Why don’t my chicks like being held?

Vanta Lilies

In the Brooder
Jul 3, 2020
23
14
26
They’re approximately one week old. I got five cross breeds; two Wyandotte, two Rhode Island Reds and an Araucana. The Wyandotte’s don’t really mind being held, the Araucana doesn’t like takeoff but I can calm her down, however, the Reds dislike it all. I was hoping that I could raise them to not mind being handled. How should I? Also, when they’re older will they follow treats? Because they don’t right now.
 
May 10, 2020
358
698
113
Chester, Nova Scotia
My Coop
Mine used to be afraid of my hand too - then after reading on here about them being afraid of things from above like @sourland says, I’d sit by the brooder with my hand laying in the bedding. Eventually they would be crawling all over it. By 4 weeks if I went anywhere near the brooder they would be screaming to sit on my lap or for me to pick them up. Time and patients. And food is your friend.
 

Vanta Lilies

In the Brooder
Jul 3, 2020
23
14
26
Should I handle them even if they seem to dislike it? Or should I leave them be?
 
May 12, 2020
115
203
73
NW Florida
Approach them with the palm of your hand facing towards the ceiling. When you pick them up, grab them with your fingers under their chest, and some prefer you to hold their feet as well. Handle them as much as possible. Even when they’re outside you should handle them a lot, or they’ll grow further apart from you. But try rubbing their chest or petting their backs. Some chickens don’t like being picked up, and when you do so every time you interact with them, they’ll be scared of you and run from you.
 
May 10, 2020
358
698
113
Chester, Nova Scotia
My Coop
I would let them get comfortable with the presence of your hand first before trying picking them up. I also used to sit quietly with them (and watch YouTube videos) with one at a time while I had my morning coffee. And had a little bowl of food for the one that was out with me.
But someone more experienced might have different advice.
 
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Sonya9

Crowing
6 Years
Feb 7, 2014
1,875
1,091
271
Georgia
As others have said don't grab them from above, also try not to loom above them.

With them only being a week old try holding two at a time in one hand so they are next to each other and less fearful. Cup your hand against your chest and hold them against you so they can feel your warmth and heart beat. You can also try cupping a hand over their heads gently and stroking their heads/neck (mimic being covered by a mama hen).
Scrambled egg or another super tasty treat is another good idea, feed them the egg with your hand near the dish, then start feeding them directly out of your hand.

It will NOT get easier as they get older so work with them a few times a day now. Not all will take to it, birds have different personalities and the breed matters a lot, but some will become very tame and some is enough.
 
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Sonya9

Crowing
6 Years
Feb 7, 2014
1,875
1,091
271
Georgia
As an example of how to pick them up, this is how I pick up my 8 week old bantam chicks. They were handled excessively since hatch and will let me approach them and scoop them up even while free ranging (though OEG bantams are a pet breed so they take to it better than some layer breeds).

 
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Ciggynel

Chirping
Apr 2, 2018
49
35
59
North Texas
I have an Egyptian Fayoumi one of the most hard to handle chickens. I scoop her up from the front and gently hold her feet till she settles. Dont stop handling your chicks. Some will be more comfortable around you than others. My husband is a chick magnets he can sit on the bench and the girls come running to perch all around him. Me I have to bribe them with a tiny treat sometimes.
 

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