Yesterday, while I was watching my chickens eat their food, I noticed that I was (unintentionally) using three different methods of raising my chicks. I thought about it and realised that there may be an interesting there may be a lesson here, which was why I put together the following video.
I am currently using three different methods.
- Group 1 – Raised without a mother, in an enclosed pen.
- Group 2 – Raised with a mother, in an enclosed pen.
- Group 3 – Raised with a mother, free range.
I have noticed some differences in their personalities due to the ways they are being raised.
Group 1 seems a little too attached to me (which I like, as it will make caring for them easier later. If I have to pick one up to check it, it will be used to me). They don’t damage the ground as much as group 2, yet they still do chick like activities (chasing each other and playing).
Group 2 appear to have learned to really go to town on the ground, scratching the lawn up terribly. I have to move them regularly or they will destroy the grass. These chicks play a lot, involving their mother in their games. They watch her and seem to learn how to behave from her. These chicks do not like me to pick them up and freak out when I have to touch them (when they escape from the cage I need to put them back).
Group 3 is very used to the other chickens, yet it does watch the chicks from group 2 a lot… almost like it wants to play with them. It is very used me… perhaps too used to me. It gets in the way a lot and I have to be careful not to step on it.
I think that Group 2 is probably the best… they learn all the skills they need to be chickens (or so it seems to me) and they are also protected from predators. They also have the freedom to eat their feed without competing with the full-grown chickens.
I won’t bother placing any chicks out without a mother, and without an enclosure. I doubt they would last very long with the cold, predators, and my dog Orlaith (who feels they are play things).