Playing with chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by la399, Jun 17, 2019.

  1. la399

    la399 Chirping

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    Does anyone here “play” with your chicks to get them more used to you/friendly? They are 3 weeks old now and are well trained to the tone of my voice and whistle when I come with treats but, they’re starting to peck and nip a little hard for my taste now when eating out of my hand. I was thinking about taking them out of their brooder in an enclosed space to play with them but don’t know how to go about it or if it’s a good idea at all. Their main entertainment right now just comes from a box of dirt to bathe in and a makeshift roost to play on.
     
    gtaus likes this.
  2. BeckyEggy

    BeckyEggy In the Brooder

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    Depending on the chicks I will. I have my brooder in my house and in the evenings will pick the chicks up and bring them onto my lap on the sofa. I look at their wings and feet just to get them used to me doing it. I have one hen that I bought when she was about 20 weeks old and she does not like me touching her feet which makes treating scaly leg mites far more distressing for her than it needs to be, so I like to get them used to me checking them. They also like to climb up to my shoulder and nuzzle into my neck. I have an adult hen that still tries to do this now.

    I will also bring them out into the garden when it's warm for 15 mins or so and let them play on the grass. I stay with them and don't let them wander far. Mine are 9 days old at the moment. If my partner joins us and is in shorts, them seem to find his leg hair very interesting.

    I have some toys for a budgie - they have bells on them. I will attach them to the bars in the brooder. Some chicks like to play with them, others don't bother with them at all.

    I have an adult silkie that will pick up empty snail shells and bang them on the floor repeatedly. I can only assume that she likes the noise, she will keep it up for a good 10 minutes. She likes to play.

    I like watching the hens run around when one of them has something tasty. I know that they're not actually playing tag, they all just want the tasty thing, but it does look like they are :)
     
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  3. gtaus

    gtaus Songster

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    My Coop
    I have not spent much face time with my 10 chicks. Now they are about 6 weeks old and I find they are much more bold and not afraid of me. They will eat out of my hand, but the pecking is getting a little too hard, so I have been holding a tuna can with feed in it. They still eat out of my hand, but now they peck the tuna can and not my skin. I hope to work more with them during the summer, but right now they only care about me if I have something for them to eat.

    I have never intended to treat my chicks as pets, but not really livestock either. So I guess I want them to be friendly, but not necessarily climbing on me.

    I have provided my chicks with some distractions and toys, but they have shown little interest in most of what I have offered them. I tried a mirror, and nobody really cared. I hung a plastic ball with a bell in it (cat toy) and thought maybe they would like to peck at it and make some noise, but they just walked around it and it was just more a bother for them.

    What my chicks liked, was a small stump they could jump up on. They liked the pan with sand for taking a dust bath. And they enjoy scratching down level anything I make into a mound - grass clippings, bedding, etc... Since I am using a deep litter bedding, I fluff up the bedding into a big mound a couple times a week and let the chickens scratch it down level. Also, when I put fresh wood chips/pine shavings into the brooder I just dump it into a mound. They seem to like climbing the mound and scratching it down level.

    I am interested in what other people have to say on this topic, so maybe I can get some good ideas too. Thanks.
     
    la399 likes this.
  4. la399

    la399 Chirping

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    Those are awesome ideas! I’ll have to start putting the food in a cap or something to hold in my hand because those little beaks start to hurt
     
    gtaus likes this.
  5. gtaus

    gtaus Songster

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    My Coop
    This is my first year with laying hens, and I hope to get more personal with them over time. Years ago, I raised meat chickens for 8-10 weeks and by the that time they could peck you hard enough to draw blood. I use my hands for lots of things beside feeding the chickens, so I don't mind using the tuna can in the hand to protect my skin. At least the chicks are not running away from my hand/arm when I open up the brooder. So, it's small progress.
     

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