Chick pecking at others


In the Brooder
Mar 5, 2018
I just got three baby chicks and I’m so excited to be a new mom. Two of my baby chicks get along just fine , the bigger one protects the smaller and they cuddle together . The third one tends to peck at both of them and even made one of them bleed from their beak. What does this mean? What should I do ? Help please
Imagine you’re in a box. Just a box. Chicks hatched outdoors by a mother hen start exploring their surroundings within a couple of days, hearing sounds, digging, scratching up little bugs, playing in dirt, trying out those stubby little wings, and just dashing under Mom for a quick warmup. They aren’t awake with lights on them 24/7. They have things to do, things to learn, a world to conquer - they are stimulated and honing their instincts at an early age. Indoor raised chicks have a box with tall sides and each other. They get bored. They want to use what they are programmed to do but have no way to do it, so they find their own entertainment, and sometimes that means being a bully. Pecking on the other chicks is a reaction to that boredom.

There are things you can do to try to help, but chicks develop long lasting habits at surprisingly young ages. If you can dig up a clump of sod from your yard or garden - weeds, grasses, pebbles, sand, roots, little worms and all - that can help, and as they break it down they’ll love to dust bathe in the loose dirt. Big, shiny marbles in the bottom of their brooder gives them something to peck at that haven’t laughed until you’ve watched a game of “chick soccer”. Some say a mirror will draw their attention. There are ways to reduce, if not totally stop, unwanted behaviors. Boredom is just an inherent risk with brooder raised chicks, and most of us have seen it first hand, so don’t feel bad!

But your first priority should be making sure that the injured chick isn’t showing blood where she’s been pecked at because that will draw more pecking at it. Treat the injury if she needs it, then look for something to entertain the chicks! Good luck!

And welcome to BYC - happy to meet you!
Thankyou so much for the help. It makes sense of them being bored, I know I would . I’m going to do as you said and see what happens . For now I have the pecking baby separated from the others , the baby chick chirps really loud and tries to jump out . So I hold her and she falls asleep on me. I just don’t want her to be stressed out .
Truth be told, separating them can cause even more stress to the single chick. Despite being hurt in the brooder, she still wants her family. Is there some way you can put some kind of separator in the brooder so they can see but not touch?

This is one of the reasons I am such a “pusher” of Mama Heating Pad rather than brooding with lights, and brooding chicks outdoors if at all possible. No 24/7 lights...when the sun goes down they all go to sleep at the same time and sleep all night long. They wake up fully refreshed and spend the first part of the morning getting those little crops filled. They fly up on top of MHP, play “King of the Mountain”, catnap, and relax a little more. I know that it’s not always feasible to redo everything, and many people are extremely concerned about brooding outdoors. But I figure if a two pound hen can raise chicks outside then I can too! :idunno
Thank you so much.....what a kind thing to say! As for years, well, I got my first chicks just 4 years ago, in February of 2014. I joined BYC when I got them. I just happened to be blessed with excellent mentors and I learned to watch my chicks’ and chickens’ behaviors closely so I could learn from them. I didn’t really start loving everything about chickens until I threw away the books and started relying on common sense.:oops:
Oh I defenitly agree with you on having these chicks in their natural habitat , instead of bringing them indoors . I live in Oregon, and right now it’s snowing . I wasn’t sure how that was going to be for the babies . I want to give these chicks everything they need . I want to raise happy chickens .
You just do the best you all usually evens out in the end, even when there’s been a bit of rough start! If there was only one “correct” way to raise these little stinkers, this entire web site could be read in half an hour!

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