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