Aggressive chick

orchardflock

Chirping
Apr 25, 2017
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I've got 6 chicks that are almost 3 weeks old. They were all purchased from a feed store the same day at a few days old. One of them is pecking at the others, damaging and removing feathers and making them cry out. I don't think it's far from drawing blood. This is not my first round of chicks, but I've never had one that is so aggressive. Theoretically its an Easter Egger pullet. The constant crying of either the aggressor mad at being separated or the pecked on others is making me crazy. I'm leaning towards trying to return it to the store tomorrow unless anyone has any better suggestions or hopeful stories of chicks turning around their behavior. The only other idea I really had was just to put it outside with our 2 month old chicks, but that seems cruel.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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How big is your brooder? What temperature? At 3 weeks chicks need room to run and things to keep them busy otherwise they often start pecking each other. Mine go outside on the lawn daily in a temporary movable pen. You can take a piece of fence wire and make a circle to separate it out temporarily.
 

orchardflock

Chirping
Apr 25, 2017
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It's pretty big for 6 six chicks - about 4 feet long, 18 inches wide, and a second level the same size they can climb up to. It's made out of 4 connected dog crates, and looks out a large window. It has a heat lamp with a temperature sensor to keep the temperature constant (now 85 degrees). There are sticks and a chicken ladder for them to climb on. We had 20 bantam chicks in it for about 6 weeks before with no problems.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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85 degrees could be too warm, I would try lowering or even eliminating the heat if they are somewhere warmer. That still can be tight for an active chick to burn off extra energy.
 

orchardflock

Chirping
Apr 25, 2017
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I will try that. The heat lamp is in the bottom corner, so they should be able to get away from it easily. We'll be moving them outside hopefully by the end of the weekend into a chicken tractor. My concern is it might just be an aggressive bird, and this behavior will just continue or get worse as it ages. Or that maybe it's a cockerel instead of a pullet.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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I will try that. The heat lamp is in the bottom corner, so they should be able to get away from it easily. We'll be moving them outside hopefully by the end of the weekend into a chicken tractor. My concern is it might just be an aggressive bird, and this behavior will just continue or get worse as it ages. Or that maybe it's a cockerel instead of a pullet.
Both are possible, though sometimes it's just a healthy vigorous chick. If it's a problem, and the store will take it back than maybe that's a better option for your situation.
 

Hamiam

Crowing
May 8, 2017
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Cottondale, Texas
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I've got 6 chicks that are almost 3 weeks old. They were all purchased from a feed store the same day at a few days old. One of them is pecking at the others, damaging and removing feathers and making them cry out. I don't think it's far from drawing blood. This is not my first round of chicks, but I've never had one that is so aggressive. Theoretically its an Easter Egger pullet. The constant crying of either the aggressor mad at being separated or the pecked on others is making me crazy. I'm leaning towards trying to return it to the store tomorrow unless anyone has any better suggestions or hopeful stories of chicks turning around their behavior. The only other idea I really had was just to put it outside with our 2 month old chicks, but that seems cruel.

I had the same problem. It seemed the aggressors in my flock were pulling tail feathers to eat them. I got some Blu Kote & put it on all the victims tails (when I looked close, there was some dried blood) not sure if the Blu Kote taste bad or what, but it helped) I also gave them more time out of the kennel, to get exercise & space. I've read to increase their protein to stop them from eating the feathers that are almost all protein. I tried cat food but mine wouldn't eat it. I gave them more dried millworms & caught & fed them lots of grass hoppers & made sure they had some chick grit available. When I saw the bad behavior I gave the mean girl 10 -15 minute time outs. (Don't know if that helped)
 

orchardflock

Chirping
Apr 25, 2017
99
41
51
They actually had a feast of crumbled hard boiled eggs this morning. Although they seem to prefer just the yolks, which wouldn't have as much protein as the whites. I'll try to find some bugs tomorrow. And look into Blue Kote.

Thank you!
 

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