Socializing Chicks?


9 Years
Oct 5, 2010
Two days ago I bought a mixture of five Barred Rock and Rhode Island Red chicks. They're three weeks old and so far they've been fine - drinking, eating and digesting, not too hot not too cold, etc. I have to admit, I bought them with the intent of considering them pets that happen to lay eggs, rather than egg manufacturers that I keep in backyard. That being said, as of right now, they aren't very social at all. If I even open up their cage to refill their waterer or feeder, they go into a frenzy and begin trying to fly around. I sit near their cage whenever I'm not at school and hold them multiple times a day and stroke their necks. Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone had any suggestions for socializing older chicks? Anything I can try?
Make sure you talk to them softly so they can hear you comming before you open the brooder. Take some time to just leave your hand inside with your palm up. They'll get used to you if you just stay consistent...
I began my chicken raising with yr old Gold Comet pullets but they were still leery of me at first. I bought bread at the day old bread store and sat outside with them and talked to them and gave them some treats. This was in July. As time went on, I let them out to free range and sat outside with them, and would give them some bread treats. Now they are like my pets and will sit on my lap and follow me around yard or wait at back door for me to come out with them. I also got some Barred Rock juveniles and Leghorn juveniles who were very nervous at first but again, I sat and talked to them while I kept them in their coop so they'd know where "home" was. I did this for several days and now they will come up to me and grab bread and not run when they see me. They probably won't be as calm as the Gold Comets but they do stay near and don't run.

It just took some time and patience but sounds like you are doing the right thing.

Thank you both so much! I'll just keep holding them and talking to them and try giving them bread.
Very good question, I was thinking of posting it myself. I only got my first 3 chicks this saturday (barred rocks also) and Im not their favorite thing to see either. They will tolerate my hands inside their box if i move slowly and just today they sort of came toward me when i went into the shed so maybe they are starting to figure out which side their bread is buttered on. They still get really cheesed off when I pick them up though. I read somewhere on here recently that you couldnt over handle them.. the more the better?
I probably only pick them up once a day, to move them while i clean their litter.
I handle mine about 2-3 times per day. Two of them jump up on the feeder when I come in the room, they don't mind being held.
The others don't run too much except for one really flighty black sexlink. She ducks down low to the floor and runs all over peeping loudly. Before the others would run with her, but now they know she's crazy!

I hold them individually and tell them they are ok (maybe I am reassuring myself too) and don't put them back in the brooder until they have settled and aren't peeping anymore.

I second the suggestion of mealworms. Fortunately, I've had my chicks since day one and I know they love me.....but they sure love me MORE when they see me with the plastic cup they "know" has mealworms in it. Nothing else exists for them except me and the mealworms when I have those treats.
I agree with the sentiments shared by others. We recently bought three week-old chicks (2 golden comets, one EE), and I was wondering whether they'd ever really "like us," too. I've gotta say, they're not like the cats! They're not crazy about being picked up (although we do, of course) or touched. They are about 6 weeks old now and have moved in with the three "big girls" outside (went much better than we'd expected). I thought that since they were not inside with us anymore that they would become even more flighty or timid around us. But actually, as time goes on, they seem to be liking us more and more! Of course, we bring them treats, which helps, but not everytime. Now when I come to visit them outside, they immediately come running to me and, even when I don't have treats, jump up on my lap to "chat" and say hi. They may never love being "snuggled" or petted (like my kitty cats do), but they just needed some time to develop a bond. Be patient. Sit with them and talk to them. They will come to love you.
(although I'm sure they already do).

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