Chick pulling out her feathers around vent

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Ashes15, Apr 8, 2017.

  1. Ashes15

    Ashes15 New Egg

    2
    0
    7
    Apr 8, 2017
    Boston, MA
    Hi everyone, new chicken momma here!

    My chicks were hatched/mailed from Ohio (Meyer Hatchery) to Boston on Monday, April 3, arriving Wednesday, April 5. I have one each: black australorp, buff orpington, barnevelder, and easter egger. Upon arrival, the barnevelder was a little off, just not as active, a little smaller, drowsy looking.

    I gave them all water with electrolytes/vitamins/probiotics booster. The brooder is a cardboard box, maybe 18" x 30" ? in the spare bedroom. They have puppy pee pads for bedding, a brinsea Ecobrooder for heat, and Scratch & Peck feeds unmedicated starter food. Still giving the water with booster added, and a few drops of Kochi Free in it. We mostly keep the heat off upstairs, but the brooder room has a little heater in it, which I've gradually lowered to 70. They have a little dust bath with some compost and a little DE in it though I've only seen them pecking/scratching it, not bathing. They have chick grit and loooove dried herbs, a mix of oregano, basil, thyme, dill, cilantro, and garlic.

    The barnevelder has had runnier poops than the others, never enough build up to cover the vent, but clearly bothering her. I've washed it off a couple times by dunking in warm water and that worked well. She's still having runny poops, but it's not sticking and her down is fluffy and dry. However, she's pulling out the down all around her vent. Now there's a dime sized are of bare skin on either side and the others haven't noticed much yet, but I'm worried they're going to start pecking her. I'm tried putting some black food coloring on her, but it won't stick. She also pulls at her wings sometimes, enough to make herself cheep loudly. She's often the last to come out and start scratching around and keeps more to herself than the others. The australorp and easter egger are growing faster than the barnevelder and buff orpington.

    So, is there something I can do to help out this little one? I'm not sure how worried to be, as she is eating and drinking. They all come out on a big towel for playtime so I think they're probably not too bored? I gave them a yarrow seedling yesterday and they enjoyed pecking that too.

    Thanks in advance, I'm so grateful to have this wonderful resource and have been browsing posts for years!

    Ashley
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

    18,953
    6,417
    526
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    This is my suggestion. It's worth every penny you'll pay for it: I'd dispense with the herbs for now, and stick with the chick starter. You could ferment that to give them all of the benefits provided by FF. There is an excellent article about the how and why of FF in my signature. You can also give them a plug of sod from an untreated lawn. Lots of benefits there also: including beneficial bacteria and fungi to jump start their guts/immune systems. You might also want to increase the size of your brooder. Easily accomplished by adding an other box, and cutting a doorway, or using a larger box. I just built a temporary brooder by connecting 2 appliance boxes. By the time my chicks are 3 weeks old, I like them to have a minimum of 2 s.f./chick. They will use all the room you give them, and will spend hours playing and strengthening their wings.
     
  3. Ashes15

    Ashes15 New Egg

    2
    0
    7
    Apr 8, 2017
    Boston, MA
    Okay, I've added a large wire dog crate (German Shepherd sized) to the cardboard box with a couple branches and the dust bath. They thought it was creepy at first, but a sprinkling of dried mealworms/crickets in there was enticing.

    I have a bit of the regular feed fermenting on the kitchen counter. I used the Scratch & Peck starter with filtered drinking water and a dab of plain greek yogurt (I had it so why not.) I'm slowly reading through the FF thread, but the basics seem simple enough to get started right away.

    I'll be more careful about how much herbs they get. I've read herbs have a lot of health benefits and I want them to get used to a variety of foods, so I don't want to completely eliminate that.

    I haven't noticed any further pecking or poop issues, but I can't really determine the cause. Either way, I think your suggestions will keep them happy and healthy, and it was all free anyway.

    I'm still keeping an eye on the barnevelder...I haven't actually witnessed her poop, but she seems pretty happy and active, chirping quietly along with the others, but not loudly in distress. If she was backed up, she would probably be more distressed, right?

    Thanks again!

    A
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by