Dealing with an aggressive chick: ADDED photos

CedarAcres

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6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
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Just curious how others deal with aggressive chicks in the brooder.

We have two easter eggers, who are the largest out of the group, who have gotten very mean. They are about 4.5 weeks old. Together, they have both claimed an area of the brooder, keeping the other chicks away and attacking them pretty viciously if they come near. They will grab their wings and drag them around, peck at their heads & necks, and then chase them once they finally break free. We have 20 chicks total at the moment, and we have a very large brooder (25-30ish square feet, can't remember exactly) so they all have plenty of room. We have two feeders & waterers as well.

I took the two problem chicks and placed them in a clear plastic bin with food and water inside the brooder, covered on the top, so they can all see each other, but obviously can't attack.

Any other suggestions? Just concerning me because they were getting pretty brutal.
 

CedarAcres

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Mar 18, 2013
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I've been thinking one of them might be a rooster for a while based on looks & behavior.. also feathering later than all the others. They're hatchery easter eggers so I have no idea what their mix is. They are all very docile to people though and love cuddling and getting attention. It really seems like their behavior is worse when I am there watching them.. I was almost wondering if they were doing it to get attention. If I step back out of sight, everything is quiet and no attacking. I'm thinking I'll put them back with the rest tomorrow when I can watch them to see how they behave. Maybe the isolation will change their attitude. They definitely want to get back into the whole brooder.
 

CedarAcres

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Mar 18, 2013
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Anyone else with any ideas?

I took one of them out and put them with the rest and she did the same behavior as yesterday. But I noticed she is mainly only going for the darker chicks (barred rocks, black australorps, silver laced wyandottes, speckled sussex) who are about 50% of the chicks that we have. I'm just not sure why the behavior suddenly started. It happened right after we expanded their space in the brooder (we gradually give them more room as they grow). So maybe that has something to do with it?
 

debid

Free Ranging
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Jan 20, 2011
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Can you post a picture of the offenders? At 4 1/2 weeks, their gender might be showing in their feather patterns. And if they are being that aggressive, do you want them around the rest even if they are female? I'd continue separation and plan on re-homing them, myself.
 

CedarAcres

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6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
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I'm going to try to reintegrate them a few more times before I decide to rehome. I won't let them be around the others if they continue to act like this though. I'm fine with the usual rough housing that they all do at some point, but if they are clearly just trying to hurt other chicks, that's not okay with me.

Here are photos I took a few days ago, before they started acting like this:





 

CedarAcres

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6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
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Connecticut
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Update: So I tried putting each of them in with the rest of the group, seperately. The one on the top in the photos was fine. The one on the bottom immediately started attacking others. These two chicks are bonded & seem like best buds, so I'm wondering if the top one was simply copying her behavior. Thoughts?
 

Michael Apple

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Mar 6, 2008
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Lesson learned. Ameraucana cockerels are particularly aggressive and don't do well in mixed flocks. I have an old flock of Rocks, Wyandottes, Australorps, that sorted things out after my Maran rooster passed on. All those breeds are quite docile. I remember an extra chick was added to an order and it was an Americauna cockerel that almost killed a pullet at around 4 months of age, and wounded two others. The dumbest policy a hatchery can have is tossing in a few chicks outside of the breed order. They're usually cockerels too. That, and a few other reasons, is why hatcheries like Murray-McMurray won't get my business in the future. You may want to find a home for him and just keep him separate until someone wants him.
 

CedarAcres

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6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
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Well chick #1 (top photo) has been back with the others for 5 hours and has been fine. Sleeping with everyone, no issues. Chick #2 (bottom photo) is still in isolation. Chick #1 is one of the most friendly chicks I've ever had, towards people. She absolutely loves human contact. Until yesterday, she was getting along with everyone fine, until chick #2 started acting up.
 

janelle18

Songster
7 Years
Apr 3, 2012
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I had a batch of chicks before and some were very violent with others pecking at the eyes so much that they would be swollen shut. The best way that we dealt with them was by tossing the "bully" chicks into a pen with chicks that were a week or so older, who easily put that naughty chicks in their place. If you can't do this I would do exactly as you are, isolate them ( even though it is a huge pain in the butt... why cant they just get along?!!) leave them like this for a little bit and then keep trying to re-add them in. Eventually they should smarten up!

ETA: also having them in minimized lighting/only red heat lamp light would probably help, if they aren't already
 
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