine is very Important! I still have a few that just want to be left alone but most Tollerate being held, while others demand it! LOL Your doing great! Just keep at it! It will pay off later if not now!!!!

Good Luck and God Bless!

P.s. I also use cooked rice!

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