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When playing with young chickens, could I play in a sandbox with them?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by InsanityShard, Mar 14, 2017.

  1. InsanityShard

    InsanityShard Just Hatched

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    In 15-20 years I'll have enough saved up for a house (Hopefully sooner) and then I'll get chickens. I want 3 Buff Lace hens and a Silkie hen. I also want to hand raise them from a young age. When I'm playing with them, helping them get used to handling and living in a coop/run, will I be able to play with them in a sand box? I think it might help them learn dust bathing, as well as add bonding and handling experience for them. I'm far from rough, I just want to be able to hug them and easily move them as adults, but not accidentally make them indoor only without knowing what to do when I stick them in the run/coop. I'd like to raise them more indoors, since I want to stay here but there are many snakes and foxes, as well as making sure I don't lose them to drowning in their own water or pond. I don't know if they can swim. My budgies can't. Still, storms hit here often, I really want them to be used to inside and outside, as well as handling, without crippling them in just basic things like giving themselves dust baths or scratching up bugs. I trained how lightly I can pet things by buying a spikey cactus and patting it. =D I can pet it without scratching my fingers. If you're wondering I'm Autistic. >_> Some things I understand easily, others not. But I really want to be able to play with my pets. Like burying treats they can dig up, sprinkling sand on them while they're bathing and stuff.
     
  2. peopleRanimals2

    peopleRanimals2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hey, good for you! [​IMG]
    If you were wondering, chickens don't need to be taught how to dust bathe. It's fine if you play with them in a sandbox, but they might leave the sandbox, just because they will want go exploring around. It will definitely be a cool way to give them some handling experience. A silkie will be a great hen for cuddling, but because of their hair-like feathers, they do need a little extra maintenance. It sounds like you've done lots of research, so I'm sure you'll do great! It's not that hard, just paying extra attention to keep them clean.
    You probably won't have to worry about accidentally making them indoor chickens. [​IMG] What most people do is deep the chicks inside with a heat lamp until they have grown in most of their feathers, because at that point, they will be able to regulate their temperature enough to live outside. When they are chicks, its really fun to take one or two outside at a time to go on little adventures. That was my favorite thing to do when my hens were chicks.
    As for the predators, if you have a good sturdy coop and run, the predators won't be as much of a problem. there are plenty of resources on this site about how to build predator proof coops and runs.
    The chickens won't drown in their waterer, as long as you have a waterer specifically made for chickens. As for a pond, they probably won't go into it, because they don't like getting their feathers or feet wet.
    If you take them outside when they are chicks, they will learn how to scratch for bugs themselves. You can certainly help them, because if you find bugs or worms or something, you can imitate a mother hen by picking up the treat, then dropping it. The chicks will run over and peck at whatever you picked up. It's really cute ;)
    It sounds like you'll have lots of fun with your chickens, and chickens are a good low maintenance pet that will still love to do stuff with you.
    Feel free to ask if you have any questions, everyone here will be happy to help! Best of luck,
    -M
     
  3. InsanityShard

    InsanityShard Just Hatched

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    I haven't done lots of research, I just know a little like they need dust baths from my agriculture classes, but as for handling and stuff, I'm applying stuff from my budgies handling needs to them. I was thinking of playing with them in their run, mostly, to help them be familiar with it. Even budgies like foraging as an activity for bonding. +D
     
  4. peopleRanimals2

    peopleRanimals2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Even if you haven't done much research, it's still good that you're looking into it. The handling part is a good idea. You should first play with them somewhere enclosed, until they are used to you, then when you take them somewhere more open, even if it's only out into your backyard, they'll already know the drill! I've never had budgies, but it can't be that different. With chickens, you need to be gentle, so as not to hurt them, but also firm, so when you hold them their wings don't get loose and flap in your face XD
    I didn't know that budgies like foraging. That's cool!
    I'll probably talk to you soon, if you have any more questions. :)
    -M
     
  5. katieuppi

    katieuppi Just Hatched

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    I think enrichment is so important for domesticated animals. I've been watching videos of trained chickens recently - one would peck a song on a keyboard as is owner flashed a laser pointer over the keys. Then the chicken got a reward. There's a lot of research and information on enrichment for dogs and indoor cats. Chickens need it, too.
     
  6. InsanityShard

    InsanityShard Just Hatched

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    Yeah, I've got a lot. I don't even know how to look into finding breeders, though I am a member of the Bird Club here! How do I go about bathing them? I know that would help the Silkies fluffiness, and would probably be good for the Buff Laces too, and might help against mites, lice and ticks. Are there chicken shampoos or anything? I'd love to be able to sit there and brush a Silkie! I know I couldn't brush Buff Lace but I can at least make them fluffier.
     
  7. peopleRanimals2

    peopleRanimals2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That sounds like a fun idea! I'm not sure about the silkies, because their feathers are different, but for normal hens you are only supposed to wash them about once or twice a year, because when you wash them it rubs all of the oils off of their feathers. You know what happens when you try to wash a feather that you've found outside, right? The same thing happens to the chickens' feathers.
    I think you can just use mild baby shampoo, you'd have to look into that, though. To dry them off, I've heard that you can turn a hair dryer on cool, and hair-dry them! Or you could just towel dry, if you don't own a hair dryer.
    Dust bathing helps against lice and other bugs, but washing them once or twice a year can't hurt, can it? ;)
    Do you want to find a local breeder, or would you rather order from a hatchery? The downside of hatcheries is that there is usually a minimum chick order, usually around 20. This is to keep them warm in the mail. You can find your local thread on this website, and I'm sure some people in your area would help you find a reputable local breeder that has the breeds you want.
     
  8. InsanityShard

    InsanityShard Just Hatched

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    I've never tried to wash a feather before, actually. >_>
     
  9. peopleRanimals2

    peopleRanimals2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well, the soft part gets separated and it looks like this: [​IMG]I know it's kind of hard to see, white against white, but all the oil gets washed away, so it takes the hens a while to get oil from their oil glands back over all of their feathers to make them water resistant and heat regulating again. This is why you should always wash them on warm days.
     
  10. InsanityShard

    InsanityShard Just Hatched

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    Pretty easy, then, South East Queensland is pretty hot in the Summer.
     

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