I found out that it takes more than “immediately” to get the little chicks to trust me. (that’s probably good advice for most of you middle schooler’s out there, too – no charge) My idea is to tame them and get them used to being right near me and actually noticing if I show up in their pen later on in their little chicken lives.
So, I got a small handful of food and put my hand into the washtub. They just plain didn’t trust me right away. But when I put my hand really low, like almost right on the sawdust, and left it there (still attached to my arm), they wandered over to check it out. If you never had chickens, you may not recognize their “I’m gonna look but I don’t trust this situation” look. They cock their head at about a 12 degree angle – that lets one eye get the full effect. They did this to my hand, and, eventually, their hunger and curiosity won out.
Pretty soon they were standing right on my hand, stabbing gently at the flecks of feed in the grooves between my fingers. It was a nice feeling; like attention from nature that feels benign. As “immediately” stretched into almost five minutes, me and my little chick buddies formed a bond. We trusted each other; they knew I was ok. I extracted my hand after a while, and they cheeped goodbye to my hand and turned back to the food in the automatic feeder. It was a nice moment.
This afternoon when I came home after work to check on them, they’d forgotten all about me. The “trust account” was empty. But I made another deposit of ‘finger food’, and will do the same tomorrow. I’ll bet they’ll eat, then, too.
A red one is named Steve (by Ethan), a black one is named Huevo (by Cassidy), and another red one is named Albus Percival Wulfric Brian (by Jacob). Ang and I are waiting for personality to show before we commit to a naming ceremony.