What am I going to do with my chicks? I can't tame them!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by rebecca10782, Jun 11, 2008.

  1. rebecca10782

    rebecca10782 Songster

    Apr 24, 2008
    We bought a couple two and three week old chicks about a month ago, and it only took them one day to get comfortable enough to jump up onto my lap and snuggle. They are the sweetest things, they're like my children. They come when I call them and I bring them in the house every night and they sleep on my shoulders for a few hours. [​IMG]

    About a week ago we decided to get four more. We drove two hours to get them, because we wanted blue and chocolate layers and a Jersey Giant. I like to get the chicks all from one breeder, so they are more comfortable with the transition. The woman told me they were pretty tame. I thought see raised them in her backyard, though when we got there we realized that they were in a barn near a stable all by themselves with absolutely no human interaction. Three of them are about three weeks old and the giant is about four weeks. They hate humans, we can't get near them without them running for the hills. I thought if I held them on my lap every night they would eventually calm down. They did fall asleep on my lap for the first couple a nights. They seemed to be relaxing, but the last couple of nights they refuse to stay on my lap and when I try to pet them they scream and run. They are getting worse every day. To add to the complications, we do have cats and dogs in the house but they don't even notice them, they could not care less. Actually, the other night I posted a picture of the chicks sleeping on the dogs back in front of the heater. The two older chicks are a problem too, the chased them once, so we have seperated them until the little ones get bigger. So, I guess my question is, do you think there is hope of taming them? Is there anything special I can do? I give them yummy treats and talk to them. My dad told me to take them into a quiet room with no one else and no noise. But they have to get used to noise eventually. There is a woman near me that rescues chickens and farm animals people cannot keep. I don't want to get rid of them, but since they have had no human interaction since they were born, I don't know if they can ever get used to us. I am new to chickens, so I don't know if they tame as well as dogs and cats. I want chickens for pets as well as layers. To top it off the older chicks are mad at us, because we've brought home these new guys. [​IMG] They run from me when I come near them. So we've got a real mess. Someone please help me [​IMG] [​IMG]
  2. 2manyhats

    2manyhats Songster

    May 18, 2008
    Central NY
    Some breeds are friendlier than others. Some chickens are more skiddish (spelling?). They may or may not calm down, but will learn to come to the feed, it will take some time for everyone to settle down.
  3. SeaChick

    SeaChick Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Just be patient and keep handling them, I think.

    We've raised two batches of chicks the same way--- with constant handling--- and the first batch was super-tame; the second not so much at first. Also they kind of go through phases. The skittish chicks have really started to calm down now that they're about 12 weeks old. So just hang in there and keep handling them. Hold them firmly with your hand over their wings so they can't flap and struggle and get away.... pet them... I think eventually they will gentle for you.......
  4. ravenfeathers

    ravenfeathers Songster

    May 23, 2008
    there's another recent thread on this same topic here for some thoughts and ideas on your situation.
  5. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Songster

    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    I have a similar problem myself. We just picked up 2 standard partridge cochins from a critter exchange, They are about a month old. I brought them home and quarentined them in the garage where i have 5 other 3 week old babies with their mama in a seperate pen. I talk to these babies every night and whistle them lullabys. They hate being handled and dont like any treats i have given them but they do let me pet them a bit now and when i pick them up they fuss a bit but quickly calm down and just sit in my hand. I have realized from the first batch of chicks we got a year ago that the more time you spend interacting with them the more comfortable they get with you. Sometimes it takes awhile but well worth it in the end. Best of luck to you [​IMG]
  6. rebecca10782

    rebecca10782 Songster

    Apr 24, 2008
    Quote:Awww I do the same, I purr at them. You know the sound they make when the settle down for the night and seem very content? They all stop chirping and cock there heads to look at me. [​IMG]

    [​IMG] As I am writing this, my dog is growling in his sleep, showing his teeth and everything. Poor baby, he's having a nightmare :aww

    Thanks everyone for your help, I am going to give it a while before I think about any other options. Mabye dinner? [​IMG] [​IMG] Of course I am kidding, I am a vegan. I have slipped up quite a few times, but after looking into my first little baby chicks faces, I will never eat meat agian.
  7. bangor777

    bangor777 Songster

    May 4, 2008
    Just give them time. I have my original 6 chickens in with 5 i adopted from a fellow member. My 6 are extremely friendly, jump on my shoulders, love to sit in my lap. the new 5 were skittish, screamed when I picked them up, can't wait to get away....u know [​IMG]
    but over the last 2-3 weeks they have grown increasingly calm and friendly. I give them their space and they are getting used to human interaction. They will now peck at the rivets on my jeans, come over to me when I sit quietly. I don't know if they will ever be as friendly as my first chicks but they're beautiful, and they are coming along.
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Well, they don't sound that bad to me; it's not like they're hysterically flinging themselves against the coop walls whenever they see you, or anything. They just aren't Walt Disney type lap chickens, is all [​IMG]

    Just get a folding chair, ok?, and a good book, and a container of feed. If you need to you could take their actual feeder away for a couple hrs before you do this, but probably they will be motivated enough without that.

    Go out to the coop. Set up the chair. Wait til they are watching you, then scatter some feed on the ground near you. (If you're inside the coop and the feed would get lost in the bedding, scatter it on a plate or a leftover cut of plywood or something). Now read the book and ignore the chickens.

    Do this at least once a day, every day, for at least 30-45 minutes at a time (more is better if you have the time). When they start coming right over for food and either ignoring you or being interested in you, DON'T try to pet them, but you can start sprinkling some of the food on or around your feet.

    It may well be that they are not destined to be the kind of lap-chickens that will race across the yard when they see you, in slow motion, artistically backlit, and fling themselves into your arms with exclamations of chickenly ecstasy. <shrug> They have whatever personality they have. As long as they are not actively afraid of you, and will come over when you have food to offer, and you can (eventually) catch them when you really have to, I am not sure it is fair to *demand* any more of that from a chicken.

    But you know, if you keep up with the lawn-chair-and-book routine and don't try to grab at them, I bet you will eventually find them occasionally hopping up on you, if only to see what it's like or because you're eating something yummy [​IMG]

    Good luck,

  9. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

    Jun 11, 2007
    Quote:Well said Pat! Mine weren't Disney snuggle bugs either as chicks, but as grownups, they're almost affectionate.

    Just give them time.
  10. Shaun Hagan

    Shaun Hagan In the Brooder

    Apr 16, 2008
    Northern NH
    From the time mine were little I threw a handful of feed into the brooder and kept a little on my finders every time I went to pick them up. They pretty quickly calmed down and dot used to being handled. At this point, they are pretty tame.

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