Chicks abusing each other

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by cooks07, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. cooks07

    cooks07 New Egg

    Apr 3, 2010
    I have 50 chicks 3 weeks old that have started pecking at each others tail feathers. Some are bloody and very sore looking.
    Can anyone tell me what is going on?
  2. bawk_bawk

    bawk_bawk Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 18, 2010
    They are instituting the pecking order, which is like chicken royalty (who is queen and who is the serf). I think that you have too many chicks condensed into one place, so what would be a normal activity to get the chicks into their places has turned into an abusive experience for the chicks.

    I suggest dividing up the chicks so that you have less chicks causing mass turmoil. At least have 25 be separated into a different box. I would say ten, but that's a bit over the top and would take up precious chicken hospital resources.
  3. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

    Oct 18, 2009
    Quote:Do they have enough space per chicken in the brooder? Chickens in crowded conditions will peck at each other (and worse). You need to separate out the injured birds from the rest b/c once blood is drawn, the others will continue to peck at them. If you don't already have a red heat-lamp bulb, that can help too.

    I read this in a separate thread as a recommended space allowance for chicks:

    6 sq inches/chick for about the 1st month
    1 sq ft/chick @ 4-8 weeks
    2 sq ft/chick @ 8-12 weeks
    3-4 sq ft/chick @ 12+ weeks

    You could also try some entertainment for them like putting up mirrors and some cat bell toys. Some of them really seem to enjoy that kind of thing. By this age if it is warm enough in your area (mid 80s or so) and not windy, they would enjoy some outside time too. So, if you have an enclosure you can put them in on the grass, they LOVE that!
  4. cooks07

    cooks07 New Egg

    Apr 3, 2010
    Thank you for the advice. I have separated the victims(18 chicks) and tomorrow they will be moved to larger quarters.
    Will the 18 injured birds continue to peck at their wounds or are they lower in pecking order so they are not aggressive?
    Their living area was getting a little small. ( 6feet x 6 feet) for 55 chicks. Now they will have 300 sq feet and an outside yard
    during the day. This is our first flock so we are learning alot. Boy they sure can be mean to each other for being so cute.
    Thanks again
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2010
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    At my feed store they sell Rooster Booster Pick no More Lotion. I have used it successfully. It looks like molasses and it worked instantly. Once they tried to peck at it on another's bottom, they went to wiping their beaks on the floor. "Yucky!"

    Also, this is a HABIT. Once the chickens settle into this habit, it can be hard to unlearn. So you want to nip it in the bud.

    There are other brands of No pick lotion. The one I mentioned does stain. But it's better than bloody chickens, IMO. Separating the chicks might be enough, though.
  6. jeanette

    jeanette New Egg

    Sep 21, 2010
    I got on this web site from Phoenix Permaculture Guild. I have 4 chicks, different breeds, about 5 weeks old in a coop (moved Sunday from inside) that is 4' W, 6' L, 5'H. The one that looks like a sparrow is pecking the others. I put some of that blue hoof on the pecked parts of the white one, then sprayed them all with Hen Pick, but the sparrow one is out there sort of randomly picking and being a bully. I put a log in the coop for them to peck at, they have food in a large tray, water, ice. This was not happening when they were inside. I have them in a part of the yard where the dogs cannot access them at all but don't want to let them out of the coop yet and have to go to work. Last night apparently not more pecking because they went to sleep. I'm worried I'm going to come home to a big mess. Do I have to get rid of the sparrow chicken (dang-- who'd have thought something that cute would be mean)? Where would I have her go to?

    Last edited: Sep 21, 2010
  7. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    Quote:There are also blue kote/wound kote sprays that work great for this. I like the spray because it's easier for me to hold a squirming chick with one hand and spray with the other hand. Be sure to protect your hands or expect blue stains on YOU for a little while. That stuff doesn't wash off easily.

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