Taming peeps / overly stimulating treats

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by brandywine, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. brandywine

    brandywine Songster

    Jul 9, 2008
    Western PA
    I'm raising my first batch of chicks -- 15 pullets of various breeds + the mystery chick (I think silver-spangled Wyandotte roo) from McMurray. I got them Monday, which would make them 5 days old today, Thursday.

    I noticed that on day 2 they were less trusting than the day I got them. So I've started hand-feeding them a little almost every time I have to go into the brooder to do something. They now mob my hand, jump on, peck the food (started with dandelion and clover flower petals, but was getting some loose stools, so switched to oatmeal for treats). A few have grabbed a bit of hand and tried to pull, and I gently but firmly flick them in the beak for that, and it seems to get the message across without frightening them too much.

    So -- good idea? Bad idea? I want the chickens to be tame and amenable to handling, but not overly familiar, pushy, or aggressive. They are here to be layers, not really pets.

    I'm also picking them up and holding them. No idea whether I'm getting everyone in rotation every day. I have three each of five breeds.

    Second question: inspired by the entertaining bedlam when a singed fly fell into the brooder, I've been tossing June bugs into the brooder in the evenings. Last night the dispute over the two bugs seemed a bit over-the-top, and it took a long time for the peeps to settle. I was wondering whether I ought to hold off on the exciting ambulatory treats until they move to larger quarters. Or else collect enough June bugs for everyone? Opinions?
  2. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    Even when I try to have enough treats for all, the slower chickens don't get some (try as I might to get some to them!).

    Enjoy the show. It's part of their social hierarchy to establish who eats first/best/most.
  3. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator

    Sep 25, 2007
    I'm not sure oatmeal is the best treat for them, being so young...you may want to do some searches on what treats are good for days' old chicks. I don't start feeding treats until about 4 weeks, and I make sure to give them chick grit to make sure they can digest it. Are you giving chick grit, free choice?

    I think what you're doing as far as handling is perfect! The more you handle them, the more easy they will be to deal with as adults, for SURE!!! Good luck!!

    Oh, and WELCOME TO BYC!!!
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2008
  4. They're awfully young for treats. The mixture in your starter crumbles is the best combination for them, probably 19% protein. Also the guts of the June bugs may contain microorganisms bad for babies, and gluey stuff in the abdomen is alkaline.

    I had advice not to feed by hand because it shapes pecking behavior that can hurt then you have to correct them, and I am relieved now that I didn't. Do you want them to fear your hand, because flicking the beak could cause that. I want them to accept my hand when I need to pick them up and especially when I need to treat them for an injury.

    I'm a newbie too and you will get very good assistance from experienced people here.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2008
  5. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator

    Sep 25, 2007
    I agree with LynneP - I think hand feeding at this age is probably not the best idea. But handling them most definitely is. Best of luck with them! It's refreshing to hear folks talk about wanting to spend more time with their chicks/chickens and that are actually concerned about what they feed and when! Good for you for wanting to do the right thing! [​IMG]

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