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Chicks pecking each other

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Today I went to my local feed store and bought some 4 week old chicks. The owner got the chicks from a back room and boxed them up for me. It didn't occur to me to look at them before I took them home. When I got them home, all but one had feather loss on her back. At first I thought this could be because they were sometimes standing on each other's backs. Then I saw them pecking each other, and one chick pulling and poking at herself.

From what I understand, this mostly happens in overcrowded conditions or where the birds aren't getting enough protein. So I put two in one 18x3 box (these were the 2 who were bleeding just slightly) and three in another 18x3 box and I gave them a treat of some hard boiled egg, chopped fine. I also poured a little sand in each box, which seems to get their minds off pecking each other - at least for now.

Is there anything else I can do or anything else I should know about this?

If I discover one chick seems to be picking on all the others, should I get rid of that chick? Or will another chick become a leader and take over her nasty place?

My dad, who raised chickens as a kid, says I should just put them outside in the hen house. I could do this with a light. Would they be okay out of a brooder? Our average night temperature is in the mid-30s.

I appreciate any advice!


Edited by kriswrite - 4/16/11 at 7:29pm
post #2 of 19

There is another post on this issue right now. Try a red heat lamp. Good for you giving them sand for grit... you've been taught well. I wouldn't put them outside just yet, where do you live and how's the climate. Your TLC will do a lot for them. I might try some preventive steps for the back problem. Like vits or one of the old timers (I mean that w/ all the love in the world) could suggest a antibiotic if that is a need. I would be tempted to talk w/ the store mgr. They should have warned you. My  chick guy GAVE me a chick to nurse along, because he thought she wouldn't make it. She's fine now ... but I would of been fuming if I was "slipped" some hurting chicks. Good Luck

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

At the very least, I won't buy from this guy again.

The good news is, the chicks settled down last night and seem quite happy now. No pecking at each other. I think they were just overcrowded!

post #4 of 19

I've also used talcum powder (similar to baby powder or foot powder), the smell supposedly confuses them so they don't know who to pick on. If she's pecking herself, I'm not sure what the problem is.

post #5 of 19

I love the "rooster booster pick no more lotion" - looks like molasses and stains.

It has saved my chicks - nipped pecking in the bud. This is useful immediately after washing off pasty butt- as others notice the freshly cleaned bum and peck at it.

Wipe beak, wipe beak (ewww what was that yucky stuff she put on there).

I'm glad to hear your chicks seem to have settled down. Eating feathers is a habit...if you see it paint them with something.

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

Ugh! Spoke too soon. Went outside to do some yard work and came back to a bloody chick. Hubby is out buying a red bulb now.

post #7 of 19

You were on the right track, separating them. I had the same problem with my three bantam Cochin Frizzles when I got them at six weeks old. What I did was make a chicken "condo" for them. I put several boxes together (with duct tape, what else?!) and cut large "doorways" inbetween the boxes so that they could see each other. Then I stapled window screening to cover the doorways so that they couldn't get to one another and peck. I had to keep them segregated that way for about a week or two but it worked like a charm! I did a couple of test-runs, putting them back together to see what happened. When the offender went after the victim right away, I knew it was too soon to reunite them.

Even if you don't try the Chicken Condo idea, it is important to separate the injured chick from all the rest as even non-bullies will peck at a wound that they see.

Good luck!

I found a photo that I had taken of the fresh girl in lockdown:

BTW: the three became fast-friends who were inseparable after the problem was resolved.

Edited by ADozenGirlz - 4/17/11 at 2:30pm
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks, everyone. I tried a red light and a little Vicks rub. So far, it's working great!

post #9 of 19

We have a red light, and a bully chick... he pecks the others in the eyes and i feel like i have tried everything. None of the chicks are bleeding, but this bully is pecking the others in the eyes and around the eyes so i am terrified it will cause some chicks to go half blind or even worse completely. I have put apple in their cage yet they do not seem interested, let me know if you find something else that works well...

I put sugar in their water as they were mail order chicks and I just picked them up yesterday, but it is back to regular now.

post #10 of 19

Okay, I just did this and it is working amazingly. You put in a little log or something and sprinkle it with food, it seems my chicks were simply bored and I have no more issues with my bully chick! I feel like such a genius!!!thumbsup

yippiechickie GO ME!!! yippiechickie

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