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Need some expert advice on chick handling...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by tiny529, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. tiny529

    tiny529 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I really want friendly pet chickens that are easy to handle when they are big and that will tolerate my kids holding them. I've read that the more that you handle them as chicks, the tamer they will become. I've been trying to hold each of my chicks for a few minutes each, twice per day, and I put my hand in without trying to pick anyone up everytime I check in on them. So far, only my Dominque comes to me when I put my hand in, though all of the others will come over and peck at me a little once the Dominque is already settled in my palm. I'm afraid to handle them too much as I don't want to stress them out. They all freak out and peep loudly when I pick them up, but they do settle for a few seconds when I cup my hand over them against my chest. They briefly fall asleep only to wake up and freak out when they realize that the cozy warm thing they are up against is a giant featherless thing that obviously plans on eating them. So I put them back. Do I force the handling issue? Should I hold them more than twice per day? I guess I'm a little picky about handling them since the other birds I've raised over the years were/are SO tame.
     
  2. ReikiStar

    ReikiStar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Like children, puppies and kittens, chicks will go through phases as they grow. Some will start out friendly and remain that way, some can start out flighty and become more tame the older they get. In the end, you can't force any animal to want to be petted or sit on your knee. Just handle them all the same, notice their individual personalities and understand, like people, they are all unique. [​IMG]
     
  3. Cadjien_De_Louisiane

    Cadjien_De_Louisiane SWLA Gamefowl Breeder

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    I have some that are only 10weeks old that went through a fase. I would handle them everyday once a day. Even though their feeders stay full I would let them eat out my hand for a minute or so. For a little while they didnt want nothing to do with me, now they are getting freindly again.
     
  4. jenkassai

    jenkassai Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feeding from your hand is a great idea. I found the OP's post interesting, my Dom girls are also the friendliest of my bunch too, to the point of hopping onto my hand or arm if I don't pick them up or if I am holding someone else. I have a theory that is also a question. Coming from dogs, it would, in theory, be wrong to set them down when they are freaking out, as it would teach them that "if I behave this way I get the results I want", thus being very counter-productive to what you are trying to achieve. For all you experienced "chicken tamers" out there, is it similar with chickens? Can they reason / learn like that? Are you reinforcing "bad" behavior (for lack of a better word) by "rewarding" them (releasing them) when they are freaking out??

    That being said, I have just resigned myself that some of mine just don't want to be held or picked up or petted or whatever. They ARE curious when the Doms are so interested in me, and they do eat from my hand. I just don't force the issue and enjoy cuddling with my Doms!
     
  5. tiny529

    tiny529 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm... That's an interesting point. Maybe I'll put them down when they are calm rather then when they are freaking out. Of course, just the act of putting them back will make them freak out so I don't know if they'd make the connection or not. [​IMG]

    I'm loving my Dom girlie. The funny thing is, she was the one I was the least enthused about getting, mostly because I love fluffy hens and Doms look so sleek. But now I'm really glad I have her! [​IMG]
     
  6. Mommy 2 Wee Ones

    Mommy 2 Wee Ones Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a 3 & 5 year old, who picks them up & hold them all the time. If a chick is in grabbing range, my girls will reach out & snatch them up, and just cuddle them.
    We have 2 BR, 6 BO & 1 Wyandotte. The Wyandotte is my youngest daughter's favorite, and she hated to be held & fussed every time my girls would get her. We have had them a month now (got them at 2 weeks), Owl is her name, will now sit in my daughter's lap, and will even jump up in the chair I am sitting on when I am in the run with them.
    The BR are our friendliest chicks, and all want to be on my lap when I sit in the chair. If my girls are sitting on the ground, the BO will all try to sit in their laps to be petted and held.

    Hold them as often as you can and you will have chicks follow you everywhere.
     
  7. tiny529

    tiny529 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thanks! [​IMG] That's what I was hoping to hear!

    I have a 5 year old and a nearly 2 year old. My 5 year old wants to hold them a lot, but I only give him a little time once a day so they don't get too stressed. He's already claimed the BO as his own, so she'd better get used to it! [​IMG]
     
  8. sonic164

    sonic164 Out Of The Brooder

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    well handling them more will make them more tolerant to kids and stuff. But unless they know they know the children for when they were chicks it's hard to tell whether they would run away from them or not, hens will be considerably more tolerant then cockerels. however if you have say 3 hens and a cockerel. the cockerel might get in the way a lot and peck the children if they try to pick up the hens. i suggest introduce the children at a youngest age as possible instead of waiting until the chickens are old enough to start laying. if you can get the chicks use to the children (or stranger's if they are going in public) then it's half the battle. however all chickens have certain tolerance levels just like humans do. best you can do is just handle them as much as possible and try to introduce the children now and then. (DO NOT LEAVE THE CHILDREN ON THERE OWN WITH THEM)
     
  9. tiny529

    tiny529 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Nooooo... I've been very explicit about that with them. My younger one still needs to be policed, but my older one won't. He was holding one in his lap with me here just a few minutes ago. [​IMG]

    I planned on letting them both hold them well before laying, but I worry about them just now. They aren't even a week old yet, so they feel so fragile.
     
  10. Mommy 2 Wee Ones

    Mommy 2 Wee Ones Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My girls have been told they are NOT allowed in the coop alone with the chicks. When I do let the chicks in the backyard, the girls know they can not pick up the chicks. I have taught my oldest how to keep them in a certain area, and if they wander too far, she will walk them back to the other.
    The only place I let them alone with the chicks, was in the bathroom when the chicks were little. I would clean out the brooder container, and the girls would sit on the bathroom floor & cuddle chicks & clean up poop on the floor. The girls learned the correct way to pick up & hold the chicks when they were tiny. Now when the chicks do not want to go to bed at night, they will help me put them to bed.
    I am lucky, my girls have always been very gentile with animals. We have a neighbor who had minature horses & 5 dogs, my girls would stay there all day if I let them.
     

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