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CANNIBALISM ?!! **PLEASE HELP! EXTREME NEWBIE!!!!!**

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello, I'm in FFA and I am a green-hands (a.k.a. first year/first time raising animals). I was given 22 yellow chicks. I have a coop that is 5x10 ft but they haven't been staying there due to lack of materials (feeding pen, water station, heating lamps, etc.) so I've had them in my room in a box about 2x1.5ft. When I first got them, everything was okay. they ate, they slept, they drank, and that was that.

 

Now it is day 4 of having them (today is the day ill be bringing them to the barn btw) and I've noticed bald spots on my chicks and A LOT of aggression within the flock so I separated them into halves. I put 11 in a different box (about the same size as the other) and everything has calmed down. I did some research and I read that it could be cannibalism????. I know that feather picking happens but this is kind of extreme. I'd say about 2 or 3 are completely intact or very little fur/feather loss, a majority has a good amount of fur/feather loss but still hair in the areas, and about 2 has completely bald spots the size of quarters. The chicks are very small, about the size of an average adult woman's fist, and only have feathers coming in around the ends of the wings.

 

I'm freaking out because I don't want my chicks to eat each other and I know literally nothing about raising chickens. Please help me out with some tips on ways to revert or prevent more of this behavior and/or any other tips for raising chickens? ANYTHING helps..

post #2 of 9
More space needed, What are you feeding them?

I am working with a lot of kids just like you. Similar problems coming down the pipe.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

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Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
post #3 of 9

You need a LOT more space.  Your coop is only big enough for 10 - 12 chicks.  They need at least 1 sq. foot per chick in the brooder.  What are you using for heat?  How old are they?  Go to the learning center in the top bar and start reading the information about raising chicks.  You are responsible for these little lives.  I strongly recommend that you give half of them away, since you don't have enough coop space for them all anyways.  Feather picking is NOT normal.  If you have feather picking going on, that's a definite sign that their needs are not being met.  I wish you the best of luck in getting them set up with more space today.  Time is essential.

Ephesians 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-lazy-gardener

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/yes-you-certainly-can-brood-chicks-outdoors

https://tikktok.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/fermented-feed-faq/

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Ephesians 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-lazy-gardener

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/yes-you-certainly-can-brood-chicks-outdoors

https://tikktok.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/fermented-feed-faq/

Reply
post #4 of 9
Space issue likely not kicking in yet but will soon. Nutrition is something that does come into play quickly.


See following link for some detail on space requirements for chicks.

http://extension.missouri.edu/p/G8351

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
post #5 of 9

Get you parents to take you around to stores that sell large appliances like washers, dryers and fridges. Grocery stores may have some of those cardboard pumpkin corals left from Halloween they might give you.

 

By the time chicks are a week old they need a foot of space each, so you'll need a couple of boxes you can tape together and cut pass-through into the common wall to form a two-box chick condo. Cut some big windows into the sides and cover with see-through plastic sheeting for lots of nice light. Cut an opening into one side and leave the fourth side intact to form a hinge to allow side access. (See my article on outdoor brooding links below my post for a photo of a two-box-cardboard brooder.)

 

Then you need to get busy and double the space in your coop. You'll need four square feet for each chicken. I built my coop out of discarded glass doors and used lumber. The dump is a wonderful place to "shop" for building materials, by the way. If you see some corrugated metal roofing, you can use that to roof the coop and the run both.

 

Getting your chicks into a larger brooding space is critical. You're going to end up losing some chicks if you don't do this asap.

 

Feeding the chicks a high protein chick starter is very important. Not scratch grain.

 

Water is very important. It must be clean and fresh each day.

 

To show you how important space is for raising chicks, they will be flying by the end of their second week.

 

What region are you located? What's the climate?

post #6 of 9
Hi, Trincity. My first suggestion since you are in FFA is to talk to your teacher, sponsor, whoever is in charge about your problem. I know it is Saturday, that make it harder. I don’t know who gave you those yellow chicks, but overall someone should have helped you become better prepared. You have some responsibilities there too but you are trying since you are here.

You need to find out the breed or cross your yellow chicks are. They could be chicks meant to lay eggs, they could be chicks meant for meat. That will have a big effect on how you feed and raise them. But that can wait until Monday.

Feather eating is not a bad thing. Mine eat the small feathers floating around. It’s not a problem. But feather-picking (or on your case down-picking) is a problem. That’s where chickens pick feathers or down off of each other. It can lead to cannibalism so you are right to be concerned. In my experience that’s caused more by overcrowding than percent protein in the feed, but like everything else there can be multiple causes.

Where are you located? What I’m after is your rough climate and expected weather. If you stick around on this forum, and I hope you do, modifying your profile to show general location can help with these types of questions.

Some of us brood in the house, some in an outbuilding like a detached or attached garage, some like me brood directly in the coop. If you have a reliable heat source, wind protection, good ventilation, and it’s predator-proof you can brood anywhere you wish. I don’t know what is available to you. I know wind protection and good ventilation can be confusing. If you have the wind blocked down where they are but openings up high you can achieve this.

So yours are a t least four days old. Thanks for including that info, it helps. I find for the first couple of days the chicks spend a lot of time under a broody hen or near a heat source, but then they usually get more adventuresome and spend more time away from the heat. They still need a place to go warm up but they don’t spend as much time in the warm area. They are more comfortable in cooler temperatures for a while.

I’m not a believer in “magic numbers” for space requirements or much of anything else to do with chickens. As you can quickly see you are going to get a lot of conflicting opinion as to which numbers are magic. I am a huge believer in providing lots of space though and some of these space suggestions give you a starting point. I’m not going to give you any hard and fast numbers you have to meet, they will grow very rapidly and their space requirements will go up quickly. I’ve raised 28 chicks to 5 weeks in a 3’ x 5’ brooder, these were almost all female. I’ve raised 21 chicks to the same age in the same brooder but these were mostly male. In both cases they were getting pretty crowded, I’d reached my limit. This is one place it might help to know what kind of chicks you have.

I believe your immediate problem is room. I’m sure of it. You just don’t have enough room for the chicks, let alone enough room for waterers and feeders. If you can get hold of an appliance box or any other larger box and have a place to set it up, that can tremendously help immediately. As they grow you can find another one and tape them together to create a larger space. It doesn’t have to be an appliance box, any way you can provide more space can work. Right now you are just trying to get through until next week. Give them as much space as you reasonably can and still keep them warm.

What are you feeding them and how? Chicks do best on a chick “Starter”. That’s a prepared commercial feed with around 20% protein and a calcium content around 1%. You can find that information on the label on the bag. Any feed store near you should have that. You can use feeds with a lower protein level in an emergency, they will be OK with a 16% protein feed, but higher protein is better. The one you need to avoid is Layer, that has a calcium percent of around 4% which is too high for your chicks.

I’m going to horrify a lot of people on here by saying that Dad used to raise his chicks on corn meal, probably a 10% protein feed. I’m not trying to say that is adequate, it’s not, but in an emergency it will do for a few days. Dad raised those chicks in a cardboard box with a 60 watt incandescent bulb. Those chicks can be really tough and Dad did not have a problem with feather or down picking. We all want what’s best for our chicks but right now you want to see Monday.

It’s very important that the brooder stay dry. A wet brooder is a dangerous brooder in different ways. They also have to have clean water. There are different ways to provide water, I use a pet bowl filled with rocks so they can walk on the water and not drown. You don’t have to use a commercial special waterer, you just need to keep it clean.

That’s enough for this morning. Good luck and keep us posted.

This too shall pass.  It may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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This too shall pass.  It may pass like a kidney stone, but it will pass.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
post #7 of 9
To others other than OP. When these emergency things pop up, I have begun trying for rapid fire exchanges to get at info needed for effective short-term management. When OP does not respond quickly, then it sets stage for line of thought not targeting area of need or OP is not getting information in timely manner anyway making effort to help ineffective.

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your quick responses. I live in houston, texas. It's cold but nothing freezing, been high 60's lately.
I don't know tje exact age that they were given to me. All I can tell you is that they're still majority fur but have feathers on the wings about 2/3rds up.
I have texted my teacher this morning. It was very late when i posted this and I wanted a quick response rather than having to wait 6+ hours when I was in a panic.
I'll be getting the protein feed, the feeders, and waterers today along with transferring them to a WAY bigger location. Btw i separateed them more snd the seem to be more mellowed. I found one that was aggressive still so i put him in a shoe box alone because i think it's him doing the most damage.
Again, thank you all for the speedy responses ❤ i feel 1000 times better and know alot more about raising them. I'll be sure to fill out my information on my page too lol sorry if that left some of you in the dark
post #9 of 9
Where will you be getting feed?

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply

Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it.

 

 

Reminder to self: August 2021 Check Post #15852 in Show Off Your American Gamefowl

Reply
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