Taming chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by spoonie, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. spoonie

    spoonie In the Brooder

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    Jun 16, 2008
    Juda, WI
    I've had my chicks for four weeks now, and they're still terrified of me. When they get out of the brooder is it going to get better? I have read it might be a predator fear, since I am above them. I hate how they run scared every time I even come in the room. Even after I sit quietly for awhile they still huddle in one corner to try and get away from me. If I take them out one or two at a time they do a lot better, but they still don't seem to care for me too much. I can't get them to approach my hand while they are in the brooder at all (with or without food, it's a no go). I'm in there with them every day for at least a half hour, sometimes for as long as a couple hours. What more can I do? Am I trying too hard? lol
     
  2. KLH2010

    KLH2010 Songster

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    Apr 20, 2008
    Do they ever run out of food? I have noticed that mine are a lot happier to see me if they have eaten all their food. If they are hungry I take advantage of that and feed them by hand. I have had good luck getting them to at least settle down some this way.
     
  3. spoonie

    spoonie In the Brooder

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    Jun 16, 2008
    Juda, WI
    No. I make sure to fill their feeders every day, so they don't run out. [​IMG] I guess I can let them get a little more hungry and try that. hehe
     
  4. marthalazar

    marthalazar In the Brooder

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    Jun 4, 2008
    Brooklyn, NY
    I put a treat on my hand and let them peck it. I began by sprinkling uncooked steel cut oatmeal on the ground in front of them. They LOVED it! Then they would get excited when I came by because they knew a treat was coming. Now they eat it out of my hand.

    I'm sorry your gals are so scared. I was wondering how to get my girls to like being picked up. I love seeing the photos of people with hens on their laps. I would love a lap hen!
     
  5. mthrclckr

    mthrclckr In the Brooder

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    Oct 4, 2007
    S.F. Bay Area, CA
    Spoonie,

    What breed/s are these chicks? And any background (hatchery or breeder)?

    -Naomi
     
  6. CathyB

    CathyB Songster

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    I really had no problem with my chicks. They loved eating out of my hand more than their feeder! I would maybe get some plain yogurt and dip my finger in it and offer it to them. Mine go crazy for their yogurt! Just keep talking to them and trying. I am sure they will come around at some point!
     
  7. spoonie

    spoonie In the Brooder

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    Jun 16, 2008
    Juda, WI
    I got them from McMurray four weeks ago, and I have both Jersey Giants and Orpingtons. I picked them since they are supposed to be very nice and docile. XD

    I've tried with some bits of watermelon and some applesauce, both of which they love when its not in my hand. I'll try with the oatmeal though too.
     
  8. HenMamma

    HenMamma Songster

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    May 10, 2008
    Emmet TWP, MI
    I found at 3-6 weeks they will run from everything. Mine run to me every time they see me now. But that might be because I usually have a hand full of grasshoppers or treats. That helps a lot too! [​IMG]
     
  9. Akane

    Akane Crowing

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    Jun 15, 2008
    Mine really like to see me but they still run from me. I feed them treats out of my hand, scatter bits on the floor of the brooder when I walk by, and hold them daily. They love to sit on my shoulder and sometimes after I get them out of the brooder I have to shove them off my hands because they don't want to get down. They still run around like idiots when I open the lid and reach in and won't come near me for a good 5mins before checking if I'm holding anything tasty. As soon as I try to catch one they go back to running around like idiots and won't come to my hand for another 5mins. I've given up on getting them to willing be caught. Maybe when they get bigger it won't be as bad but with many prey animals it's just wired into them that something coming from above or being confined by your hands is life threatening. They freak out without even knowing why they are freaking out. I just try to scoop them up with the least amount of chasing possible so they don't get overly upset. Then once they are out they are happy as can be.
     
  10. mthrclckr

    mthrclckr In the Brooder

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    Oct 4, 2007
    S.F. Bay Area, CA
    One thing that might help, if you don't have it already, is to have them in a *clear* brooder so that they can see what's going on outside of it. I think that seeing a big face suddenly ogling them from above startles them.

    My chickens would sooner starve than eat oats (even Cheerios). Maybe if I cooked it and added other stuff, they might try it, but I have to say that for the first 2-3 months, I just don't bother trying to give them anything other than their starter feed. I've heard how some people give their chicks scrambled eggs for the protein. But for some reason, my chickens don't like that, either.

    Yes, the breeds you chose are generally friendly and docile ones. I think they will eventually calm down. Maybe not ALL of them, but a few should get used to being handled and may even show "lap chicken potential." It's just that with that many chicks, they're probably going to act as a single entity for a while. They will figure out who feeds them [​IMG] .

    Try all of the wonderful suggestions in this thread. You'll find what works for your chickies.

    Oh - one last thing is that when you begin your "play time" with the chicks, put your hand in (palm up) and hold it there for a bit. You might be able to identify the braver ones. And when you go to pick one up, try scooping it from below rather than reaching from above. The latter seems to mimic what a predator does and chicks really hate this.

    Good luck!

    -Naomi
     

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