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very aggressive newborn chick

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I just had some eggs hatch in the incubator 5 days ago and one of the chicks is super aggressive with the others. It attacks them constantly, unprovoked. I lost two chicks and suspect it was because of this wee firecracker. The breed is RIR. This is definitely not the normal pecking order behavior. I have separated this chick starting yesterday and am handling it most of the time or it cries. It has stopped attacking me now but as soon as I put it back with the others the behavior resumes and the other chicks run and cower. I'm giving it a few days but does anyone have any suggestions or experience with this?
post #2 of 8
I would personally find it a new home where it will only be around larger birds
post #3 of 8
may I ask what exactly is it doing to the other chicks? if it's eyeball pecking that's something they usually outgrow quickly. you can separate her with a little boarder were she can see her flock mates and they can see her but no harm is done. behaviors like leg dragging and eyeball pecking believe it or not are not so much aggressive behavior as more of a natural instinct to get bugs and forage. They say the shining eyes look like bugs as well as legs could be a worm in there heads. They begin to distinguish between flock mates and bugs fairly soon so she shouldn't have to be separated for too long. but in the chicks mind it's foraging for bugs. now if it's doing other things it might be a different story? what is it doing exactly?
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

It does the eye pecking and leg pecking but it also jumps on them, holding them down and pecking away at their heads and necks in particular..  Definitely an attack to do harm and I have to physically separate them.  This chick bites hard and won't let go..  It was doing the same thing to my hand and I've never been bit so hard by a tiny baby before, but like I said, it stopped doing it to me.

post #5 of 8

This sort of behavior in newly hatched chicks is more common than you would think. Chicks have brains and nervous systems just like us humans, and some can be more sensitive to stimuli than others. It usually disappears within a week.


Meanwhile, what you can do is provide diversions that will help desensitize this chick from its focus on other chicks. Toss in some shiny marbles, stick some reflective tape on the walls of the brooder, even drawn "bugs" on the inside walls for it to peck at. Stick a mirror in the brooder. A simple string can be entertaining while being safe.


If the behavior continues, you can try discipline which amounts to poking the chick on the back each time you see the bad behavior. But keep in mind, this will pass in a few days most probably.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

thanks, those are great suggestions, will try them out immediately.

post #7 of 8
yes I've read it does quickly pass as well but to keep the flock mates safe you might put a little barrier between them where they can see each other but no harm can be done. a mirror is a wonderful distraction as well it can peck at its own image and stay interested in its own reflection.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

It's been less than an hour and this is working pretty well. I still had to do a little of the 'discipline' you suggested and that was effective as well after a few taps.  There is still some aggression but at a more normal level.  Wonderful!

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