Chick bloody toe - pecking by others

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by CityCraft, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. CityCraft

    CityCraft Out Of The Brooder

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    Today I came home at noon for lunch and to do my mid-day check on the chicks and discovered one (my favorite) huddled in the corner. I then noticed that she had a bloody toe. As she moved away from the corner all three others chased after her and started pecking at her toe. I have two Golden Comets and two Barred Rocks, all approaching 5 wks of age. One of the golden comets is the one that is injured.

    They have been in the same brooder tub that the feed store recommended. They have been comfortably at room-temp (with occasional room heater when it drops below 70 in the room) for about a week now.

    I immediately removed the injured chick, patted her toe with a warm washcloth to stop the bleeding, and rinsed with hydrogen peroxide to clean. I separated her and put her into another tub. She became hysterical being separated. Once the bleeding stopped, I brought the other Golden Comet into the separate tub with her and she immediately calmed down. The other comet doesn't seem interested in pecking her and they are very peaceful.

    The rocks however are hysterically squawking. Seriously, I've been frustrated with the rocks. I don't know why the feed store lady recommended I get them. One squawks incessantly to get my attention - it's ear-piercing. And the oldest rock - the biggest in the group - is a bully and not very friendly. The comets are sweet and quiet and content to just eat and sleep.

    After brief separation and once I thought the pecked toe wasn't noticeable anymore, I put the two comets back into the main brooder. They were fine for a while until the big rock started pecking at the toe again. They are now separated - two comets in one tub and two rocks in another.

    Should I just leave them separated until the toe fully heals then reintroduce? This is so frustrating because things were going so smoothly.

    (I'm about a week away from being able to put them in the coop.)
     
  2. jbs

    jbs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2011
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    I'm sure that someone else with more experience will chime in, but are you using a red light in the brooder? At 5 weeks they might not need it, but if it makes everyone look red, they might not peck the toe so much? Or maybe try Blu Kote on the wound? It will make the wound look blue and I'm sure it doesn't taste very good.

    Thankfully I haven't had any major issues with chicks fighting (yet), but when one of my big girls got a cracked claw/bloody toe, I stopped the bleeding with styptic powder and that was that.

    My chicks are still in their brooder in my dining room and I can't wait to move them out to the coop. It got old a long time ago. Sorry you're having trouble with your Barred Rocks. In my adult flock, the BRs are my favorite birds. Good luck with yours.
     
  3. CityCraft

    CityCraft Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2013
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    They had a red heat lamp but they don't really need it anymore so I just use a space heater to keep it comfortable and allow natural light in through windows.
     
  4. CityCraft

    CityCraft Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2013
    Dallas, TX
    Okay, very happy to report that there has been peaceful resolution.

    After separating the two groups, the injured chick's toe stopped bleeding and healed over a bit - seems the chick feed created a sort of paste-like covering as she scratched through it.

    I replaced the heat lamp bulb with a regular red incandescent bulb and reduced the levels of natural light in the room making the red light the primary source of light in the brooder tub.

    I also moved everyone into a slightly larger tub.

    And finally, the kicker, I threw in some egg carton pieces. I just ripped off two of the "cups" from the cardboard egg carton. It's like Chicken Soccer in there! They LOVE it. I will upload the video of them playing with it. Hope they don't eat them.

    So far no cannibalistic pecking observed.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2013
  5. jbs

    jbs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2011
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    Glad to hear that your chicks have worked things out. My older chicks are getting big enough that I may have pecking problems myself if I don't get them moved out to the coop this weekend. It seems that a lot of problems can be avoided by giving them enough space.
     
  6. CityCraft

    CityCraft Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2013
    Dallas, TX
    Oh dear, I spoke way too soon. AGAIN, I came home today at noon to check on them (totally fine through the night) and they had pecked off the injured chick's entire toe nail. There was blood splattered throughout the brooder. I've separated the two groups again.

    I still have at least another week until I can move them into the coop.

    Will it cause problems to keep them separated until then??

    HELP!!
     
  7. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 11, 2011
    Tn
    Have you tried the blu-kote? They'll likely keep pecking that toe as long as it hasn't completely healed. Anything that resembles blood or looks different (scabs) will result in curious pecking. Which leads to intent pecking. The blu-kote will turn the wound blueish-purple and do a better job of hiding it.
    PS- I've never been a fan of Rocks. I got 3 when we first started out with chickens and despised them. I know most folks on this forum like them, but mine were terribly mean to my other chickens and me :/
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2013
  8. popsicle

    popsicle Chillin' With My Peeps

    How big is the brooder?
     
  9. CityCraft

    CityCraft Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2013
    Dallas, TX
    Thanks, Nikki.

    Popsicle, I've been using the big plastic storage tub provided by the feed store. But I'm wondering if they were outgrowing it. There are four of them, 4-5 weeks.

    As of know things have calmed down a bit. I separated the two groups again. The other Comet doesn't seem interested in pecking the wound - she is a bit peckish but so far no intent pecking directly at the injured toe. The wound has closed over and isn't bleeding anymore.

    The two groups seem much more calm in the separate tubs.

    I'm just going to keep my fingers crossed that the wound will heal and we can finish up the coop in time to get them out there and have some new entertainment/distractions. My plan is to keep them separated until we move to the coop.

    (BIG SIGH - this has definitely been a lesson in patience and humility)
     
  10. CityCraft

    CityCraft Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2013
    Dallas, TX
    Drama never ends...

    This morning discovered the barred rocks in turmoil. One of them mercilessly attacking the other one. She was terrified. Do I have a rooster on my hands??? This mean one is really really loud - like ear-piercing cheeps, and doesn't look like the other one very much (not striping out).

    I've now had to separate them AGAIN. INto three different tubs. RIDICULOUS.

    I'm ready to throw in the towel!!!!
     

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