My chicks have stopped cuddling with me...

landonjacob

In the Brooder
7 Years
Nov 25, 2012
45
1
34
Columbia, South Carolina
My wife and I are new to raising chickens, although we’re not new to spoiling pets! :)

We have 5 chicks, an easter egger, 2 barred rocks, a barnevelder, and a delaware.

They are two weeks old. The first couple days after their arrival we let them adjust to the brooder. Since then we’ve been slowly picking them up and letting each sleep in our hands a few mins a day. They seemed to enjoy this!

But the past couple of days they seem a lot more restless and do not want to feel restrained by our hands. They want to perch somewhere on us, free from the slightest constraint. Even if they manage to fall asleep in our hands, they wake up seconds later and flap they’re wings to freedom. …we never force them of course.

Is this just a normal part of them growing up? How can you tell if the chicks like you?

This new characteristic has seemed to develop in conjunction with them finding out that we possess their new favorite treat, mealworms! Could this have anything to do with that?

It might be an odd questions, but any advice would be greatly appreciated it! I know it’s probably unlikely that they’ll have the same affection towards us as a dog, but we’d try our best to help get them there! :D
 

sourland

Broody Magician
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
May 3, 2009
118,927
339,574
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New Jersey
Do you have children? If so, you understand teenagers. Your chicks are becoming 'teenagers' and are becoming more independent and self reliant.
 

CedarAcres

Sunny Side Up
6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
910
47
138
Connecticut
My Coop
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I've noticed that once they start growing up, they don't enjoy being "held" but do enjoy sitting with you. Mine love sitting on my lap or arms, or even my shoes if they can. I think they like feeling like it's their choice to be sitting with you, rather than being held and not being able to move if they like.
 

LSzajko

Songster
6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
691
17
108
New Windsor, NY
I've wondered the same thing. I want them to be tame and friendly.
Mine were cuddly when they were babies. Now that they're older (10 weeks or so) they're too busy to catch. One of my RIRs will hop onto my knee when I'm sitting in the run with them and make her way into my lap and sit for a few minutes; another hangs out around under the chair and looks as if she wants to perch on me but hasn't (yet!). All of them will eat out of my hand so I suppose it has to be their choice. Independent Ladies~ !
 

ChickensRDinos

Songster
7 Years
Aug 19, 2012
2,242
240
208
Los Angeles
sourland is correct. They have a bratty teenager phase and you are just entering it. They will become more gentle and easier to handle once they have matured and reached laying age.

If you are really interested in having "cuddly" chickens you might want to look into getting a few silkies. That is probably the closest you will get.

Mealworms are the key to any chickens heart.
 

landonjacob

In the Brooder
7 Years
Nov 25, 2012
45
1
34
Columbia, South Carolina
Thanks guys!! That makes me feel a lot better, or at least I know it's normal and not just me!
I'll just keep giving them treats and spending time with them until they grow out of it.
I don't have any kids yet, but that makes a lot of sense about them being in their "teens". It's funny how animals go through some of the same phases and people!
Appreciate your advice!!
 

Mtn Laurel

Songster
8 Years
May 18, 2012
1,534
201
216
Northern Virginia
My Coop
My Coop
There was a similar thread about a week ago regarding the same thing. My 3 1/2 wk. old girls act like I'm some kind of monster when I come in the room. They run to the other side of the brooder and before they were eating out of my hand. Except one Barred Rock . . . she'll get on the perch and will take a single piece of oatmeal from my fingers. That's it!
It's a huge change in how they respond to us in a very short amount of time but - from what I'm hearing - it's normal and to be expected. Teenagers!!
barnie.gif
 

landonjacob

In the Brooder
7 Years
Nov 25, 2012
45
1
34
Columbia, South Carolina
There was a similar thread about a week ago regarding the same thing. My 3 1/2 wk. old girls act like I'm some kind of monster when I come in the room. They run to the other side of the brooder and before they were eating out of my hand. Except one Barred Rock . . . she'll get on the perch and will take a single piece of oatmeal from my fingers. That's it!
It's a huge change in how they respond to us in a very short amount of time but - from what I'm hearing - it's normal and to be expected. Teenagers!!
barnie.gif
Thanks! I always try to check the forum to see if someone has asked my same questions before I post it, looks like I missed that one. The BYC website has also been slow to respond recently so maybe that's it?
They aren't running away from (yet!). Every time they climb into my hand I give them a mealworm, so maybe that's it? I've also noticed that the more shy chicks follow the leaders. And the leaders jump in my lap almost immediately after I open the door to the brooder. They're searching for worms of course. Which entices the rest of them to see what's going on.
As soon as I noticed who all was at the top of the pecking order I made sure they were comfortable with me, hoping the rest would follow. Seems to have worked so far. But who knows?!?
idunno.gif
 

cafarmgirl

Crowing
10 Years
Mar 24, 2009
5,521
610
327
California, central valley
Chickens are prey animals so to be caught and held goes against every survival instinct they have. I've had a few that, as adults, really did not mind being picked up, but the majority of them really do not care for it, at all! They are friendly and don't mind being close and being hand fed etc., just not picked up..
 

landonjacob

In the Brooder
7 Years
Nov 25, 2012
45
1
34
Columbia, South Carolina
Chickens are prey animals so to be caught and held goes against every survival instinct they have. I've had a few that, as adults, really did not mind being picked up, but the majority of them really do not care for it, at all! They are friendly and don't mind being close and being hand fed etc., just not picked up..
I imagine that has a lot to do with it. Chickens have also been domesticated for thousands of years. So I'm not really sure how much survival instinct they have left.
smile.png

It's a good reminder that they're not exactly known for being cuddly creatures though!
 

MANNA-PRO

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