Need help with chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by GD91, Aug 16, 2013.

  1. GD91

    GD91 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 1, 2013

    First off, let me say I am new to keeping chickens.
    I have 3 incubated Pekin bantam chicks aged 2 weeks this sunday.

    My first question is HOW DO YOU COPE!?! [​IMG]

    I have a brooder. It is a very good brooder with a black ceramic heat lamp which doesn't disturb them & their feeders + lots of toys & perches. [​IMG]

    So why do they spend their entire time they are in there trying to escape? They try to fly at the sides to get out & bounce off the wire which they also repeatedly try to push through at the the bottom in the corner, getting their heads stuck & popping backwards ( the wire is very thin & flexible to prevent choking). They make a LOT of noise doing this by cheeping loudly & constantly. As soon as I open the door, they are OUT all over me! They also jam themselves against the wire if I go to stick my fingers through & rub against my hands. They also race around inside the cage & jam up against the side to be as close as possible to anyone standing in the same room! [​IMG]

    The brooder is 4 x 2 ft & is a converted dog cage.

    I can find information about 4 week old chicks trying to do a bunk out of the brooder..... but my chicks are only 12 days! They have feathers on their wings (the hens is nearly all feathered on her wings now) but that is it!

    They get approximately around seven or eight hours (give or take a couple) out of the brooder either in the garden or in the home loose depending on the weather. [​IMG]

    Outside they are sort-of-quiet & happily practice dust-bathing & foraging while the dog keeps a strict eye on them & follows them around (both inside & out) saving me the trouble (the joy of rottweiler ownership, they were originally bred to guard livestock & our main problem is cats.)
    But if they remember I have gone they will start up with their piercing loud cheeping.
    The little cockerel is by far the loudest & most demanding of all 3 chicks...

    Inside they follow me around constantly (so, therefore so does the dog) & if they lose sight of me they sit & cheep loudly again (at the dog?) until I go back to them or call them (Chick! Chick!). They want to be on our laps or shoulders constantly to & when I sit down they crowd around & starting jumping onto my feet & trying (and failing) to run up my leg to my lap (Big Pockets, YAY!) & from there to my shoulder where they try & get under my hair.
    If I bend over & put my hand down they all run over & try to cram on it to be picked up & held. I never knew chicks liked cuddles so much.

    They race around the flat, bounce over the bed, sit on the sofa's & sleep in the dogs bed (to the dismay of the dogs) cheep loudly, chase each other flapping (Yaaaay!) & terrorize the cat by pecking him. If they are not the center of attention with people, they make a racket again.
    Am I raising a pack of chicken hoodlums?

    First thing in the morning I wake up to very loud CHEEP CHEEP which is getting earlier.

    Last thing at night they shut up because I turn their night -light off, HAHA!
    My reserved husband has decently not said a bad word about living with 2 dogs, a cat & 3 chickens which chase him round, climb all over him him & get under his feet a lot.... But how long the peace will last I don't know. At least I have an idea he may make a good future father.
    And what happens when I try to move them outside?

    They make a piercing racket now when they are left on their own, I keep having nightmare visions of the first night(s) outside.
    My neighbors might form a Posse to drive me out [​IMG]

    Is this what happens when they imprint?

    They have been very spoilt because I am home all the time, I don't have children, so I spent(d) a lot of time attending their needs including cleaning them daily & chasing them around with baby wipes when they are dirty. Also I completely forgot the heat lamp order(I know, I thought I'd ordered it & I had not) & they spent their first week completely loose indoors (the cat spent an unhappy week locked out & sleeping in the hallway) asleep infront of the fire all night on a small animal bed & being petted, riding around in pockets & handled a lot.
    I spent a week mopping the floors 2-3 times a day, washing pet bedding daily & chasing them around with bits of tissue after I'd mopped the floors... Needless to say, our friends didn't think we were completely barmy which was good of them.
    Please tell me they will outgrow this behaviour & its just a phase?

    I've nearly finished building their coop & wanted to move them in ASAP.
    Apart from the above, they are 3 very clean, perfect chicks with adorable loving temperment's & are very outgoing & tame. I have been trying to make them more independant the last few days, but they don't seem to be taking to it & just protest more. It sounds like they are being murdered sometimes.
    So, what age do chicks outgrow imprinting?

    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  2. Rich386

    Rich386 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 21, 2011
    Live Oak, FL
    My first clue is that they try to get under your hair. If they were with a hen they would be getting under her wings. The second is the distress cherping when seperated from you.
    SO MOM!! you are the hen as far as they are concerned. In several month they will be full grown and independant.
  3. GD91

    GD91 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 1, 2013
    Exactly as I thought, thanks for confirming my suspicions.

    And..... a few months they will outgrow it?



    At the moment I have one in my pocket, one on my shoulder & one on my knee and that's whilst I am typing this.

    Have you ever tried doing the housework with a trio of chicks hell - bent on getting into every crevice ... I nearly put one through the washing machine before because it had jumped in the basket when my back was turned! [​IMG]

    Plus, I watched a shocking video of factory farmed chicks just now.... If anyone tried putting my cockerel chicks through that I'd [​IMG] rip their heads off & put them through the machine. And the de-beaking of the hens.... Why has factory farming always been horrible, the brutal handling of livestock & machinery + the methods are totally unnecessary & cruel & just someone at the top being greedy.
    I've worked on normal farms (3 of them) years ago with free range hens & cockerels & not one of them ever treated their livestock like that, everything was natural & normal & they still made a good turn-over every season.
    I also got told most farmers DO NOT agree with factory farming methods & believe factory farming often damages good farms reputations with consumers. Wow! On top of that I was told most farmers have a passion for their animals & crops whilst factory farmers are just greedy for money & won't stop at hurting lots of their own animals as long as they see their profit.

    Part of the reason I got my own chickens this year .... I used to feel guilty every time I bought a factory farmed bird or eggs... [​IMG]

    No more, my chickens are going to be very spoilt (er, happy) chickens until the days they die even if it is with a broken neck. Or chopped , I haven't decided. All the methods of killing them seem pretty brutal at the end, but as long as its quick & they had a good life I'll be happy. We originally wanted ours for meat & eggs, I got the Pekins though because I liked the look of them & read up on their breed & they make good pets & mothers. More eggs are in the incubator now that are dual purpose breeds for eggs & the table (only if I can do it, hubby has point blank refused). [​IMG]

    **** chicks are pooping....! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2013
  4. write2caroline

    write2caroline Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2009
    Loud constant cheeping indicates they are not comfortable - too hot or too cold. If they are too hot they will be desperate to find a cooler spot. If they are too cold they are struggling to get warm. You might try adding an old stuffed animal for them to hide behind. My chicks did not seem to like the heat that was recommended. I only heat half of the brooder so that they could move away from the heat. Some of my chicks were very friendly and they would hop onto my hand. I have definitely had some want to be escapees. Since I have cats - escaping would not be good for chicks so I would duck tape the wire cover to the edge of the brooder. It takes some time to figure it out.

    Good luck to you. Hope this helps and I hope you figure out any issues so your chicks will be happy and better behaved.

  5. GD91

    GD91 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 1, 2013
    Cheers caroline, I'll try that stuffed toy suggestion.

    Honestly though I'm pretty sure its not the heating because the heat lamp runs off a timer switch & only turns on at the cooler parts of the day. Plus they shut up when you stick your head around the door & its "silence!"

    You walk off again & slowly but surely the cheeping starts again, quietly at first but then builds up to "CHEEP, CHEEP! CHEEP!"

    You go back again & as soon as they hear you around the corner they do their "silence" act again.

    I am getting the suspicion I am being trained by cute scruffy balls of fluff [​IMG] I want more already [​IMG]

    Awww, and they are going to sleep now on my husbands furry slippers.....

    They spend more time loose than in the cage because they are much quieter when they are allowed out. Last night we put them back at about 9.30pm & they cheeped non-stop until 11.30pm even though I again turned the heat lamp off & then back on when it didn't make any difference. When I went to bed they were asleep near it. Its not really low, is positioned at only one end & the brooder is a metal cage so its all open air etc the heat can't build up in there. Oh, the bulb is 100wt btw.

    I've ordered the bits to start constructing their coop this week.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013

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