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Why do my baby chicks hate me?!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Anna_MN, Feb 28, 2012.

  1. Anna_MN

    Anna_MN Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 4, 2011
    Princeton, MN
    My 12 chicks are 10 days old. I have a mixture of easter eggers, columbian wyandottes and buff orpingtons. Their brooder is kept VERY clean since it is in my basement and it is kept at a constant 85 degrees. They have plenty of space. I clean their waterer out at least 4 times a day. Their feeder is always full.

    But- every time I reach my hand into the brooder they peck at me, fly and my arm and scratch me with their feet, and then run away in terror. I try to pick each one up at least once a day so they get used to being handled. I don't know what I'm doing wrong! I have given them EVERYTHING they need (plus more!) and they still act this way. Has anyone else had issues with chicks being this aggressive? I don't know what to do [​IMG] Any help would be appreciated!
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Baby chicks do act terrified of people. That is normal until they get to be tamer with time. Some breeds really don't get tame very well.

    But it sounds like you might have some aggressive chicks in there, which has happened to me before. So what I recommend is (and this holds true with adults- hens who are aggressive) the following:

    If a chick attacks your hand, grab it. Pick it up and place it gently on the floor. Hold it down with your hands so that it must lie on its tummy (do this EXTREMELY carefully with chicks so you don't injure them).

    Hold it there for just a few seconds and say nothing. Then, let it go.

    You have just told it that you are above it in the pecking order. No chick or adult chicken allows another chick or chicken to peck it without doing something in return unless it is lower on the pecking order.

    I once had a chick only 2-3 weeks old viciously peck my hand every time I tried to reach out to hold it. It was a Delaware. Needless to say I don't have them anymore. I have heard others say that the hatchery Delawares can be like that (not breeder Delawares).

    I have "cured" aggressive hens of pecking me with this treatment I mentioned above. It is very effective and I can go right up to them and pick them up, carry them around like babies and dote on them afterwards. I am the top hen! You need to be the top hen too!
  3. allpeepedout

    allpeepedout Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    I noticed that they seem to have an instinctive fear of things that approach them from overhead or loom overhead, as a predator would (think hawk). It can help to find a way to approach them from underneath, such as putting your hand down in a corner of the brooder without chicks, then scooting it toward them near the floor to scoop one up from underneath. Try not to loom. Or if you have a cage with a door, elevate it so you are at a level more similar to them. Using a verbal call when you give treats can help them associate you with goodness. Some are just more the wild type. Good luck.
  4. Anna_MN

    Anna_MN Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 4, 2011
    Princeton, MN
    Thank you for your help! These ideas sound wonderful. I will be putting them into action asap....

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