Skittish Chicks

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SMRich1, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. SMRich1

    SMRich1 New Egg

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    Mar 15, 2012
    I am new to raising chickens, only had my own chicks for about 2 weeks now. I was told that you need to handle them daily so they become used to you. we have two chicks that are 2 and a half weeks old, and one that is about 3 and a half weeks old, who was added about two days after the first 2. The older one is very skittish and seems to project that onto the younger 2, even though we handle them daily. (my daughter (11) would actually sleep with them if I let her!) how do I get them over being so... flighty? I want to get them to the point where they are like those chickens I read about who fall asleep on your lap and follow you around. Any suggestions?
     
  2. devora

    devora Chillin' With My Peeps

    Welcome!

    They are tiny things, give 'em some time.

    Your goal of having lap chickens, while understandable, is unrealistic. It's good to take the bird on its own level. Yes, we love to talk about the birds that do that stuff, but for every one lap chicken there are many "natural" birds who go their own wonderful chicken way. :)
     
  3. RobRoo

    RobRoo Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 19, 2011
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    Try the French Favarolle breed of chicken. They are very calm and pleasant to be around and make good kids pets if the child is taught how to handle the bird properly. I had them at one time but they are so calm (or stupid) they are on the bottom of the peck order in a mixed flock and they don't have much hawk or coyote smarts and in a free range situation, like i use in the warmer months,they can't seem to find thier way home. They were so calm they even forgot to get out of the way of a moving horse herd! I aways got a kick out of those silly birds. After I saw the death wish behavior of these things, I gathered up what was left of thier number and gave them to some neighbor kids for a 4-h project. The little gal won 1st place with one of the hens and it became her favorite pet.They do well in a confinement and pet situation.
     
  4. RedIII

    RedIII Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agreed, just be patient and continue to work with them. I have two 2-mo-old pullets I've been working with for several weeks, and while the one is okay with me stroking her back and hopping up on my foot or knee, the other is still uncomfortable with me touching her. That being said, they are both still wonderful and have their own personalities, and now they don't start when I stand up or move. It's worth it to be patient and gentle with them.

    Woops! Edited to say that I was agreeing with devora, but RobRoo snuck in before me, hehe. Still, good advice from both.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  5. RobRoo

    RobRoo Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 19, 2011
    Western Montana
    Try the French Favarolle breed of chicken. They are very calm and pleasant to be around and make good kids pets if the child is taught how to handle the bird properly. I had them at one time but they are so calm (or stupid) they are on the bottom of the peck order in a mixed flock and they don't have much hawk or coyote smarts and in a free range situation, like i use in the warmer months,they can't seem to find thier way home. They were so calm they even forgot to get out of the way of a moving horse herd! I aways got a kick out of those silly birds. After I saw the death wish behavior of these things, I gathered up what was left of thier number and gave them to some neighbor kids for a 4-h project. The little gal won 1st place with one of the hens and it became her favorite pet.They do well in a confinement and pet situation.
     
  6. lclough1998

    lclough1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I believe it gets better when you start bringing them treats, so just keep doing what you are doing. After about 3 weeks of age, start giving them chick grit and you can give them small amounts of soft treats, cooked veggies, cooked rice, cooked oatmeal, scrambled eggs and such. What kind of chicks are they?

    And Welcome, you will love this site for any info you need!
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2012
  7. SMRich1

    SMRich1 New Egg

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    Mar 15, 2012
    One of the younger chicks is a R.I.R, the other I am unsure about, and the oldest I was told was a white leghorn? I can start giving them soft treats at about 3 wks? The guy at the feed store told me not until they are four months! I am hoping it warms up soon so we can go outside.
     
  8. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    How are you approaching the chicks? If you have your brooder on the floor and are reaching down into the box to pick up the chicks, they will be as terrified as if you were a hawk diving at them from the sky. It's instinct. As long as you continue to do it this way, they will become more scared of you trying to touch them as time goes by, rather than become more used to you.

    You need to reach toward the chicks slowly from the side, ideally sliding your hand, sideways toward their little feet. Rest the side of your hand against their toes, and they will soon trust you enough to step onto your hand. At first, after the chick steps onto your hand, either the palm or backside, raise your hand up and down a few inches, coming back to rest on the floor of the brooder. Soon chicks will compete to get a "ride"on your hand. Raise them up a foot or more. They'll love it! By this time, they are fully trusting you, and you can then bring your hand toward you and hold the chick. The taming process doesn't take long when approached in this manner.

    This is much easier with a brooder placed up on a table, with a side access, instead of a brooder placed on the floor with a top access.

    All, and I do mean ALL, of my chicks raised in this manner have turned into lap chickens. My hens are as affectionate as puppy dogs, jumping into my lap to be cuddled whenever I sit down. When I'm in the run, on my knees raking poop from under the coop, sometimes I'll have as many as seven hens crowding in close to be group-hugged. It's so funny to back up and they'll all remain in tight "formation" like a racked set of balls on a pool table.

    Chickens are capable of being as tame and affectionate as you are willing for them to be.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. SMRich1

    SMRich1 New Egg

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    Mar 15, 2012
    Thanks for the tip! I will try that when I get home from work. The little R.I.R. jumped on the back of my hand last night when I let it rest on the floor of the brooder. Hopefully the others will come around as well. Any ideas on the best treats to start with while they are young?
     
  10. bj taylor

    bj taylor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i have four breeds (6 wks old) 14 birds total - buff orp, black australorp, barred rock, & silver laced wyandotte. i have spent a great deal of time with them since they came in the mail. one buff orp comes running to me every time he sees me, one other buff comes to be picked up also. several others like to range around my feet but don't want to be touched. others always keep their distance.
    i started giving them treats about 3 wks. i also then gave them grit without calcium.
     

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