Chicks hatching ...and they are kind of jerks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by alynyc, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. alynyc

    alynyc Out Of The Brooder

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    Our chicks began hatching yesterday (2 of them), so far today we have 3 more. And they are all kind of being jerks to each other!

    We have to take the hatchlings out of the incubator pretty quickly, b/c they are very active and are knocking around all the other to-hatch eggs if we leave them in the incubator for any significant amount of time.

    Well, the ones that hatched yesterday instantly started picking on the first of todays, so we made a separate "recovery" area in the brooder. But then as new ones were hatching, the slightly older (by a few hours) one(s) would harass the new one. But when moved in with the other chicks from yesterday, they would *still* harass the newcomer.

    My husband is home with them, and he says they are being really mean and are "going for the eyes". I don't know if this is entirely true or not, but is this normal? Are we doing something wrong? Should we change from the red light bulb to a regular white one (is the red one too "exciting"? lol) I don't want them to all be isolated and alone, I know generally chickens like to have other chickens around, but I also don't want to come in to find a bunch of bloody carcasses.

    Thanks for any info/advice on this, I totally do not remember this being an issue when I was a kid.
     
  2. brahmabreeder

    brahmabreeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What breed are they?
     
  3. alynyc

    alynyc Out Of The Brooder

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    I don't know, just a mix. They are eggs we got from my Aunt, and they have a mix of chickens they use for eggs (all of whom are reasonably friendly!), I think they have some silkies, rhode island reds, and some that are mostly black with a little white (sorry, I know that doesn't help much!), but I do not know which combinations we got in our eggs.
     
  4. alynyc

    alynyc Out Of The Brooder

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    No, sorry, they were just talking about silkies! They have some araucana, though, I am pretty sure.
     
  5. brahmabreeder

    brahmabreeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm... I was hoping you said Malay or Asil/Aseel since those are suppose to be aggressive soon after hatch. Red lights are good. Makes them not see blood as well and is SUPPOSE to calm them. Them playing soccer with the other eggs is normal. That's why I hatch mine in egg cartons. As long as no real damage is being done I wouldn't worry too much.
     
  6. alynyc

    alynyc Out Of The Brooder

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    Hmm. I think I will try and turn the heat down a little (it's between 95 and a hundred). I think our non-yellow ones (the two born yesterday) look exactly like the Langshan peeps (I saw some pictures).
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    100 is too hot!! Make sure there is a cool part of the border so they can get away from the heat.
    The pecking is pretty normal, spread some feed on the paper towel on bottom of brooder to distract them.
     
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Chicks pip best when they have other chicks in the incubator with them and the yet to pip can hear and even feel the already piped, it goads the laggards or slowpokes to make a greater effort to get out of the egg. Under 101% pure, natural, local, organic conditions what do you think the mother hen does with her rambunctious new born chicks, give them timeout? You do your piping chicks no favors by removing the already piped biddies.

    Chicks don't have to be taught to eat, they come out of the egg with a pecking instinct or response. Anything laying an the ground, as well as anything small and shiny or that moves is a prime target for sharp little beaks. Pecking at things, anything is how chicks learn about the world around them. Many new chicken owners ask why their pet chickens tried to peck out their owners' eye balls. The truth is because they (the owners eye balls) are there, the eye balls move, they are shiny, and the owner puts their eyes in danger by cuddling their chickens too closely. The eyes look moist, soft and delectable, so to a chicken they look good enough to eat.

    Everything you mentioned is normal chicken behavior. Any behavior other than what you reported would be the exception and a cause for concern. Mama hens have been hatching out and raising healthy chicks and 99.999% of them with two eyes for much longer than Homo Sapiens have been walking on our two hind feet, and there seems to be no reason for that to change anytime soon.

    Quite often our child hood memories are idyllic in the extreme and a child is often not the most observant human. For almost 70 years now I have been involved with either raising chickens for fun or for profit, and what you report is just normal chicken behavior. If you learn nothing else the one thing you will learn from keeping chickens is that the chickens all cut class when the lesson on bullying was taught.

    Good luck on your new hobby.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2014
  9. alynyc

    alynyc Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks! I'm absolutely sure my childhood memories are incomplete on the subject, but we were just worried about the chick safety. They don't have a mother hen around to put them in their place :)

    As for removing the already-hatched chicks from the incubator, I know it is not ideal, but they really are not safe to themselves or the unhatched chicks when we leave them in. They are very destructive, the incubator "roof" is not very high, and I am also worried they are going to drown in the incubator's water dish. We have the cloth covering the wire grate on the incubator, but one has already managed to get it's leg caught in the grating somehow. I just don't think this particular model incubator is very conducive to the extremely high energy peeps that seem to keep hatching out of their shells.

    I moved the light up higher to cool it down (the brooder has a very nice covered/cool area for them to hang out in) and got some corn on the cob. We are going to eat the corn (even though it's out of season), and then place the cobs in the brooder for them to peck at if they want to peck at something. Chickens really are little bullies, I think I just forgot that it starts so early! :)

    These guys/girls are all headed for my dad's farm in a few days; he needed new chickens, and my 3 year old was very into the idea of hatching them (and I was, too, to be honest), so it is a win-win-win situation for all involved.

    Thanks for the info! It's definitely nice to know that the little jerks are acting within expected parameters :)
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    They really shouldn't eat anything but chick starter food for the first few days...then if you give them something else, they need chick grit or they won't be able to digest it.

    A friend of mine drew little black dots on the side of the cardboard brooder to keep them busy....was pretty funny.
     

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