Socializing chicks

BzKneez

In the Brooder
Mar 14, 2019
7
27
29
It's been awhile since I've raised chickens from baby chicks. I'd like for the chickens to be friendly and used to being around people. My older hens are very friendly. The chicks are 3 weeks old and I have them housed in a large cage in my guest bathroom right now. I also have two dogs and two cats so I put the cage in the bathroom because it's easy to isolate and easy to keep warm. My dogs have already been in the bathroom to check them out. The cats don't seem to care. My dogs and outdoor cat hang out with the hens. I try to interact with the chicks a few times a day but all but one seems afraid of me.

Questions: 1) is this normal at this age? or will they become more comfortable with time? 2) if I want them to not be afraid of people, should I handle them more or less at this age? 3) since they're pretty isolated in the bathroom, should I put them in my office where they would see me more? Or will this just frighten them more? The chicks already react when they hear the dogs barking so I don't want to move them if being where more action is that it will scare them more.

Additionally, how long do they need electrolytes in their water? They all seem happy and healthy.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
 

ChickensAreFantastic

In the Brooder
Mar 22, 2020
32
35
33
Pittsboro N.C.
Question 1 answers: I have had raised chicks for about 2 years now, and all my chicks have been a little bit shy at that age. So it's normal for them to be a little bit scared.

Imagine yourself 3 weeks after hatching, still don't know about the world you were born into, and a giant picking you up and cuddling you. I would be a little bit scared wouldn't you?

Question 2 answers: The best way to socialize is to just keep holding them.

Question 3 answers: It depends, if the bathroom is small, you might want to put them in a larger area. Also, do you keep the lights on in there? I think it's best to keep the lights on if you haven't already.

Now I hold my chick whenever I have time. I suggest you do the same. That's what I do.



From:
ChickensAreFantastic!

BTW, I wish you luck on your new chicks 🐔🐔🐔🐔
 

Farmgirl1878

Crowing
Mar 17, 2017
586
1,261
257
Piketon, Ohio
I think that if you handle them a lot when they’re chicklets, they’re easier to handle as adults. As long as you’re gentle and keep your hands clean, they’ll get used to you. If you have the space, take them out while you’re sitting on the floor and let them crawl up on you. Hand feed them, talk and sing to them, play music for them, whatever - as long as you spend time with them and make it fun (for you and them), everybody’s happy!

If it were me, I’d move them into the office, so they see and hear the household noise. Mine stayed in the basement in the quiet so don’t like anyone or anything other than my husband or I to come anywhere near them. (Which is fine since we are pros at “social distancing.”) They’ll get used to the background noise quickly.

How many do you have? And how do you plan to integrate them into your flock? Post some pics if you can, we all love baby pics!
 

Mtnboomer

Songster
Mar 17, 2019
575
1,098
172
Southwest Virginia (mountains)
Unless sick, i never add electrolytes. So any time.
As for socializing, is the goal to be able to hold them or them to just not run when you approach?
If the latter, you dont need to do anything but be a treat machine a few times and they will come running when they see you and follow you around.
If you want them to want to be held, the more positive inreractions the better. Hold them while providing treats. Keep them ear you during quiet times.
Will the dogs be allowed to interact with the chickens? Its always a good thing to get the dogs and birds used to each other so that the dog is not aggressive during free ranging and does not harass the caged birds in a run.
To do this, keep the birds in the cage at ground level with the dogs as often as possible but for gradually increasing duration. Never allow the dog to be aggressive at tge cage or exhibit predator behaviors.
Once the dog becomes indifferent to the caged birds. Move them to the run with the same rules.
If free ranging, begin with the dog on a long leash. Gradually increase time spent and freedom (length of leash). Agsin never allowing aggressive behavior and correcting it immediately. Then begin letting it off leash under close supervision.
It takes time and patience but I let our dog out unsupervised without a second thought. He and the birds are indifferent to each other.
 

rosemarythyme

Free Ranging
Jul 3, 2016
6,923
13,412
642
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
They're afraid because they're still little and you're a giant human, and if you have a typical home brooder you probably have to reach in from the top to pick them up, which feels like a predator to them. I'd keep handling them regularly, and it possible, change the brooder to open from the side instead (obviously not possible if you're using a tote or the bathtub, etc).

You can stop with the electrolytes if you've already been giving it to them for a few weeks, they're not intended for prolonged use.
 

BzKneez

In the Brooder
Mar 14, 2019
7
27
29
They probably need to be a bit older if you want to move them in with your older birds. I’ve had hens kill birds that were too young. They should get friendlier the more you handle them. Good luck!
@casportpony
Thank you. I'm not planning to move them in with the larger birds yet. I was asking whether I should move them into my office where they would be around me more and vice versa. The downside is that they will also be more exposed to the rest of the household such as dogs barking, phones ringing, music, etc. I am wondering whether its best to leave them in their quiet, secluded nest in the bathroom or move them out to where more of the house hold action is.
 

BzKneez

In the Brooder
Mar 14, 2019
7
27
29
They're afraid because they're still little and you're a giant human, and if you have a typical home brooder you probably have to reach in from the top to pick them up, which feels like a predator to them. I'd keep handling them regularly, and it possible, change the brooder to open from the side instead (obviously not possible if you're using a tote or the bathtub, etc).

You can stop with the electrolytes if you've already been giving it to them for a few weeks, they're not intended for prolonged use.
Thank you. I have six chicks so I them in a large rabbit cage so that I am reaching in from the side. I'll just keep doing what I'm doing. They don't like the sound of the cage doors though. I can tell that frightens them but there's nothing I can do about that. Do you think I should leave them in the quiet, secluded bathroom though? Or would it be better if they're in my office but more exposed to the rest of the household noises. My concern is that I'm not sure if that will make them more flighty or if it would be helpful to get them used to all of us more quickly. There's just me my husband and the dogs. I dont intend to let the cats stalk them. However, that will be more difficult if their in my office. Cats can't get near them in the bathroom. I have the cage raised about 3.5 feet off the ground. Dogs can't see inside cage but chicks can see dogs if they get up on their roosting bar.
 

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