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Skittish chicks... They can be tamed.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Nicole01, May 21, 2011.

  1. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Overrun With Chickens

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    Out of the 8 chicks I've raised, 3 have been extremely skittish. Everytime I would catch them, they'd shake, shiver, and peep in distress. I just want to tell others that if you handle them enough, that they are tameable! It takes a lot of love, time and patients. I hold my chicks several times a day. It's actually felt like a full time job. All this dedication pays off! The worst one of all was my RIR. I never thought that this one would ever like to be held in a million years. My RIR is 9 weeks old now and when I visit him/her in the coop he/she jumps up on my lap or shoulder and talks to me in a sweet quiet voice. It's amazing! The other two skittish ones are doing well also. They are at the point where they tolerate sitting in my hand all relaxed. One is 3 weeks and 7 weeks. The other 5 were very friendly to begin with. I have very friendly birds, I wanted it this way, so the kids could go in the coop without being chased down or pecked when they take out their bird for a while.
     
  2. vanalpaca

    vanalpaca Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nicole, sounds like you did a good job. I don't pic the 8 week olds up or spend much time with them now, but I did when they were little and they tolerate petting and gather around my feet for food and water. They all know how to grip my hands with their toes for balance. They still get picked up and petted most every day, too. Sounds like you did a real good job insisting they be sweet!
     
  3. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    Oh, I do hope you're right! I have two that despise being picked up and held. I have daily sessions and stress those little boogers out with forcing the issue. One in particular will act like she's getting over it and then the next day, she's skittish again [​IMG] We're at 6 weeks now so I'm starting to worry that she'll never be easy to catch.
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Some of mine calmed down a lot when they got to laying age.
     
  5. EmpressNoId

    EmpressNoId Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 15 that I am handling two or three times a day. They are all a little skittish but the like treats I bring. My neighbor suggested covering my couch with an old sheet and sitting on the couch with them watching TV together. He said its what he and his wife did every time they got chicks. He is a bit of a prankster but I thought I would give it a try. I don't have TV but maybe if I read to them? Or tell stories? The Little Red Hen, Henny Penny or "The Sky is Falling?"[​IMG]
     
  6. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:I did something similar. I'd use old bath towels and keep a roll of toilet paper next to me to pick up the poo. It helps to bring 2 at a time with the frightened ones.
     
  7. srfjeld

    srfjeld Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much for posting this... my SLW Loretta is so skittish and feisty. I just posted on her the other day about this very problem. I'm afraid she'll hurt herself or the others. She doesn't care who is in here way when I stick my hand in. She always gets a crazy look in her eye like she's gonna go crazy on me when and if she gets the chance. I'll just have to be more patient and keep at it I suppose. [​IMG]
     
  8. ChickenThug

    ChickenThug Out Of The Brooder

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    thanks for the ideas. Got 6 lil ones that are about 3 weeks right now and another 12 that are hittin up around the 6-7 week mark and they're all still a lil skiddish. I handled the older ones as chicks and even now hopefully they'll calm down soon. And the little ones are still in the brooder for the next couple weeks and they're startin to get better. But I'll keep tryin'. thanks again for the advice. [​IMG]
     
  9. Gardeninggranny

    Gardeninggranny Out Of The Brooder

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    Some breeds are naturally more skittish than others. But all chickens tend to mellow and become tamer with age if they are treated kindly. I don't believe in handling chicks too much- it actually stresses them and chicks don't grow as well when stressed and are prone to disease. Work calmly and gently around them, no sudden moves and keep a regular routine. I don't handle chicks any more than necessary and I have hens that will jump on my lap when I sit down outside. They follow me around the yard and pasture. The young chicks are more wary because nature intends them to be- they are more vulnerable. When you- big predator- handle them it is very stressful. Let chickens come to you as they get older and curious. Sit by them and work around them without trying to catch them and you'll find they tame themselves. Each chicken also has an individual personality, some will never be very tame, but they generally learn not to fear you. Its your job to design your routine and pens so that the chickens can be handled or caught when necessary with the minimum of stress.

    I think you will find most breeds will tame quite easily as they become adults and know you and what to expect. Never allow children or pets to chase chickens. You can have pet chickens but chickens aren't meant to be cuddled and handled all the time. Respect them for what they are.

    Actually chickens that are handled a lot tend to be the ones that chase and peck people- they don't respect humans or fear them, maybe they even resent them. Nothing worse than a big rooster that was a pet as a chick.
     
  10. Nicole01

    Nicole01 Overrun With Chickens

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    I do agree there are breeds that are more skittish then others, leghorns are a good example. I've heard that if you handle a rooster too much, they could possibly peck you. I do not plan on having roosters. I personally don't believe that chickens should be left alone and not handled.

    I'm only speaking from experience. My chickens are very friendly, even to strangers. My neighbors come in the coop and pick up my chickens no problems. The kids can walk in the coop as well. The chickens come right up to us. The chickens were stressed at first, but now they are super comfortable with me and everyone else. I hope to show a couple in the near future. I have my chickens mainly as pets, not for utility.

    My chickens love being held, I have several that jump in my arms or up on my shoulders. They love to fall asleep on me too. I love how they talk and twril at me. They have the neatest sounds.
     

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