Babies attacked by other babies! Help!!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by christineavatar, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. christineavatar

    christineavatar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I need some advice! I bought an order from McMurray Hatchery. I needed 20 hens and one rooster. Their minimum order is 25, so I ordered four Jumbo Cornish X Rocks birds to try my hand at butchering in four months. But today my son came to me and said that the Cornish were being picked on. Not understanding I went to see and their eyes had been pecked on! All four of them had been harassed terribly. All four had their eyes pecked on by the other birds. All were bleeding around their eyes. These chicks had only arrived this past Thursday, so they are about 5 or 6 days old. I have separated the chicks but I need some help fast. Will this stop? Can I put them back together? When?
     
  2. christineavatar

    christineavatar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put this up yesterday and haven't gotten any response. I am hoping that some of you have had similar problems or know something about 'chick aggression.'
     
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    I'm sorry I haven't had this experience, so I can't tell you what to do, BUT I read here that putting them under a red lamp helps. The red soothes them or something. Try that?
     
  4. christineavatar

    christineavatar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you Sumi, but they are and have been under such a lamp. I swear I can't figure it out!
     
  5. CluckyCharms

    CluckyCharms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Unfortunately, the eyes of baby chicks are very appealing to other chicks. They're shiny and bite-sized, and easy to distinguish as something interesting to peck at. They look exactly like a little edible bug would look - like a beetle. Our Brahma babies were pecking each other in the eyes like crazy. They're about 4 days old (I think, I'm horrible with time). Eyeballs and beaks - they peck. All three have little red 'dots' on their beaks from pecking each other there, and their eyes look a bit sore. BUT...they are improving.

    It has gotten much better since I threw in two polka-dotted watermelon fabric swatches. Fabric is bad (obviously) for chickens to eat, but if you buy thick fabric they're not going to eat it anytime soon - they're babies. Ours have had theirs for two days and it's still not torn. They peck at that together now instead of each other. I'll remove it when I see they're getting old enough to tear and possibly eat bits of it, but for now I'm leaving it there (contrary to any "suggestions" by others) - they're fine with it and it's definitely keeping them away from each others ouchy bits.

    I also put a speckled rubber dog toy in there and they sort of push that around sometimes too (more interest in the fabric though).


    good luck - I think it's normal chick behavior - eyes are tasty looking for them.

    I assume they have a plentiful supply of chick starter too?

    If I were a brand new chick with no life experience yet - and I saw something black and tiny and shiny-glowy, and moving around, I'd peck at it too. =)

    [Edited to add] If they start pulling and tearing at each other (grabbing and seriously injuring) rather than pecking, I would remove the offenders and have chick-ka-bobs for dinner.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2012
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  6. christineavatar

    christineavatar Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you Clucky Charms! Now it makes sense! I will try various things to distract them!
     
  7. Dingo

    Dingo Chillin' With My Peeps

    You can also give them things to chase, crickets are a big favorite, just be sure to give them chick grit.
     

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