What age should i hold me baby chicks and ducklings??

Gearhead846

Crowing
Dec 6, 2021
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at what age should I be holding my ducklings or chicks I haven't held them in quite a while because of one of my pekins dying and when I do hold them they freak out and act as though I'm a predator. what can I do to make them like me better??

And once again thank you guys for all of your help and support!!

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the_peanut_coop

No Matter How Many Times I Fall...
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Mar 2, 2021
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I always put my hand in the brooder immediatly and let them get used to the sight of it. Remember not to make any sudden movements around them. If they get curious around your hand, gently scoop them up and pet them gently, holding them carefully and correctly. Put it back gently and put your hand back in the brooder ASAP so that the next chick will get used to it. IF you hold them frequently enough, they will get used to you and love you like a mother.

At least, that's my experience.
 

Liz Birdlover

Crowing
Jan 6, 2018
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Most chicks & even older chickens will become friendly in time, after they realize you are no threat & mean no harm. They do have prey instincts so never chase, move fast or reach from above, those actions resemble predators. With chicks slowly put hand in from side & let them come over to check you out, which they will out of curiosity. Their gentle pecks will make you laugh so they'll get accustomed to your laugh & voice, talk sweetly to them, too. You can have some mealworms in the hand sometimes, so they discover a treat, or gently rub & pet chicks with your finger when they're close. They will warm up to you in time. Once they're older & moved into a coop, you can sit & visit with them. Mine come over & eventually jump up to sit in my lap. Sometimes I have mealworms, sunflower seeds (no shell) or cracked corn but most times I don't & they still like to hunker down on my lap for some pets. A few have skittish personalities, they may jump on my lap but don't like hugs or pets, but when I garden they are the 1st to want to see what my garden spade churns up. That's OK, not every bird likes snuggles, they all have their own unique personalities, enjoy them for who they are.
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
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once they're old enough, treats help. But 3 weeks is a lil young for treats just yet.
Wet chick starter (just add water) can be good for this-- once they try it, they seem to really like it.

It is usually best to avoid treats when chicks are young, because they need a properly balanced diet while they are growing so fast. If they fill up on treats, they do not get the right balance of nutrients-- but this is not a problem when the "treat" is just chick starter with added water!
 

Aunt Angus

Crossing the Road
Jul 16, 2018
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Wet chick starter (just add water) can be good for this-- once they try it, they seem to really like it.

It is usually best to avoid treats when chicks are young, because they need a properly balanced diet while they are growing so fast. If they fill up on treats, they do not get the right balance of nutrients-- but this is not a problem when the "treat" is just chick starter with added water!
Great idea!
 

Liz Birdlover

Crowing
Jan 6, 2018
1,394
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Yes. All of the above still applies. And once they're old enough, treats help. But 3 weeks is a lil young for treats just yet.
I have live as well as dried mealworms. I feed my mealworms chicken pellet feed & also have the mealworms dusted with chicken feed, this is known as loading & many people that have reptiles will roll worms in nutrition dust to get the nutrients into the reptile. My chicks went nuts for the smaller live worms & I offered them at 3 days old. Just a few at 1st...abt 3 worms per chick. It teaches them foraging skills & also they looked forward to my visit. Chick crumble feed is available at all times, but a few live mealwoms once day is not a bad thing. I had 3 runt chicks, not doing as well, so I'd take them out & give them 10 mealworms each, it took them much longer to catch & eat & other chicks would knock them over & steal their worm, so taking them out for a few min helped. After a week they were little experts & zipping around, able to compete with the rest. I offer treats only once or twice a week now, but when they were chicks, eating every 15 min & growing fast, a few mealworms once a day wasn't bad for them, they still ate a ton of the nutritious chick feed constantly. The 3 runts caught up & are doing great.
 

Sally PB

Crossing the Road
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Aug 7, 2020
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Their regular food, wetted into a mash, is what I use for almost all my chickie snack, from a few days old. All of my birds think it is a big treat, and it's their regular food, so I'm not taking away any nutrients.

I use just that as a treat until they are 2-3 weeks old, then add small bits of other things.
 

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