How to Hand Raise a Chicken

Hand raising a chicken is a great way to earn it's trust and is the easiest of all taming processes. Although you can purchase an older hen, it may still be timid around you. Hand raising a young chick into a fully grown hen can be a hard task, but if you're dedicated to do so you can get it done.


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    Decide on whether you can raise a chick at home. Think about your lifestyle, career, free time, schedule, finances, housing, etc. Your chick will need four main things; shelter, space, time, and money.
    • Finances is one of the most important sources you need to bring up a young chick. You need to cash out on a brooder set-up, coop, feeder, drinker, feed mix, incubator, heat lamp, etc.
    • Space is the second source you need to think about. Do you have the space for a brooder? Do you have the space for a large coop? Do you have the space to free-range your hen? Every fully grown hen should have at least 4 square feet each in the coop.
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    Decide on how and where you're going to get your chicks. You should decide on getting, at least, two chicks as they are social birds and live in flocks. You have the choice to incubate a batch of fertilized eggs, order online from a hatchery or purchase day-old chicks.
    • Incubating your own eggs means you'll have to invest in an incubator. There is a caution to hatching your own eggs as you may get some males along with females and not all eggs might hatch.
    • Ordering online or purchasing day-old chicks may be easier for you than incubating your eggs yourself. Many hatcheries let you choose on a breed of chicken you want and choose the sex of your chick. Opt to having a female chick instead of a male as females lay eggs, are less noisy and do not fight.
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    Set up a brooder. Before you receive your chicks it is essential that you set up a brooder station. A brooder is primarily a small box with a heat lamp where your chicks will be staying for the first few weeks of their lives. You'll need a few things to set up your brooder;
    • A large boxed container of some sort. Most types of boxes should be fine such as a large plastic container, tub, wooden box or cardboard box. Most people opt with making their own square wooden box.
    • Absorbent, dry bedding. There are a lot of choices you can go for such as hay, straw, wood shavings, paper towels, etc. Wood shavings are the most absorbent whilst you should avoid using newspaper which can cause splayed leg.
    • Feeding and drinking stations. Most feeders/drinkers can be found in pet, feed, ranch or warehouse stores. Look for a chick feeder/drinker which tend to be smaller so the chicks can easily eat and drink out of them.
    • A chick feed. Again these can be found where you get your feeding/drinking stations. Chick feed is different to a chicken mix as it is higher in protein and contains all the nutrients your chick will benefit from. It is important your chicks stick to this diet.
    • A heat lamp. Chicks need to stay warm for the first few weeks. Purchase an effective heat lamp and set it to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Every week turn the temperature down 5 degrees until the heat lamp reaches room temperature.
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    Care for your chicks as they grow. Chicks need food every day and their drinkers should be filled with clean water. The bedding should be cleaned regularly and so should the feeding/drinking stations. Remember to check on the chicks all throughout the day.
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    Handle the chicks as they grow. Handling the chicks at a young age is an important process in taming them. It's easy to handle chicks and they become tame as you do so. When you handle the chicks often it imprints on them that you are their mother.
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    Move the chicks to a run at 4-6 weeks. As the chicks begin to grow you must provide them with more space and once they reach a certain age they should get use to the outside world. Move them onto a large, spacious run and a coop as this should be their new home.
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    Care and handle your pullets (young females) more. You can begin to give the chicks small treats such as fruits, vegetables, and/or bugs. Feed them straight from your hand to tame them a bit more. If you've been handling them well they should already have imprinted onto you.
    • You can supplement your pullets diet with crushed egg/oyster shells for calcium when they start laying. This creates strong eggs.
    • Do not feed your pullets food that is bad for them such as chocolate, caffeine, candy, avocado, citrus, salt, tomato stems, raw potato skins, etc.


  • Give him/her a reward like some high protein chicken pellets it might sound like he/she's a dog not a chicken but it works.
  • Make sure you bond with your chicken if you don't he/she won't trust you very much.


  • Don't chase your chicken this will make it stressed and stress could kill your chicken.
  • if you need to carry your chicken walk around it very slowly and go a bit closer every two steps.

Things You'll Need

  • a good healthy chicken
  • a chicken pen
  • chicken feed

Article Info

Categories: Chickens