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Feather picking injury in chicks, Please help :(

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Sarahal88, Mar 7, 2015.

  1. Sarahal88

    Sarahal88 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just noticed that one of my older chicks (about 2 weeks old) was bleeding from her tail feathers. The other chicks were following her around pecking her injury causing her to bleed more.

    I immediatly removed her from the others but I am not sure how long to do so or what the best way is to keep her warm. I have her in a medium/largish dog crate. I have an extra heat bulb but the space may be small for the 150 watt bulb. She doesn't seem that interested in eating or drinking.

    If I wipe off any blood and let her heal for the evening do you think that will be enough to deter her fellow chicks from pecking? I have read online some of the causes of this includ crowding, too much light, bad nutrition. I think the most likely cause is too much light. I have a read lamp but I was using the 150 watt bulb earlier today. It also go a little warm in their brooder area.

    I have 22 chicks in a 3x 5 brooder, aged 1 to 2 weeks. I will be moving them into two seperate enclosurings in another week or 2. Is this not enough space for them even now at this age?

    Please let me know what I should do. I don't want my flock to turn into cannibals.
     
  2. kaylabeans28

    kaylabeans28 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Chickens are evil when it comes to injuries. Best thing to do is become the chick's best friend for now. Clean the wound, and put some sort of salve on it. If they see the red wound they'll just keep pecking and won't leave the poor thing alone. This is all I know about wounds, I'm sure someone else will comment something else, but this is what I've learned and been told.
     
  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Your brooder will soon be to small if it isn't already. It should be about 2 to 2.5 sq ft per chick if you['re going to keep them in a brooder for the usual 6 weeks or so, and that doesn't include any space taken up by feed, water or anything else. It also sounds like your brooder is too warm. This will make them lethargic and would surely make it more likely they would pick each other. Too much light may be irritating, but too much heat can be even more harmful. There is a rather fine line between twarm enough and so warm it makes them sick or kills them. They really need to have a large enough brooder that they have warmer and cooler spots to move into. This is the best way, IMO, to tell what the temp should be. See here:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...nd-i-have-a-couple-of-questions#post_11151084 (post 6)

    You will probably have to keep the chick separated from the others til the wound is healed. You can get some BluKote or a similar product and see if putting that on the wound prevents pecking it. The best thing to do for the wound is keep the others away from it.

    Good luck!
     
  4. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I had 40 chicks in a 3x5 cage but they waited till they were 4 weeks before they decided they were too crowded and started picking feathers. I simply turned them loose in the grower pen at that time and solved the problem.
    When I have an injured chick that needs separated from the rest I use a small cardboard box with a gooseneck desk lamp over the side for a temporary brooder. Young chicks will quickly refeather in 4-5 days and can return to the herd.
    In another thread an respected member recommended Vicks vapor rub on wounds to prevent picking but I've never tried that so can't say it's an effective measure.
     
  5. Sarahal88

    Sarahal88 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all for the help. Now I am more worried that the gal I had to seperate doesn't move around much, and i don"t see her eating and drinking. It seems likee she was justed freaked out being taken away from the flock. Is that normal? What can i do to make sure she survives her solitary confinement?

    Luckily her injury is just in one pace and I think it will heal quickly, but she is opviously not too happy in the mean time.
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Sarah, you sure do have your hands full! If it's not one thing, it's another.

    Get some Blu-kote asap, and paint it on the injury. Blu-kote will help the wound heal while disguising it under a purple stain. Put the chick back with the others and it'll begin to eat again. Chickens eat mostly with "permission" from the others, and will starve themselves without others telling them it's okay to eat. It's the pecking order "code".

    I thought the coop in the work shop was finished and ready to move the chicks into. I recommend you do that forthwith. That means do it NOW!

    Get an extra large heating pad, or two of them if you judge you need that much coverage for 22 chicks. Surely you have a small piece of wire fencing laying around you can bend and shape for a frame for the heating pad. Or just use 2"x4" or 2"x6" lumber scraps! Plug it/them in and pop the chicks in with food and water and your troubles should all solve themselves. No other heating is required with the heating pad doing all the work. It can be freezing otherwise, and the chicks will warm themselves as needed and still be active.

    WHAT are you waiting for?
     
  7. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    After chickens are injured they often go into like a "shock" for several days with reduced activity. As long as they have heat they usually "recharge" in several days and become active again.





    The problem with that is Sarah said the chick wasn't moving, eating or drinking much, so if returned to a box of healthy active chicks it will probably get trampled and not make it. Least that's what my chickens do.
     
  8. Sarahal88

    Sarahal88 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just for a way overdue update -

    I kept the chick-picking victim out for a couple of days. She adjusted to being separate after the first day or so and I noticed her eating and drinking fine. Her injury was minor so when I noticed that it seemed healed and not visible after a couple of days, I put her back in and the others did not give her trouble. I did get some blu-kote for next time though.

    I have separated out my friend's chicks that I am raising - the 6 of them are in the original 3x5 brooder. The remaining 16 are in their coop with plenty of room and loving it. The semi-moveable coop is in our workshop until the heat lamp is not longer required, then we will move them and it outside.

    Thank goodness all are healthy and doing great.
     

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