When can you start holding chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by LadyVictorian, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. LadyVictorian

    LadyVictorian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 4 baby silkie's who are about 1 week old and are primarily going to just be pets. I want them to be friendly and social but I also don't want to stress them out as babies. When is the best time to start handling, them how long can you handle them at a time, and what is the best way to get them to be friendly and not skittish of people? I have tried feeding them by hand but they mostly keep away from me and don't want to take food from me. I try not to handle them too much so I don't stress them and make them sick.
     
  2. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    IMO sooner the better, my first batch were 3 days old when I got them, and I gave them a day to acclimate to their new home and started handling them right after that. I just scooped them up and held them in my hand. I had three chicks and found that one at a time was easiest, as the two in the brooder kept each other quiet while I focused on the one I was holding. If you're doing two or more at a time you might want to drape a towel in your lap and have them sit on your lap instead. I just pet them, talked softly to them, and offered them treats (as using the food they're already eating is probably not terribly interesting to them). If you don't want to be as aggressive with reaching in and grabbing them, you can do the same as above, just without holding them in your hand.

    I used broken, dried mealworm pieces as their "human time" treat. You can try different treats, just make sure they're tiny enough for a chick and that you offer them chick grit as well to help them digest it.

    Warning: they poop, a lot. If you're going to pick them up have a towel or roll of paper towels handy, and don't wear your Sunday best. [​IMG]
     
  3. LadyVictorian

    LadyVictorian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh yeah, they pooed on me a few times already when I was showing them where their food and water was and when I moved them out of the carrier and into the brooder. >.<

    After work today then I might set up a little spot on my bed with a towel to hold them after work. I am already picking up chick treats and chick grit from work so it should all be good. Might get them a few other things too to keep them occupied since they clearly love playing and chasing each other and jumping on everything.Only about a week old and they already knocked their water over.
     
  4. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Get used to the waterer toppling, I brooded mine in a bathtub and heard a thump at least once a day after they knocked the darn thing over.

    Something that might help entertain them is if you have some small, clean branches around, you can put them in the brooder to climb on. I even turned one into a low, mini swing using some wire, by twisting one end of wire around the end of the wood and hooking the other end of wire onto the hardware cloth "lid" over the brooding area. They might not really use it (only one of mine did) but it'll entertain them to knock it around or hop over it.
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    A spilled waterer can cause the chicks to get chilled if you are not around for a while to take care of that wet bedding. It is very easy to hang your waterer, and this will prevent all such accidents.
     
  6. LadyVictorian

    LadyVictorian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I created a little thing to hold the waterer to the side of the of the brooder and no tipping since then since they would have to apply a lot of force to rip it off the wall now.

    I am thinking of buying them a bird swing. I heard a few people talking about those for chicks. I also want to get them a rabbit hay house to go inside with treats in it and a few other toys that might interest them. Still got a lot of gift cards for petsmart.

    Currently have been handling my chicks in the morning and afternoon and at night after work. Right now all 4 are sleeping in my lap covered by a towel so they feel more like they are under a mama hen. They are less skittish and if I pick at food and treats with my finger they will walk over and peck at it now.
     
  7. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens don't really play with toys in most cases, they're mostly motivated by food, so a food dispensing toy might work, though your chicks are so tiny it might be hard to find something suitable. A mirror might be interesting to them as well.

    Don't know if the rabbit hay house is a good idea or not, I haven't had rabbits and not sure exactly what the house would be made of. The chicks will peck at it so make sure it's something that's ok for them to ingest.
     
  8. LadyVictorian

    LadyVictorian Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The rabbit hay hut is made of timothy hay. I have one for my rats that they chew up and sleep in. It's very cozy and has nothing else in it other than the timothy hay.
     

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