Do chicks preen each other?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dragonchick, Oct 27, 2007.

  1. dragonchick

    dragonchick Songster

    Sep 30, 2007
    Several of my 3 week old chicks seem to be picking something off the rest. They don't seem to be "pecking" but rather grooming the other birds. Do they actually groom each other or is this something I need to watch.

    We did have a problem with 2 polish chicks where one was pulling feathers off the back of the head of the other. This was very noticeable and not like the "grooming" thing. The "peckee" was literally pecked bald by the "pecker". I coated the bald spot with blue-kote and the pecking has stopped. On a funny note, after I applied the blue-kote and put the bird back in with the others in the brooder ( blue-kote was still wet), 2 other birds went after it. I guess the stuff tasted really bad. One pecked at it and shook its head after a taste. Another one pecked at the now blue beak of the new pecker and got a taste. It shook its head also but that was the end of all the pecking. No new episodes have occurred since. Hopefully the feathers will grow back on its head cause it really looks funny. BTW there was no blood drawn on the bald head, just a dime sized pink spot showing.

    If the pecking starts again, who gets "jailed"? The pecker or the peckee?
    There 2 polish birds are the only one that seem to have a disagreement on head feathers. All the others are pretty mellow and laid back about the whole situation. All 26 I started with are still alive and healthy. They got their first taste of grass yesterday along with some grit. It was funny to watch and the 6' x 3' brooder seemed awfully small for the antics. Several have even found out that they have wings and can fly. Time to put the top on as I really don't need the bedroom/brooder room turned into "chicken fly zone".
  2. lady chicken whisperer

    lady chicken whisperer Songster

    Aug 8, 2007
    I have noticed that younger chicks tend to do this more than older birds. So yes the answer is they do often preen eachother. Its quite cute actually [​IMG]
  3. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing

    If you're having a problem with a pecker, pull that one out and not the peckee. The pecking order will fall into place and when the trouble maker comes back in, SHE will be the newbie!! Pulling the peckee out will, IMO, only make it worse.
  4. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

    Apr 6, 2007
    My hens preen each other all the time. It is quite endearing to watch. You will
    know the difference between picking and pruning. My Speckled Sussex will sit on my
    shoulder and prune me. She's my baby.
  5. dragonchick

    dragonchick Songster

    Sep 30, 2007
    Thanks for the quick replies. The "pecker" has stopped pecking since I put the blue-kote on and pretty much left the previously pecked bird alone. The other birds do not bother it either. The only odd peck was right after I applied the blue-kote. I suppose it tasted so bad that they don't want try it again.

    I changed their feed last night to an 18% starter/grower unmedicated ration. I am doing this slowly so not to upset their systems. 50% each type first then 75% new and finally 100% new. They will be getting terramycin in their water to ward off cocci should it be present. The other feed was medicated so the terra wasn't necessary.
    All the chicks were hatched on 10/9 and shipped 10/10, received on 10/12 and the light has been raised once in this time. They still like to sleep under it but mostly fan out when awake. They also seem to stay in groups. The 2 polish are in separate groups and don't stay together very much. We have placed a second 18" chick feeder in the brooder so there is plenty of feed for everyone. There's also 2 waterers. Hopefully soon the coop will be finished and they can go to the larger accommodations.

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