Fighting chicks! Should I separate them?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by grandmachicken, Oct 7, 2008.

  1. grandmachicken

    grandmachicken Songster

    Sep 15, 2008
    Williamson, GA
    I have a small flock of 5 orphaned chicks. They were with their mother until 2 weeks ago, when she was killed by, sadly, my own dog. They are growing well, doing fine, until today. They were out of their brooder, hanging out in the adult chicken pen (the adults - 4 of them - were free ranging in the yard), when my daughter noticed that one had a bloody head! I picked her up and she had been pecked on the head and neck. On closer look, I found the culprit - who also had peck marks on his head and was bleeding.

    They seem okay except for the head wounds, still eating and drinking. But when I put them back together in the brooder, one immediately attacked the other. So I put one into another cage for the night. Will this make the chick even more vulnerable tomorrow?

    They are about 5 weeks old, I think. It's hard to see any sex changes so far, but maybe the fighters are two little roos?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    Are you saying that you've got the 5 wk olds with the adults? I'm confused. [​IMG]

    If so, then I'd say keep the adults and babies separated until they are of the same size.

    If the small ones are picking on each other, then I'd say, if blood, separate the bloody one, but other than that, they'll work out their pecking order.

    Just my two cents [​IMG]
  3. hatchcrazzzy

    hatchcrazzzy Songster

    Jun 8, 2007
    kemp texas
    i would guess it started out as a pecking order type thing.but once they taste blood and see the red they peck parete them till they are well then put them in a bigger pen
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2008
  4. Akane

    Akane Crowing

    Jun 15, 2008
    You have to seperate until the marks are gone. Otherwise the other chicks will see the odd colored spots (they are especially attracted to red) and peck at it to check what it is. Even just an accidental peck that leads to a visible difference like missing feather patch or blood can end up as a life threatening injury if you leave them. Once there's something odd they all keep pecking at it. That's where a red light bulb comes in handy. They can't see as well and it makes blood blend in better. Also helps to keep them entertained. I had one batch start to feather pick out of boredom and managed to get them to quit by adding sticks, red nasturtium flowers, and other objects to their brooder and scattering a handful of their feed around every so often.
  5. Shogun99

    Shogun99 Songster

    Aug 20, 2008
    Las Cruces, NM
    Keep the baby chicks separate from the older ones and see if the behavior continues. If it does, put some petroleum jelly (they hate the smell) on the wounds and keep the offending chicks separate from each other. It should clear up and when they get older, they'll establish the ahem "pecking order" and should be fine.
  6. grandmachicken

    grandmachicken Songster

    Sep 15, 2008
    Williamson, GA
    McGoo - the chicks are in a pen inside the adult pen. When I'm home I let the adults out and they go out to play in the yard, and the babies get to run free in the adult pen.

    I kept them separate last night, and when I let them out this afternoon, one chick immediately attacked the other one. He/she really seems like the aggressor.

    Good to know about the blood. I will definitely keep the two fighters separate until they are well healed. And big enough to withstand the pecking order.

    Thanks everyone!
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I agree with the other posts. I would separate the agressive one for awhile, and try to reintroduce it later when the others have healed and are ok. Do you have some place you can put the agressive one? [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2008
  8. chickenma

    chickenma Songster

    Sep 8, 2008
    North Carolina
    I have a separate pen that I either use for small chicks, or newbies
    we recently got an araucana rooster, and we had to keep him separate
    from the other mystery chicken I talked about in Rooster,chicken,or sex link?
  9. grandmachicken

    grandmachicken Songster

    Sep 15, 2008
    Williamson, GA
    I rigged up a cage to keep the wounded chick separate from the others. (It didn't occur to me to separate the aggressive one!) Since I have kept her separate, "Milk Dud" has become very affectionate and obviously now sees me as her protector. I can now let all the chicks out together in the yard when I am supervising - if "Cocoa" tries to attack her, she has plenty of room to run away in, and if she sees me, she runs to me and stands between my legs. It's pretty cute!

    Once she's a little bigger, I think she will be able to take care of herself. I hope!

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