chicks ganging up on chicks

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by bradnjulieplus4, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. bradnjulieplus4

    bradnjulieplus4 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 4, 2014
    Texas
    I had one 4 chicks that hatched late and at first sight were all fine aside from being tired. Next day one had a foot that was mesed up and he wadnt putting it down. While i was at work my wife said all the early birds pecked and attacked hom resulting in his death , now one more of the late bloomers is limping so i put a shoe on him and they start to go after him , i seperated them with fence in the brooder becouse if i put him in a box alone he freaks out. What do i do, and are they killing them for a reason like they know something that i dont know. He starts to freak out and peck at them if they get close to the wire to the point that his beak is looking red as if ot may bleed please help not interested in loosing anouther.
     
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Many modern chicks are cannibals, but it's not natural. Baby chickens do not naturally select against one another like this. Natural selection rapidly weeds out any baby that cannot drink or eat at the right rate of knots, which with chickens involves running after the mother not just sitting in the nest waiting for food/water to be brought, so there's no natural instinct for chicks to shove a weaker sibling out of the nest, as there is with some other birds, never mind physically attack it to kill it.

    We've interfered with many natural instincts by changing their environment and social dynamics under domesticity; after enough generations of living under abnormal conditions, the natural instinct becomes dormant or altered. One of the many bad traits we've bred into lines includes abnormal aggression, and as you've seen it can show up in newly hatched chicks.

    So no, what you're seeing is not natural, and it's not based on any sound instincts, but that said it's common enough to be called normal. If you breed those babies once they grow up, you'll end up with a flock that perpetuates these behaviors. Even when the adults stop showing them, they will still produce offspring for a few generations that will show the behaviors. Very rarely is a behavior bred out in one generation.

    You may be able to placate them with more protein, or a red light in the brooder, but for chicks there's not too many other options that remain humane. Since it's showed up in chicks that are still running off their yolk reserve, it's not hunger-based.

    Sounds like your 'victim' there is also a troublemaker, if he's trying to attack them. Bullied chickens do not respond with violence almost as a rule, never mind infants. His/her willingness to strike at them is merely showing the very same mindset they have.

    I culled all such birds out of my flock so no longer have this issue. I used to have chicks that had just hatched pecking at other chicks that were still trying to hatch, ripping them out of their shells... It's strongly hereditary so once you stop breeding that line it will be gone.

    All that doesn't mean you can't grow them out and use them for layers or meat, but it does mean that if you keep them you will have a flock prone to cannibalism and bullying. Sometimes all it takes is for a tiny droplet of blood to show and they 'turn into feathered piranhas' as someone on this site once said --- it's so perfectly descriptive of how swiftly they can go from acting normal to being in a frenzied bloodbath of feeding on a live victim. That is not how all chickens are, at all. Chickens with natural instincts will starve to death rather than commit cannibalism; it simply never crosses their minds.

    Best wishes.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2014
  3. bradnjulieplus4

    bradnjulieplus4 Out Of The Brooder

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    1
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    Oct 4, 2014
    Texas
    So far the one chick died and the other is doing ok he took off the chick shoe and is standing on it but its still cocked to the side a bit, but so far i put him back in general pop and no fights have accured so far
     
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Good luck with them.

    Best wishes.
     

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