Couple concerns: pecking/brooder size

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ashl768, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. ashl768

    ashl768 Out Of The Brooder

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    Good afternoon all. My 18 chicks are about 5 weeks. This morning when I woke up, I saw where my chicks have pecked one chicks back area raw, and I can see on other chicks where they are pecking near the face/eyes. I've had them all in the same box (washer/dryer size box), with white lights, at about 65* the last week or so. No problems up until now! So my first question is:

    Why all of the sudden?

    Are they growing too big for the space? Is it just pecking order being demonstrated?

    Should I figure out which chick is doing it and get rid of it?

    Should I change to red lights?

    Expand the brooded area?

    There's plenty of room for them to each eat/drink, so no one should be fighting for food/water...?

    Can I tell at 5 weeks what sex they are? I have Rhode Island Red, Barred Rock, one Easter Egger chick, and some Dominique chicks...

    Any advice would be helpful. Patiently waiting for some experts advice!
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    My guess is that they are getting crowded. That’s the kind of behavior they demonstrate when conditions get tight. It may be related to pecking order in that one pecked and injured that one to the point of drawing blood. Now the others are pecking it because of the blood. A red light might help, but I’d separate it until it healed. You might try making a box out of hardware cloth big enough to put over it and leave room for food and water so you can leave it n with the rest.

    I don’t know where you are located but at 5 weeks they are real close to be able to go without any heat at all. I don’t know your set-up and conditions but I’d really want to expand their living area.

    With some breeds and even some chicks you can have trouble at twice that age but with those breeds you should be able to make a pretty good guess. At that age the ones with the bigger redder combs and wattles are probably male. Males tend to have heavier legs and a more upright stance. Even when I’m looking at them I’m not always sure but usually if I think it is a rooster, it pretty much is. If I think it might be a pullet I’m less sure.
     
  3. ashl768

    ashl768 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for your response. I'm in MO, and right now its 20* outside, and about 50* in my garage, where the chicks are. Do you suggest I take one light out now, dropping the temp to about 55-60 degrees? Then maybe next week removing the heat completely?

    I have a coop ready for them, but I figure its still too cold outdoors for them...?

    I'm going to get a refridgerator box, and see if that gives them more room for another week or so...?

    I've seperated the injured chick, and applied triple antibiotic ointment on it.

    I'm going to take some photos and see if you all can help me call the roos vs hens!
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'd get the larger box and use both, some chicks in each box. Sounds to me like they're getting too crowded. I'd be turning the heat off during the day and reducing it at night. At this age, if momma were raising them, they wouldn't be under her at all during the day and getting pretty crowded under her at night.
     
  5. ashl768

    ashl768 Out Of The Brooder

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    If the lightbulbs are like 60-75watt, does this count as heat lamps? I have them in a garage, so its really dark in there, unless their lightbulbs are on...? Is this ok?
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    My situation was a little different than yours because I raised them differently. My brooder is in the coop with a good draft guard and good ventilation. I only heat one end of the 3’ x 6’ brooder and let the rest cool off as it will. They spend a lot of time in the cool end of the brooder.

    Last fall I had about 20 chicks in there. It got down to the mid 40’s Fahrenheit at night several nights so they got used to cooler weather. At 5 weeks I moved them outside to my grow-out coop, which has good draft protection, good ventilation, and is not heated. Remember it was getting into the mid 40’s overnight. A few days later, when they were about 5-1/2 weeks old, the overnight low hit the mid 20’s. They had no heat but they were fine.

    I know yours are not acclimated to cooler weather like mine were, but I have no problems saying they don’t really need the heat nearly as much as you think. Try taking all the heat away during the day. If they are not huddled up peeping miserably they are OK. Just provide a little heat at night for a week or so, then take that away. If it only gets down to 50 in the garage, I really think they will be fine.

    Watch their behavior. If they act cold, provide heat. If they don’t act cold, they don’t need it. They really are tougher than many people think but it is a good idea to wean them from the heat.

    If they have never been in the dark before, they may have more trouble with that than the heat withdrawal. They may set up a panicked peeping when it first goes dark. They will get over that, but if it bothers you, turn it back on for a few minutes and gradually leave it off longer. They’ll get used to the dark pretty quickly.
     
  7. ashl768

    ashl768 Out Of The Brooder

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    I'll give it a try! It seems backwards though, you would think no light at night, lol... But I guess they don't sleep all night anyways, right? Can they see in the dark?
     
  8. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    Chickens have very poor night time vision. Adult chickens usually sleep all night long.... A red light (infrared) might be better for night time supplemental heat. It tends to reduce chicky aggression, too.
     

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