Please Help! Ive tried everything!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by BongeDundee, Mar 19, 2016.

  1. BongeDundee

    BongeDundee Out Of The Brooder

    May 4, 2015
    New Jersey
    Hi all,
    I just want my chicks to be comfortable being held and comfortable being touched. I have tried everything but I get nothing. I made it so I have to reach into the brooder from the side (even though its more comfortable to come from the top, and I know that's bad), I spend so much time with my one hand in there from the side waiting for them to get curious but usually they just scamper across. Sometimes if they get close I can stroke them with my finger gently once or twice, but if I attempt to scoop them up they run away. I tried taking them all out and sitting with them on a towel under some heat lights (which, not sure if they were generating enough heat) but they just chirped really loud. When I put my hands out, same results as when I'm in the brooder. They some of them climbed on me for a while, but I think they were trying to climb me to get back in the brooder, or searching for warmth. I am always sitting with them, watching them and talking to them, but nothing! What am I doing wrong? What is the best way to pick them up? How do I know when they are actually in distress when I hold them vs. when they are just peeping loud? Any feedback is greatly appreciated, as I am desperate for any knowledge that can help me tame my chicks!
    Below I have attached some pictures of my newest additions to my flock, because why not :)
    Salmon Faverolle (I have two of these little guys, one is not pictured.)
    Polish (I believe, it come to the feed store as "Assorted Crested.")
    Silver Laced Wyandotte
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
  2. MedSchlFarmers

    MedSchlFarmers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 5, 2016
    North Carolina
    Are your hands cold?

    We are new to chicks, ours will be 11 weeks tomorrow. Very few of ours showed a huge interest/initiative, but they calmed down after being held for awhile. They didn't jump into our arms, but liked it once settled. Now, all but 2 come up to us when we go out to the coop/run.

    Not sure if that helps in any way. For some reason I could not access your blog link.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
  3. BongeDundee

    BongeDundee Out Of The Brooder

    May 4, 2015
    New Jersey
    My hands are always a little cold, but I never thought that would influence them. Thanks! I'll probably try to warm them up before I try to make contact with them again.
  4. Coursair

    Coursair Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 12, 2016
    Concord, CA
    Can you try putting food on your hand ??

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  5. BongeDundee

    BongeDundee Out Of The Brooder

    May 4, 2015
    New Jersey
    I got my two Faverolles two days before I got my Polish and SLW. Originally with the two Faverolles, I held treats out and they would come over and nibble a bit and I could gently, very gently, stroke them with my pinky. Two days later, I introduced the Polish and the SLW. The SLW had some pasty butt problems so I got probiotic powder for the water, she seems to be doing a little better. Anyways, I would take the same treats and just sit there with them in my hand, but all four would only approach, or scamper right over my hand. No one would stop and eat. I have been trying everyday since, to pet them, and hold them, but they always freak out and I get nervous, although I know if you hold them a lot, and pet them a lot they will eventually get used to it.
    On a side note, their brooder is in the garage, and bringing them in the house to a better area where they can sit with me and get used to me in a warmer, calmer environment is not an option because I have cats [​IMG]
  6. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 28, 2008
    First of all, chickens are prey animals. They don't always like to be handled. I have found with my Faverolles that they go through a stage from 2 weeks to about 12-14 weeks where they act like we are out to eat them. We walk by and suddenly it's chicken popcorn. Then they start to mature and begin to get some sense. They realize who controls the treats. After that they will follow us and not be afraid. However not all of them like to be held.
    1 person likes this.
  7. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 7, 2016
    Saint Louis, MO
    Mine were scared of me for about five weeks, so I didn't push the handling. Just scattered treats slowly in front of the brooder door where I sat and watched them. Eventually, their love of treats and impatience had them snatching treats before I had withdrawn my hand, then from my hand, then I would feed them waxworms from a shallow cup, then I would scoop them up onto my lap and immediately offer the same cup (they knew what it had in it!), then I would do the same thing while stroking their backs, necks, breast...eventually I didn't need the treats for most of them. Some of the Golden Buffs never really warmed up to the lap-sitting, but I really only wanted them to allow handling so that was fine. Currently they're 9 weeks old and one of the Buff Orpingtons has decided that she's a lap chicken...the others will at least tolerate it, which is great. Twenty-one lap chickens would be unmanageable! We'll see what they think of me when I change their leg bands on Monday...
  8. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Most of the problems people have with chicks being skittish and resistant to being handled stem from brooders that are accessed from the top, requiring reaching for the chicks from above. As keesmom points out, chicks are prey to just about everything, so they have a flight response to anything approaching them from above.

    Modifying your brooder with a side access can solve a lot of your problems. Elevating the brooder so you handle the chicks comfortably from the side is much better for you, too, being much easier on the back.

    But the ultimate solution is to permit the baby chicks to access you and your lap by sitting on the floor and letting them explore. When permitted to do this, chicks learn you aren't a predator, and they quickly learn to enjoy interacting with you.

    For these reasons, I highly recommend brooding directly in your coop or run and by-passing the artificial and confining environment of a box-style brooder. See my second article linked below this post in which I offer many advantages to the chicks when they are brooded naturally.
  9. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    Or you might consider buying some Euskal Oiloa ( The Basque hen). They are considered the world's friendliest chickens. Nice birds in pretty color varieties. Even the new hatched chicks will run to your hand to climb on it. Here's the thread on them from BYC: The chicks you have now are still very young and easy to give away to new homes on Craigslist.
    I think there is a National breed Club? Great people in the breed! See : ( excellent website with pictures and info on USA breeders)
    Canadian website:
    (416 pages of all things Basque Hen, including pictures and breeder contact info. )
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2016
  10. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2008
    I think that is instinctive behavior because small chicks are most in danger from birds of prey coming down from the sky. I wouldn't worry about it. By the time they mature and are too large for most prey birds, they will be following you around looking for food from you.

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