The Terrible Twos (two month old chicks)

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by undermywings, May 15, 2009.

  1. undermywings

    undermywings chicken chaser

    Mar 29, 2009
    California high desert
    The Terrible Twos (two month old chicks and their unwilling behavior)

    Whether born into the family or adopted, chicks come to you in cotton ball size, their innocence making them loveable and you protective. You have just become the parent of a small brood. The fussing over temperature, food, water, bedding, and housing becomes all consuming. The amazing creativity of the adoptive parent changes the bathtub, ice chest, hamper, plastic storage container, closet or garage into a brooder. A corner of the household has just been turned into a nursery.

    Even if you set the standard of right away putting your babies out in the coop, you find yourself checking on them every half hour. You keep looking to see if they are huddled or spread out and you adjust the heat lamp accordingly. Unbelievably, you check on them in the middle of the night. Yep, babies are adorable. You cuddle them in your hand and they fall asleep, trusting in your care and warmth.

    By 3 weeks, all have names and you’ve caved into the idea that they need more space (or your family gave you an ultimatum), so out they go into the coop where the boogy man lives. They are more vulnerable now and they huddle under that momma heat lamp for protection and against the darkness and quiet. You run out there in the morning for a head count and boy, are they so happy to hear and see you.

    Another week goes by and they are settled into their new home. They have just become toddlers. You’ve removed the borders and allowed access to the whole coop. Exploring their new playground, testing out those great new wing feathers, jumping up on the roosts and flying down, running, chasing and crashing into each other.

    Suddenly you aren’t number one with them anymore. They kind of ignore you now, to them food and water magically appear every day, they have kewl playmates for entertainment, and momma heat lamp is there every night. You are crushed because they won’t let you pick them up or even come near them. Quickly, you post on BYC, “Help, my chicks ignore me, how can I make them friendly?”

    You learn the trick is treats and your family rolls their eyes when one of the grocery bags you bring home from the market is full of snacks just for the chicks. Tuna, oatmeal, bananas, grapes, peanut butter, yogurt, and geez, even store bought chicken eggs if you don’t have layers yet so you can crumble hard boiled eggs, and a quick stop at the feed supply for tiny crickets and you just know you’ll be making friends with the chicks today for sure! Back to BYC forums, “Can chicks be allergic to peanuts like people too?”

    You let them out in the yard at 6 weeks. It’s a whole new world and off they go; find first bug, scale new heights, discover grass and interesting barnyard residents. You are still lugging snacks out to the chicks like some new schoolyard kid trying to fit in and make friends by giving out the best parts of your lunch. You consider therapy but realize there are others like you. Many others. You run back in to post to your new BYC group for solace and hover in front of the monitor. You get all dizzy inside and shout out to your family that you just went from New Egg to Just Hatched! It is then that you realize you may now have an addiction problem. But that is another story.

    Your chicks are two months old today. You find that your sack lunch forays into the school yard have created a following. OMG! Are they expecting me now?! Are they crowding around ME?! But they are being picky and demanding. You’d better bring goodies and they had better be the right ones or you are left sitting in the dust. Yes, you are now officially the vending machine. This realization makes you slump.

    If you have ever had children, these moments only take you back to the time when your kids were at the age of two. Toddlers are negative about most things, having tantrums, saying no, becoming independent as they learn new things. Wanting ‘down’ to run wild and free….of you.

    You watch your brood climb on everything, find hiding places, squeeze into spots you thought were child proof…I mean chick proof…and you are busy sealing up cracks that lead into the pig pen. No matter, the chicks will just use your chair as a launching pad to fly to and from and get into places you don’t want them to be. Or worse, flying over the chicken run where you must chase them down when they escape (no small feat) and your cat is happily watching; far enough away from your throwing zone but close enough to give you goose bumps. At night, the chicks refuse to be herded back into the coop and won’t return on their own. They run around peeping louder and louder because they are cold and sleepy, and they have your whole family running in circles to get them back in.

    “So.” you think out loud (your family is getting used to this), “My chicks are in their Terrible Twos. What should I do?”
    Like all good parents, I net searched parenting skills and toddlers and was amazed at the similarities. So here it is:
    • Have a regular routine for meals, naps, and bedtime and stick to them each day.
    i.e. herd them into the coop at dusk, no sooner, no later.
    • Offer limited choices like ‘would you like strawberries or bananasfor your snack?’ and not just ‘what do you want for your snack?’
    i.e. We had strawberries for breakfast and that is what you will have too.
    • Learn to set limits about things and don’t be surprised when your toddler tries to test those limits to see what he can get away with.
    i.e. No, you cannot bother the neighbors and steal Mr Duck’s cheerios or tease grumpy old Mr and Mrs Banty.
    i.e. but if you try, I will let you experience the natural consequences thereof so count your tail feathers right now young ladies.
    • Don’t give in to tantrums.
    i.e. You can scream all you want to but I am going to pick you up and hold you anyway and I know you secretly like it cuz you fall asleep in my lap when I do.
    • Provide your toddler with a safe environment that is well child-proofed to explore and play in. (For those of us who go by the ‘what came first, the chicken or the coop?’ and the answer is ‘the chicken”, then you may have a little bit of a struggle with this one.)

    In essence, we want our chickens to love us, climb all over us, and be excited to see us. If you are new to the game, chicks go through a Terrible Twos stage where they ignore you or run from you. That will pass with a lot of love, snacks and patience. When they get to the teen stage, say like around 12 weeks old, most will be sitting in your lap, riding your shoulder, and be happy you are in the coop with them.

    If you spend some of every day with them, holding them, encouraging them, sometimes letting them come to you on their terms (some terrible twos have an awkward shyness that takes them a little more time to warm up to you), then you will finally reap the reward of a friendly chicken coop that greets you for you and not just for your treats. [​IMG] Copyright 2009 Debbie Foster
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2009
  2. patyrdz

    patyrdz The Madd Hatcher

    Feb 26, 2009
    Southern Pines, NC
    That is too cute, and so very true! [​IMG]
  3. EvilTOJ

    EvilTOJ Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 30, 2009
    Portland OR
    Quote:This is especially true. Mine HATE being picked up and squak like I was killing them! But then they shut up and get all quiet and relaxed.
  4. KattyKillFish

    KattyKillFish Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2009
    Dillingham, Alaska
    Quote:This is especially true. Mine HATE being picked up and squak like I was killing them! But then they shut up and get all quiet and relaxed.

    yup, my two-month olds are just the same. i have a male and female silver phoenix, and they are the brattiest, whiniest little feathered weasels on the planet. but they have very sweet moments like when something scares them or my male coturnix decides not to take their crap anymore they run to mommy and hide [​IMG]

    they love attention. you have very good advice!
  5. ging3rhoffman

    ging3rhoffman Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 23, 2009
    You, my dear are a creative writer. If you dont have a book out you should get busy with that. [​IMG]
  6. rhondapiper

    rhondapiper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oh, I just love this post, it makes me feel slightly less insane!
  7. Javamama

    Javamama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2008

    And sometimes we are fortunate enough to get a special one who decides that acting like a toddler for the rest of it's life is just how it's going to be. You want so badly to kick it out of the house, but you know how it would end, and so you just keep giving in to the whining, the tantrums, the piggish ways at the food dish, the total lack of respect. And daily you find yourself saying "if it weren't for the eggs..." Sigh.
  8. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    Aug 25, 2008
    GREAT post! And soooo true!

    May I make a suggestion? Edit it, and add a blank line between paragraphs. It will make it much easier to read, and more people will be able to do so!

    But overall, very fun! Thanks! [​IMG]
  9. undermywings

    undermywings chicken chaser

    Mar 29, 2009
    California high desert
    Thank you everyone for the encouragement and editing tips.[​IMG] I was hoping others would understand and not think I've lost my mind.[​IMG]
  10. astylishgirl

    astylishgirl Animal Lover Supreme

    Apr 27, 2009
    Beaumont, Texas
    I absolutely loved this. You do need to write!

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