Skittish Chicks


9 Years
Apr 7, 2011
Well, we got chicks ^^ But I've had chicks before and they were very calm, loved to be held etc. This time they are the most skittish things! Freak out when I put my hand down in to add food, peep and squirm like crazy when being held. Afraid to peck at any new food I've put in there for a little treat etc. Will they calm down anytime soon? I love to hold our chickens but when they're skittish it's a little hard. I'm worried they'll never become use to us. Polish I do know are alert but, I've had 'em before and never experienced a trust/holding problem
It does seem like at a certain age (around 4-8 weeks) they can go through a wild, skittish stage no matter how much they were babied when they were younger. You can gain their trust by giving them treats such as mealworms, grass clippings, or sliced grapes.
They're only a few days old. 5 days
I think you have hatch mates of my new polish! They are two weeks old and are the most horrible little things. The other chicks we've had have tolerated us fairly well and eaten treats and endured being handled but not these little polish girls. All you have to do to freak them out is walk by. Try to change their water or food and they fling themselves about screaming bloody murder. The only time they're still and quiet is when I put them in an outside cage for some sun. They hate, hate, hate being held too. If they can see the brooder with their mates then they'll stand on my arm for a minute or two but absolutely won't settle down if they're being grasped or if I remove their line of site on the brooder. I feel terrible for not liking them and I did so want them. I'm glad you posted so I can feel like it's not just me!
Most of mine are pretty skittish too, and they are 3 weeks old. The Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Whites are the least afraid of me and somewhat curious, I can sometimes pet them and pick them up. The New Hampshires are not to thrilled about contact and the Rhode Island Red wants NOTHING to do with me.

I don't handle them a ton though, as we have 2 laying hens and 5 pullets, so my time is split between 3 different age groups. I'm hoping as they get older and we start feeding more treats and handling more for outside time they will warm up to us more.

Every night when I pull the towel over half the brooder to keep in the warmth in and block the light they all freak out. If scoop out dirty shavings they run shrieking from me.
xD Crossgirl! and Noy
I know, I seem to have the same problem. I swear if you didn't see me and the chickens behind the door you would swear I was killing them. We have a net over the top of their brooder since we do have a cat which occasionally sneaks into the garage but not often. Every time I lift it up to hold/change food etc. they shriek and run under the lamps. They're getting a little better. I can now stand and look at them without have them run around the brooder
I remember when we had silkies and I would just LOVE to cuddle with them but now that we got these chicks I don't them as much I'm sad to say. I want to hold them on my lap etc. but they just won't sit still.
I feel like I've failed at being a mother hen.

@Greenafmilyfarms - You can give them grass clippings? Never done that before. They're so afraid they don't even peck at yogurt.

I feel so down that they're so afraid of me. I always love holding our chickens or having them perch on my arm but now......?
I handle my chicks everyday. The more skittish, the more I handle them. It pays off. My older bunch all love me and jump in my lap when I sit in the coop. I've only had 3 that were really bad. They now are much better. The little ones stretch out their legs and wing when on my lap. I
my lap chickens.
Dont give up yet on skittish chicks, keep working with them and they'll warm up. be sure to hand feed lots of goodies, will associate a hand with food, i also tuen them on thier backs and rock like a baby, genly pet frem throat to legs and tug on legs a little, they go into a trance.
the reason i do this to all chickens is if we ever had an emergency and vet needs them calm WOOP on ther backs, they will become to trusting you can cradle even the largest rooster in one hand stroke with the other till the head relaxes so much it droops way down. for showing poofys will need to be washed and blow dryed start now... they love having their hair washed!

mahalo from maui
Thanks everybody but I don't think they're going to get friendly. especially after today. Our cat just got in the brooder and ate one. I put a net over the brooder and secured it down so I'm not sure how she even got into the garage. They were doing really great and becoming more friendly. Until now. Just great.
Oh man! That totally sucks! I'm so sorry. Poor chickie! Mine will eat oats from my hand now but that's about as friendly as they get. Maybe after they recover from their shock they'll continue to improve for you.

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