New chicken owner, 2 week old chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by proudmama88, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. proudmama88

    proudmama88 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 9, 2009
    Central Kentucky
    Hello, everyone. New here and very new to chickens in general.

    I wanted day old babies because I heard from several folks around here that they were easier to tame but my husband decided with our inexperience, it might be better to get older chicks and that's what he did. He contacted a local farmer and bought some 2 week old chicks. They will be 3 weeks old on Sunday. I can't yet tell which are roosters and which are hens; we have 8 of them. Buff Orphington's (sorry if I misspelled!).

    I was hoping to tame them, but they do not seem to like me at all yet! [​IMG]

    They are beginning to recognize the sound of my voice, especially after I began tossing them little treats like tiny bread chunks and Cheerio halves. Now whenever I approach them and say "Chicken, chicken!" in a singsong voice they start chirping rather loudly and quickly, and they seem to get very hyper, but they still will not approach me or allow me to approach them.

    In fact, even when I'm tossing the food to them they sometimes run a little just to keep their distance or they wait until I step back to approach and eat the food, even if they seem quite happy that I'm there and that they're getting some treats. Holding them is out of the question, the poor things seem especially unhappy then! [​IMG] A few of them will even flap their wings and try to fly away from me.

    Is it just an age thing? The farmer who had them just kept them in his barn with their mothers, I don't know if he ever fooled with them or not. How should I go about this? If they never let me hold them, it's fine, but I just feel really bad when they act so scared and distrusting of me.

    Also, is it harmful for them to have treats this early? My husband wants them only on chick food but they so love the bread and the Cheerio's, I'd hate to deprive them.

    Thanks to all who respond.
  2. chickflick

    chickflick Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 10, 2007
    I doubt the farmer spent any time with them. The chicks have to learn to trust you. What I like to do, get a low chair and sit amongst them and talk softly and let them eat treats out of your hand. Don't feed them too much, but giving them treats is a great way to get them to trust you. My chicks love rice....a bit older than yours. You should see them go after my hand...ouch! After awhile, I bet they'll be on your lap looking for treats.
    Are any of your chicks combs redder than the others? Bigger, thicker legs? Signs of being a roo. Good Luck!
    Oh, and welcome! You'll love this site.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2009
  3. rachiegirl

    rachiegirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2009
    Beaver Co. PA
    I am new to chicks too! [​IMG]

    I have been doing quite a bit of reading, especially on here, and it is OK to introduce some treats but you want to make sure they have chick grit. The kind especially for chicks. The stuff for adult chickens has calcium and too much can harm them. At this age just sprinkle on their food so they don't try to over eat it; which would be my luck. [​IMG]
  4. gimme sum eggs

    gimme sum eggs Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 29, 2009
    South Branch, MI
    I've been handling mine on a daily basis since they arrived as day-old chicks. They're 2 weeks old now, like yours. They still aren't super calm when I put my hand in to handle them, but less skittish than they were on day one. I'm guessing that over the next few weeks, they'll will get more and more used to the handling. I only handle them for a minute or so and put them back in the brooder. I read on here its possible to handle them too much and defeat the purpose of handling them to make them tamer.

    My $.02.
  5. thedeacon

    thedeacon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 14, 2008
    The chicks will become more friendly with time and as they get older. Right now they are just flighty. By the way, I think the best chicken call is: heeeereee chick chick chick heeeree chick chick chick
  6. EngieKisses

    EngieKisses Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2008
    Collinsville, Oklahoma
    Please remember that a chickens instint relies on the knowledge that they are prey animals. It is hard for them to over ride that instinct, especially when your so much taller. If they were with their mama then I can just about bet that she would not let the farmer near without a battle.
  7. stormylady

    stormylady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 27, 2008
    Quote:Thats what I was gonna say, they haven't had to much hands on treatment, I would say just give them time they will come around, I have 2 buff orpington girls that are 9 weeks old and they are the sweetest little girls they don't struggle at all when you pick them up they just kinda snuggle up and take it all in. Mine were kinda skittish in the beginning but not anymore. Like Chickflick said spend alot of quality time with them in these early days and you'll be suprised how quickly the come around and trust you!.
  8. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    For ones this young, make sure treats are soft, which I think you're doing. Cooked oatmeal, yogurt (an especially good treat), etc. When feeding anything that's not completely soft (such as bread crumbs or oatmeal), you MUST provide chick grit to them or they will be unable to digest the treats.

    I use the same dish each time I put treats in, and they eventually learn that the purple cat-shaped plastic dish = treats, and they come running as soon as they see the dish.
  9. proudmama88

    proudmama88 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 9, 2009
    Central Kentucky
    Thanks to all who responded.

    Yes, I'm making sure the treats are quite soft... oatmeal was actually the first one I gave them, and tiny pieces of fresh, soft bread. I make sure they eat their grit, though. They never run out of food and their feeder is cleaned and re-filled as often as needed.

    Thanks especially to chickflick... I didn't wanna sound so ignorant but one of the very first questions I had when we got the chicks is, "How can I ever tell which one is a rooster?! They all look alike!!" [​IMG]

    I think 2 of them are roosters, now that I'm looking at them while keeping in mind what you said... there are two which are a bit larger than the others in general, with thicker legs, and their combs are bigger. The combs are all still a pale pink right now but since they'll be 3 weeks old soon, I think the coloring will start coming in very soon. These two are also a bit more "outgoing and vocal" than the others and will steal the other chicks' food and whatnot. They're the little tyrants of the coup!

    I'll take up everyone's advice and see if it helps. [​IMG]

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