socializing chicks/chickens?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by AinaWGSD, May 29, 2010.

  1. AinaWGSD

    AinaWGSD Songster

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    Sullivan, IL
    So we've "broke ground" on our coop, technically speaking (we have a platform on legs that will become the floor, tomorrow we hope to break ground literally and start digging post holes for the coop) and our little "chicken project" is going along quite nicely. We don't plan on getting any birds until the end of June, since we will be going out of town for several days towards the end of June and we don't want to have to try to find someone to watch the chickens for us while we are gone. But now we are at the point where we are trying to decide whether to order day old sexed chicks from a hatchery or buy older chicks from a "local" breeder. We are looking for a variety of breeds for a colorful egg basket and are currently not looking to keep a rooster (we live in town with fairly close neighbors who may not appreciate crowing). We have absolutely no interest in breeding or showing, but since we are planning on keeping a small flock (5-6 hens or so) we would like them to be friendly, calm, quiet birds. As far as I can tell, the cost of ordering a small number of chicks from a hatchery (right now we are looking at MyPetChicken) is going to be roughly the same as driving the distance to several breeders (because of course no one breeder in a 2-3 hour radius seems to have all of the breeds we're interested in right now and we're thinking of getting one of these, and one of those, and ooohh one of those!). I do have a slight hang up with ordering mass-produced live animals from a commercial breeder, but at least I can live with MyPetChicken's policies regarding extra roos and shipping of live chicks. And I'm not sure that once we actually do get the coop up and standing that I can be patient enough to wait for a local breeder to have pullets available since it seems likely most of them will be holding onto their chicks that they are growing out until this fall before making a decision on which ones to keep and which ones to cull.

    So my question is, does it make a difference in sociability/socialization/friendliness of adult chickens if you get them as day old chicks vs getting them as older chicks and "taming" them if need be? Given that all of the other considerations on which to go with seem to pretty much cancel each other out, I suspect this may be the deciding factor in which we get. I know that a lot of people seem to want only puppies or kittens because of the misconception that they will not bond with you and your family as well as an older puppy/kitten, adolescent, or adult dog/cat. I also know that in the case of cats and dogs it is totally untrue. My first thought would be that if we got chicks as day olds and we were the ones caring for them, handling them, etc that they would be more used to us and therefore more friendly with us than if we got them at a few months old and had to get them used to the idea that we weren't going to hurt them. But having never had chickens before, I have no idea if that assumption is accurate, or if it is just as false as it would be if we were talking about dogs or cats.

    Edited so that the post title more accurately reflects the actual question.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2010
  2. CoopCrazy

    CoopCrazy Brooder Boss

    Mar 3, 2009
    Columbus,IN
    Personally I woudl go with MPC , as you will be getting birds that not only are raised with you but with eachother... Also by getting adult birds from various places you run a VERY high risk of Disease (unless you quarintine birds from different breeders for 30 days) also that means seperate coops and runs for each breeder you purchase from.. Personalluy chicks that are raised and handled by humans are much more likely to bond with you because they are constanlty going to be around you.. Another thing is Integration of the birds after quarantine , chickens can be very viscious and you will have a mighty fight on your hands.. So my humble opionin would defintly be Chicks from a Hatchery....
     
  3. Cuddles with Chickens

    Cuddles with Chickens In the Brooder

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    May 21, 2010
    We ordered 3 rock chicks from mypetchicken with great results--all arrive happy and healthy--although one did turn out to be a cochin (happy surprise). I agree that getting them as chicks is much better with regards to socialization as well as making sure they're all healthy and bond as a flock easily--I think they actually may have imprinted on eachother in transit. We have kept our brooder in our kitchen/living area to make sure they socialized with us. The chicks are 8 weeks now and LOVE to be held and pet--you can hardly keep them off of you when you let them out of the brooder to play. The dust gets everywhere and their poop stinks terribly but we'll be putting them out into their henhouse next week and I know I'll miss having them in here with us! If you find that you have a chick or two that is skittish or weary of you, treats are the way to their hearts for sure. We had one chick that was shy to come out onto our hands and at about 5 weeks I started giving her half of an organic raisin each time I held her so that she would associate being held with dessert (raisins are pretty much pure fruit sugar so you don't want to give them to them too often)--after a couple of days all I had to do was hold the raisin in my hand and she would run to me--yes, they are very good at visually identifying different treats.

    Also, you mention getting the chickens as pets--we live in Seattle (urban chicken farming has had a boom here!) and got our chicks for the same reason--we'd like to have the fresh eggs and had heard what great pets chickens make. After much research, it sounds like Plymouth Rocks, Orpingtons and Cochins make the best pet chickens--you just have to be careful about mixing them with other breeds as they are so docile and friendly they tend to get bullied by other breeds if you mix them in. Good luck to you and enjoy your chickens!
     
  4. elmo

    elmo Songster

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    May 23, 2009
    DFW
    If you get older chicks from someone who has handled them frequently, then they'll probably take to you pretty quickly as well although not immediately. Chickens do recognize individuals. On the other hand, if you get older chicks from someone who never handled them when they were young, your chances of taming them diminish significantly.

    Is it really so different with dogs and cats? If a dog or cat has had no experience of humans when young (a feral dog or cat, for example) it can be difficult and is sometimes impossible to get them used to humans. They'll probably never be as comfortable with people as animals raised with humans.

    We got our chicks on the day they hatched out, given to us by a neighborhood breeder. I'm so glad we got ours young because I didn't want to miss a moment of the cuteness of chicks! And since we held ours daily, they grew up to be very tame and friendly birds.
     

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