Baby Chicks getting eyes pecked by bully

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by goatpeople, May 13, 2011.

  1. goatpeople

    goatpeople New Egg

    May 13, 2011
    This is my first post here, and my first flock of chicks as well. We have had animals on this farm for over a decade and they are all very well taken care of, and now with these 8, 5 day-old chicks we now have 27 animals in total. Here is the problem, one of those chicks is a speckeled sussex and she is insane! from day one she was pecking at all the other chicks eyes non-stop, although she pecks at all of them, she would target the lighter colored chicks (no doubt because the eyes were easy to see). I have a red bulb, plenty of room in the brooder, but she continues to peck at eyes, to the point that 2 of the chicks now have red around the eyes and now have their eyes stuck closed. I used warm water and gently opened their eyes again and they stay open now but this is the 3rd time I have had to do this. This bully chick is now in confinement inside the brooder and has been for 3 days now, but if I let it out with the rest of them, chaos insues within seconds and eyes are pecked. Is there any advice? Can a chick lose an eye or will they just learn to run from the bully? Will how long should I give the bully before she is a lost cause? Please help, of all the goats, ducks, rabbits, dogs, and cats....these chicks are proving to be the most difficult animal group ever!
  2. stcroixusvi

    stcroixusvi Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2011
    Western NC
    My Coop
    I'll be interested to hear the responses you get as I am almost in the same boat. I have done all the suggestions - plenty of room, stuff to peck at and yet one of my RIR is a bully.
  3. earnhardtlvr

    earnhardtlvr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 25, 2011
    Hagerstown, MD
    I had a bully Black Frizzle and I just couldn't take her terrorizing the other 29 peeps and just re-homed her. She went to my neighbor's house and is doing great there and has found a Silkie friend to hang out with. I'm a newbie so I don't have a lot of experience, but I don't think it's something they will outgrow anytime soon. They r gonna have to b in that brooder for a while together. If it were me, I would try to re-home it. Good luck.
  4. CowgirlPenny

    CowgirlPenny Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 17, 2011
    South East TN
    If she continues, I would separate her to the other brooder with chicks that she does not peck at, atleast 2 or 3 or put up a screen diving the mean chick and a few roommates, away from the smaller ones she's torturing. Especially if she is bigger than the others. Being that she is only 5 days old, she may stop. But if she does not you have to protect the others.
  5. dretd

    dretd Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2009
    Ft Collins, CO
    I had a little one that was pecking her friend (only have 2 in the brooder). She was very naughty and persistant in pecking buddy's eyes. I, as momma hen, reached in and *very gently* tapped her beak with my index finger so as to tap it away from the other baby every time she pecked at the buddy. She quit her pecking very quickly. I don't know if it is coincidence or if that was the trick, but it worked for her.

    Another idea would be to pick up the bully when she's rowdy and flip it upside down in your hand so that it is secure and cradled with her back in the palm of your hand. Talk gently to her, maybe stroke her lightly and when she no longer struggles, set her down gently back in the brooder. Maybe she just needs more one-on-one momma-hen time.

    Oh, and [​IMG] !!
    Last edited: May 13, 2011
  6. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

    Jun 11, 2007
    Is there any way you can re-locate the instigator. It sounds like this is ingrained in her personality and doubtful that she will change much as she ages.
  7. Enchanted Sunrise Farms

    Enchanted Sunrise Farms Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 26, 2007
    Fair Oaks, California
    Whenever i have a bully, no matter what the age, i will try them in a different pen or group. If that doesn't work, i rehome them. With your situation, since you only have that one group, i would rehome. It just isn't worth the risk of harm to the others to keep the ornery one.
  8. suzeqf

    suzeqf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2011
    i have chicks from 4 weeks old to 9 weeks and my older roos like to pick on everyone by grabbing neck feathers and pulling them and if i catch them doing this i fuss at them and if that doesn't work then "peck" them i catch them not looking at i take my finger and just knida poke them it works as long as im around and i haven't seen any major wounds i think they do it mainly to establish their pecknig order but since i have a mixed flock of banty/reg chicks i try to keep a close eye on the major offenders
  9. goatpeople

    goatpeople New Egg

    May 13, 2011
    Well, thanks for the responses. I do have her separated from the others, she is in a small rabbit cage in the new coop and the others can walk around her. (and yes, it is a smooth bottom cage that I use for rabbits...anyone with ANY animal in a cage should NEVER let them walk on wire!), Anyway, even while she is in her "cell" she is trying to peck through the cage. I ordered all these pullets from the same place, all are of a different type and all are the same exact age but this bird just has a bad ego. An old couple at the next farm over from me have about 50 laying hens and I'm sure they would take this one in but it would mean 2-3 yrs of egg laying and then.......! My wife and I, just like all our animals, got these for lifelong pets so it's hard to let one go (even if she is a bully) Thanks again for the replies. I am sure I will be posting plenty of pics of the new addition to our family
  10. dretd

    dretd Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2009
    Ft Collins, CO
    Quote:You guys sound like really nice folks! I can't wait to see pictures.

    If you want to keep her I would really work on getting her tamed down.

    Harry Harlow started looking at the effect nurturing has on behaviour by doing studies with baby monkeys back in the 50's or 60's. You can look it up. Basically he demonstrated in a pretty cruel way that monkeys deprived of mothering grew into social rejects while those allowed to cuddle terrycloth monkey faux-mothers were more socially normal.

    I would highly recommend to spend a lot of time with her getting her to feel secure. I am guessing she is insecure and acting out. Feel free to pm me if you want some ideas to help socialize her. At the very least I would recommend putting a stuffed animal (poultry looking one would be nice) in the rabbit cage with her and maybe a mirror so she wont be so lonely. Handle her often, put her down when she relaxes/stops struggling. Its pretty simple stuff.

    I certainly wouldn't give up on such a young chick at this point. I have seen some pretty wild animals tamed down with patience. Check out the Extreme Mustang Makeover if you want to see some amazing animal taming/training.

    Good luck! I am sure with your dedication and kindness, you are going to succeed!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by