Chicks Eating Their Own Feces

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by hen-thusiast, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. hen-thusiast

    hen-thusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2009
    Utah
    I have seven brown leghorns chicks that I "rescued" from the local feed store. They had the worst pasty butt I'd ever seen. The poop was well over an inch thick on some of them. I didn't think a couple would make it, but I diligently cleaned their bums for the first week and they all seem to be happy and thriving. I've had them about a week and a half and I'd guess their age to be around two to three weeks.

    My question is, from the beginning, they have been eating their own feces. They were on the local feed store feed which was a mash. Over a couple of days I transitioned them to Purina chick starter. In addition, we mix up their water between Avia Charge 2000 and plain water. I thought it would end when they were transitioned to the new feed. It didn't. After five days or so, I added shavings to the brooder and I thought it would end. It did for a day or so, but now it has started again.

    Whenever they hear one poop, they all run over to it and start fighting over it. If I see it, I immediately remove it.

    We haven't had this problem with any other chick(s) we've raised. I think it has to do with either the feed they were on or the environment they were first in.

    Does anybody have any ideas on how to end this? Or is this something they are going to do their whole lives? They don't seem to be outgrowing the behavior. [​IMG]
     
  2. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
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    I had that problem once while raising quail. As you had said, the moment one pooped, the fight began over who was going to eat it. You don't want them to get cocci which they may get from eating the poo. So get them on wire. Get some 1/4 inch hardware cloth and make a raised floor in the brooder. As they they get older, switch to the 1/2 inch hardware cloth. That way when they poo, it falls down underneath them and they can't eat it. [​IMG]
     
  3. hen-thusiast

    hen-thusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2009
    Utah
    Hardware cloth is a good idea, but I'm afraid to put them on it because that is what they were on and the runtiest one must have gotten her foot caught up in it. When I got them, she wouldn't put weight on her foot and it was all swollen. Now, on that foot, her toes are all bent and on a couple of toes, the tips have fallen off. She puts weight on it, but she had a couple of rough days when she was healing.

    In fact, for the first couple of days a bunch of them held their left feet (it was strange because it was only that foot) up constantly. I wouldn't have noticed it, but it would be three or four at the same time. In addition, on most of them, parts of their toes are light pink and it is kind of randomly spread between chicks and toes. I think it is their feet healing from getting caught up in the old flooring.

    I told my husband from here on out, HE can go and buy chicken feed when the feed store has baby chicks because this is what happens when I do. [​IMG]
     
  4. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

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    My Coop
    You could try giving them something else to do and pick at. Put a box of grass clippings or grass hay in with them so that they are preoccupied with playing and picking at something other than poo. If you do this, offer some grit to grind up the grass or hay. This might help the preoccupation with poo. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  5. hen-thusiast

    hen-thusiast Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2009
    Utah
    Quote:Thanks! We do have some fine grit. I'll have to give this a shot, because they are sure preoccupied with poo.
     

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