5 week old chicks pecking and eating feathers!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Crysta, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. Crysta

    Crysta Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 30, 2013
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    Hello BackYardChicken friends!

    Four weeks ago I purchased 2 "Americana" chicks from my local store (December 2 adopted, about 1 week old). Between 1 week old and 4 weeks old one of the chicks had some back feathers missing but no blood, I didn't take immediate action (Stupid me). I separated the two chicks (4 weeks old now) due to the constant crys from the one who lost feathers and after reading a couple articles about pecking and cannibalism. With the separation they are visible to each other but unable to peck. After being separated for 3 days, I took them outside to see if the separation had stopped the pecking. Unfortunately it didn't, the bully pecked at the same chick that was missing feathers and took some tail feathers and ate them (no blood still)! I immediately separated them again. I started giving 1 ounce canned tuna every other day for protein after reading more articles of chicks/chickens eating feathers. Today I took them outside for another try and the pecking is still continuing (5 weeks old). Please help! :'(

    Does this behavior go away as they get older?
    Does anyone have any ideas on eliminating this pecking problem?
    Should I keep them separated for a longer period of time rather than just 3 days?
    Should I try to put them in with the older chickens sooner, maybe if the bully is bullied the bigger ones it will stop this behavior?

    -Crysta
     
  2. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    A higher protein diet will likely work. Say 18% -22% protein.
    Like that found in chicken starter and grower feed.
     
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  3. Crysta

    Crysta Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 30, 2013
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    Thank you for responding!
    They are on the Medicated Start and Grow feed by Purina already [​IMG]
     
  4. Crysta

    Crysta Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 30, 2013
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    Four more days separated and pecking still continues :c ! Somebody please help!
    -Crysta
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Research pinless peepers. I think that's the name of a product that you can put on a birds beak to keep it from feather picking other birds. Keep up the extra protein. If either of these options don't work, you have several choices: (1) keep them separated until they are ready to integrate into your flock. (2)Trim her beak. Not like the disfiguration that you see with battery birds, but file down the tip so she can't get a grip on her victim. (3) There's also a product on the market that makes the victim's feathers unpalatable. I'm not sure what the name of the product is. Can you take one of the more mellow girls out of your regular flock and put her with these 2 youngsters? Perhaps she might behave if there is some one bigger to keep her in line. That last idea is really a stretch of the imagination, but sometimes, you gotta reach outside of the box! If all else fails, cull or re-home her, but if you do, I'd get at least 2 more youngsters about the same age so your remaining araucana won't have to face integration alone. I wish you the best of luck.
     
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  6. Crysta

    Crysta Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you lazy gardener!!!!!!!!!!!
    I'm going to try to get the Pinless peepers and find the product the makes the feathers unpalatable, I've heard of something like it but I too don't recall the name. My last resort is filing the beck! I'm going to try to update this thread just in case someone else is experiencing a trouble-maker like I am [​IMG]

    -Crysta
     
  7. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They are also bored and bored chicks look for trouble. Fix them up with a box of dirt to scratch and play in. A pie plate or kleenex box cut down to about 2 inches with one inch of dirt does wonders.
     
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  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I think you need to keep them separate until the peckee has all the feathers grown back in, then try it again. That bare skin, even without blood, can be a strong draw to peck for some birds. or a serious layer of blue-kote.
     
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  9. Crysta

    Crysta Out Of The Brooder

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    UPDATE!
    So I have found the cause/solution to the pecking....I think!! I had just put both chicks into the coop with the big chickens in little cages, separated but visible to each other, and yesterday a cold front came down to hot South Florida. I put them together for the night for fear they would get cold all by themselves and the pecking had stopped. I'm pretty sure the pecking was due to over heat from what I have observed when I took them out into the hot weather the pecker would get so mean! They must have come from someplace up north where the cold had set in already. I don't know what this will mean for the upcoming summer, but hopefully she will adjust to the weather down here.... I have bought the "Hot Pick" product which makes the feathers unpalatable but haven't got to see it in action since the day I bought it the front came in and pecking had stopped.
    Thank you for all the responses, it is much appreciated!
    -Crysta
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014
  10. Crysta

    Crysta Out Of The Brooder

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    Here are some pictures so you guys can put a face to my stories!
    [​IMG]
    Left is the bully
    [​IMG]
    The tail feathers still have evidence of being pecked at.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2014

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