Kris5902

Crossing the Road
Oct 12, 2018
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British Columbia, Canada
Hi, this is my first real flock (we have some older production layers here, but they aren’t mine) and I decided to try out several different breeds. The Chickens are about 8 weeks, fully feathered, and about to go outside. I’ve been trying to handle them so they aren’t too wild once they are grown.
I have in my mixed flock of 13 straight run at least 4 or 5 identified roosters. Which I plan on keeping for breeding projects.

What confounds me is my Barnvelders. I have 4... I hope 1 roo and 3 pullets, but it could be 2 & 2. All of them are crazy, standoffish, and won’t tolerate handling. Which sucks because I was going to give them once I got it down to 1 roo and more girls, as a project for the little girl on our farm this summer because she loves the colour and large birds.

The roo “lil peeps” hatched 3 days before anyone else on day 17, and was extensively handled and hand raised for the first week, but once the other chicks hatched out he became gradually less friendly and trusting of humans. I have had to do a complete a litter change twice now and moved my brooder, and catching the barnvelders was a nightmare compared to the other breeds.

They scatter, alarm chirping loudly, when I reach into the brooder. Even when their flock mates are being quietly lifted out, they freak out. Catching them and picking them up is very challenging, they fight being held and scream like I’m murdering them, even when they can see they are clearly being relocated to their flock mates. This upsets the whole flock.

So I got another batch of chicks, 10 created cream legbar crosses to a leghorn hen, and 4 more Barnvelders. Thinking I will add the pullets to my first 3 or 4 once they grow out. These Barnvelders are acting the same as the first batch, at 5 days old alarming and rabble rousing every time I go to change their water or feed.

Is this some sort of breed trait? Should I recommend the little alarmists to the people who want to fully free range their chickens and breed them for that? Can they be tamed down? Should they be?
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Suffering Succotash
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 16, 2015
44,925
78,581
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Wisconsin
My young ones I don't handle much so I can't remark on that. In my experiences barnevelder don't necessarily want a close relationship with humans, but they are generally calm confident birds, the females at least. My rooster is a bit more sedate and follows me around. I don't handle mine. They aren't hysterical like some breeds, but probably aren't as friendly as others.
 

Alexandra33

Chook Snuggler
5 Years
Apr 3, 2015
8,217
11,282
906
Northwest Ohio - The Buckeye State!
What stinkers!

I've only raised one Barnevelder thus far, so it's safe to say my experience with the breed is limited. As a chick, mine suffered conniptions at the very sight of human presence. Surprised she didn't die of a heart attack! :eek: While it's been so long ago, I forget exactly when things changed, Enya suddenly decided she liked us. A lot. Perhaps too much. :lol: Once she tasted love and affection, things were never the same until the day she passed away. Easily one of my all-time favorite hens.

There's no guarantee yours will do a 180, considering each bird is individual, but no harm in hoping. :) Pushing the issue doesn't seem to work, either....it needs to be on their terms. Perhaps try offering them treats.

~Alex
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
95,362
126,614
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Did you get both batches of Barnies from the same source?
Behaviors/demeanor's can be breed specific, but also line specific.
Not sure if there is a thread just about Barnvelders, and if it would be helpful, or not.

ETA: another thought...I had some Lt Brahma that were screaming scardyy cats(chicken?) as chicks, never settled despite much handling.
They ended up being real cuddlers as they grew older, would come close to be touched and want to be picked up, they grew out of that phase too tho, but were pretty mellow...so maybe just age?
 

Kris5902

Crossing the Road
Oct 12, 2018
4,841
32,950
942
British Columbia, Canada
Did you get both batches of Barnies from the same source?
Behaviors/demeanor's can be breed specific, but also line specific.
Not sure if there is a thread just about Barnvelders, and if it would be helpful, or not.

ETA: another thought...I had some Lt Brahma that were screaming scardyy cats(chicken?) as chicks, never settled despite much handling.
They ended up being real cuddlers as they grew older, would come close to be touched and want to be picked up, they grew out of that phase too tho, but were pretty mellow...so maybe just age?
Yes, both batches of chicks are from the same breeder. The Breed Temperment according to the description on this site said “friendly, calm, bears confinement well” so far that has been a little off from my experience with the chicks and juveniles! Hopefully they mellow out with age as described in the other responses. I’m trying to keep all my chickens handleable and fairly friendly.

Apparently someone in the brooder has been attacking my mother when she goes to feed them in the morning. Biting and trying to tear chunks out of her arm. I don’t think it’s a barnvelder, but she can’t identify the culprit except to rule out my splash isbars, and the olive egger and black copper Maran boys. I think it’s weird because when I feed there are no problems, except for the barnies acting like the bowls and troughs of food are going to attack them. I can sit at the edge of the brooder for an hour with my arms in and my face by the edge and no one attacks me, several pullets (I hope) even come up for cuddles.
 

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