Are they pecking each other to death??

ForTheLoveOfFarming

In the Brooder
Mar 11, 2018
26
35
44
Newberry, SC
My chicks are about 3 weeks old and I've had them for two weeks. I just noticed today that most of them have what appears to be peck marks on their backs! Feathers are missing, and some are even bleeding! What is going on and why??
- It's the same spot on all of them.
- Some have it worse than others.
- There are 5 breeds and seem to all get along fine.
- They are all within a few days old from each other and are not around any other hens.
- They are currently living in tight quarters.
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ForTheLoveOfFarming

In the Brooder
Mar 11, 2018
26
35
44
Newberry, SC
The tight quarters are making them go shack wacky. Try to get them in something bigger. If you can't right away try to add something to entertain them a mirror. Lettuce or cabbage leaf hanging. Anything to get them from pecking at each other.
I tried giving them some treats and they went apeshit..birdshit? They went CRAZY! :eek:
 

ForTheLoveOfFarming

In the Brooder
Mar 11, 2018
26
35
44
Newberry, SC
Update: After working hard on their new home ALL DAY, at 9:45pm, we have officially moved them to their new stage 2 brooder outside in the carport/tool shed that is three times the size of their other one. We added a MHP to their new home as well. In the 15 minutes that I watched them mingle in their new home, I observed that they like standing ON their cave better than going under it. I am sure hoping that they figure out that going UNDER it is how they are supposed to make the best use out of it. Otherwise, I just spent $40 on an expensive climbing toy of sorts. I left the heat lamp on and covered the rest of the cage with tarp in case they don't go under it and can stay warm. Anyway, hoping the larger space, larger feeding area, MHP, and crickets and sunrise is going to help them stop acting wacky. Thanks everyone for your concern and feedback!
 

Wyorp Rock

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Sep 20, 2015
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I left the heat lamp on and covered the rest of the cage with tarp in case they don't go under it and can stay warm. Anyway, hoping the larger space, larger feeding area, MHP, and crickets and sunrise is going to help them stop acting wacky.

Do you have an updated photo of the new cage you built?

How much ventilation do you have under the tarp? I would worry about them overheating if you have a MHP, heat lamp and tarp covering the cage.
 

rebrascora

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If they are used to the light from a heat lamp, they will be wary of the darkness of the MHP. Did you put them inside it, so that they get the hang of it? If you left the heat lamp on they will most likely stick with that because it is what they are used to. During the day, maybe at the weekend when you are able to supervise, remove the heat lamp and encourage them to use the MHP. Once they start to get cold and with no other source of heat and a little encouragement, they will learn to go in.
I'm surprised you put so much work into constructing a brooder. A couple of large strong cardboard boxes taped/stapled together to create 2 rooms with holes cut out of the adjoining sides to allow passage between them and the food and water in one and heater in the other works pretty well. You can lay a bit of chicken wire over the top to stop them flying out.
 

ForTheLoveOfFarming

In the Brooder
Mar 11, 2018
26
35
44
Newberry, SC
Here is the new cage! They are only in the far right quarters which is 4' by 2'. Last night the thermometer was only measuring 70 under the heat lamp so that's when I added the MHP.
Rebrascora, I tried to get big boxes yesterday, but went to 5 stores and the largest boxes I got was banana boxes- not big enough! So, I got this old cage from my father-in-law who raised chicks many years ago in it. We added some screen (from an old screen door) on the areas of the cage that had larger wire holes to make me feel more secure that predators were kept out.
I added more blankets around the cage last night to keep warmth in since it got down to 32 last night. The chicks seem happy in their new home!
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You can see below where my Ameraucana has feathers missing in the middle of her back.
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032318_Chickens_19.JPG

They like their large food trough!
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032318_Chickens_31.JPG
 

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