How Do You Handle And Tame Baby Chickens?

Free Ranging and Training Chickens...

“I recently inherited a small farm from my grandmother, and I’m thinking about raising chickens. I’ve never handled baby chicks before, and I’m a bit nervous about how to care for them properly. Can you give me some advice on how to handle and tame baby chickens?” Thanks a bunch, Sandra, Brisbane, Australia.

How to Handle and Tame Baby Chickens: A Comprehensive Guide

Hey Sandra! Congratulations on your new farm inheritance, and kudos for considering raising chickens. It’s a rewarding experience, and I’m excited to help you get started with handling and taming those adorable little chicks. Let’s dive into everything you need to know to become a pro at caring for baby chickens.

Understanding Baby Chickens

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of handling and taming, it’s crucial to understand what baby chickens, or chicks, are like. Chicks are fragile creatures that require careful handling and specific care, especially in their first few weeks of life. They’re naturally curious and social, which makes them great candidates for taming with the right approach.

Setting Up the Brooder

The first step in caring for baby chicks is setting up a proper brooder. A brooder is a warm, safe space where chicks live for the first few weeks of their lives. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • A large container (like a plastic tote or cardboard box)
  • A heat lamp or brooder plate
  • Bedding (pine shavings work well)
  • Chick feed and water containers
  • A thermometer to monitor temperature

Sandra, make sure the brooder is in a draft-free area of your farm, away from potential predators. The temperature should start at about 95°F (35°C) for the first week, then decrease by about 5°F each week until the chicks are fully feathered.

Handling Baby Chicks Safely

When it comes to handling baby chicks, gentleness is key. Here are some tips to ensure you’re handling them safely:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling chicks to prevent the spread of diseases.
  2. Approach the chicks slowly and calmly to avoid startling them.
  3. Scoop them up gently with both hands, supporting their entire body.
  4. Hold them close to your body to make them feel secure.
  5. Limit handling sessions to short periods, especially when they’re very young.

Remember, Sandra, chicks are delicate creatures. Their bones are fragile, and rough handling can cause injury or stress. Always be gentle and patient when interacting with them.

Taming Baby Chicks

Taming baby chicks is all about building trust and positive associations. Here are some effective strategies:

1. Frequent Interactions

Spend time near the brooder several times a day, talking softly to the chicks. This helps them get used to your presence and voice.

2. Hand Feeding

Offer treats like small pieces of lettuce or mealworms from your hand. This encourages the chicks to associate you with positive experiences.

3. Gentle Petting

Once the chicks are comfortable with your presence, try gently stroking their backs or heads. Start with just a finger and gradually increase contact as they become more comfortable.

4. Create a Routine

Chicks thrive on routine. Try to interact with them at the same times each day, perhaps when you’re refreshing their food and water.

Common Challenges in Handling and Taming Chicks

Sandra, you might encounter a few challenges as you begin this journey. Here are some common issues and how to address them:

Skittish Behavior

Some chicks may be naturally more nervous than others. For these, spend extra time just sitting near the brooder, allowing them to get used to your presence without direct interaction.


Chicks may peck at your hands out of curiosity or when looking for food. This is normal behavior, but if it becomes excessive, try distracting them with treats or toys.


Signs of stress in chicks include huddling, excessive chirping, or lethargy. If you notice these signs, reduce handling and ensure the brooder environment is optimal.

Progressing from Chicks to Pullets

As your chicks grow into pullets (young hens), you’ll need to adjust your handling and taming techniques:

  • Gradually increase the duration of handling sessions.
  • Introduce new experiences, like different types of treats or toys.
  • Begin teaching them to come when called by using a consistent sound or word before offering treats.
  • Start introducing them to the outdoor environment in short, supervised sessions.

The Importance of Socialization

Socialization is crucial for raising friendly, well-adjusted chickens. Here’s why it matters:

  • Socialized chickens are easier to handle for health checks and egg collection.
  • They’re less likely to become stressed when interacting with humans.
  • Well-socialized chickens often make better pets and can be more enjoyable to keep.
  • It can make flock management easier in the long run.

Sandra, remember that each chick has its own personality. Some may become very friendly and enjoy human interaction, while others may always be a bit more reserved. That’s perfectly normal and part of the joy of keeping chickens!

Health Considerations When Handling Chicks

While handling and taming your chicks, it’s important to keep an eye on their health. Here are some things to watch for:

  • Pasty butt: Check for droppings stuck to their vent and gently clean if necessary.
  • Signs of illness: Lethargy, loss of appetite, or unusual droppings could indicate health issues.
  • Proper growth: Chicks should be growing steadily and developing feathers.

If you notice any health concerns, don’t hesitate to consult with a veterinarian who specializes in poultry. Early intervention can be crucial for the health of your flock.

Creating a Chicken-Friendly Environment

As your chicks grow, they’ll need an environment that allows them to express natural behaviors. This can include:

  • Perches for roosting
  • Dust bathing areas
  • Plenty of space to scratch and forage
  • Nesting boxes (once they’re old enough to lay eggs)

Providing these elements will help your chickens feel secure and content, making them more receptive to handling and interaction.

Long-Term Benefits of Tame Chickens

Investing time in handling and taming your chicks can pay off in numerous ways:

  • Easier health checks and medical treatments when necessary
  • More enjoyable interactions for you and your family
  • Potential for chickens to become family pets
  • Easier management of your flock
  • Possibility of training chickens for simple tricks or behaviors

Final Thoughts…

Sandra, handling and taming baby chickens is a journey that requires patience, consistency, and gentleness. Remember to start with a proper brooder setup, handle your chicks gently and frequently, and focus on positive interactions to build trust. As your chicks grow, adjust your approach to match their development, always prioritizing their comfort and well-being.

Thank you for reaching out with your question. It’s wonderful to see someone taking such a thoughtful approach to chicken keeping. With the care and dedication you’re showing, I’m confident you’ll raise a happy, healthy flock of chickens on your grandmother’s farm. Enjoy the process, and don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any more questions as you embark on this exciting adventure in Brisbane!

Whether you're a complete beginner and don't know where to start, or you're a seasoned chicken keeping professional and just want practical "how to" advice on tap our guide to keeping chickens has got you covered...

Chicken Keeping Book

Leave a reply

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}