Skittish Chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by strikit, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. strikit

    strikit Hatching

    Sep 20, 2016
    Odessa, Texas
    I got my first chicks today and they're super skittish. I know they're probably scared and stressed, but over time I would like to get them more comfortable with handling and just being around me. What can I do to "make friends" with them? They're straight run leghorns, if that matters at all.
  2. Flock Master64

    Flock Master64 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2016
    Surrounded by the Amish
    Over time they should get used to you but generally leghorns are s skiddish breed. I have a 1.5 year old leghorn and she still gets nervous around me. I think the best thing to do is give them time.
  3. AustralorpsAU

    AustralorpsAU Songster

    May 20, 2016
    Down Under
    Yes leghorns are a generally skittish breed. Spend time with them everyday... They might end up tame you they might not
  4. JaeG

    JaeG Free Ranging Premium Member

    Sep 29, 2014
    New Zealand
    We hatched 4 pekin bantams (cochin bantams if you live in America) and two were super friendly and the other two didn't want a thing to do with us. They all turned out to be girls so it wasn't to do with whether they were a boy or girl. The more anxious pair have settled down now that they are laying but different chickens do have different personalities, even within a particular breed. It was the same with a group of Orpington chicks we brought up for my Mum under one of our broody hens. One chick in particular was always very friendly, the first to jump out to see us and be fussed over, and she still jumps up on me for a cuddle as soon as I go to see her.

    The way to a chicken's heart is through their stomach so find out what they love to eat and make sure that they have to eat it out of your hand. Scrambled egg, cheese, hulled sunflower seeds, greens (ours LOVE kale) and dried mealworms are usually favourites so try them and see how you go. Once they associate you with yummy food they should look forward to seeing you. Hopefully at least one in your little group will reveal itself to be extra special and make itself your little pal.
  5. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Ah, skittish chicks. Do you by any chance have these chicks in a brooder on the floor? And are you handling these chicks by reaching down for them from up above? If so, this is 99% of your problem.

    Chicks have a strong instinct for survival to avoid anything coming at them from above. Like hawks. That's what hands reaching down for them resemble to chicks.

    The solution is to create a brooder that you can access from the side. I like cardboard appliance boxes for this purpose. You can place the box on a table and cut a door, and even windows covered in see-through plastic, into the sides. Chicks will be able to see all of you this way, and they will be much more calm and tame and will enjoy being handled.

    Another alternative is to brood the chicks outdoors in your run in a protected pen. That way you can be right in the pen with them. There's no mistaking you for a hawk when they see all of you.

    I wrote an article on outdoor brooding for BYC. Look down below this post and you'll see the link.
  6. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Crowing

    Jul 19, 2015
    Eastern Shore, MD
    Yes, the best option for "taming" is a brooder area big enough for you to get in with them and just sit. Don't reach and grab and force handling. Sit with them and they get used to your presence. After some time of this, hold them for a second. Pick them up, put them down, using a relaxed hand low to the ground. I don't use treats as I don't like them to see me as a food machine, but a lot of people use treats for taming.
  7. Cacique500

    Cacique500 Songster

    Jun 2, 2013
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Good advice already given. I'd give them a couple days to get settled then start handling a little bit at a time. My new batch did NOT like being approached from above, so I came in from the side with chick starter in my hand and that got them used to "the giant hand from the sky". Within a couple days they were jumping on my hand to eat the starter, and just got better from there on out.
  8. Flock Master64

    Flock Master64 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2016
    Surrounded by the Amish
    Love your profile picture

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