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Flock Singling Out One Chick

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Simple Chick, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. Simple Chick

    Simple Chick Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 24, 2007
    Hello-
    I have a flock of 23 - 6 weeks old. 21 pullets, 2 roosters - a mixed variety. I posted yesterday that everyone is doing pretty well other than one light colored Americauna that I had to seperate into a pet carrier because the rest were pecking at her bottom. She's been in there for a few days and I had the carrier in the coop with the rest of the flock so she would have some company and so that the rest would stay accustomed to her. The first day she was very quiet and slept a lot, but for the last couple days she's been pretty miserable (making all kinds of noise and pacing about) and this morning was REALLY raising all kinds of ruckus. After lunch I took a good look at her again. She is not bleeding and she had gotten her feathers all cleaned up. (No red) I saw no signs of swelling or infection or exposed skin, but is obviously missing few feathers, so I decided to reintegrate her into the flock. I stuck around for about 15 minutes to watch and they were relentless! The other 22 continue to single her out, pecking at her bottom and back and chasing her around.

    How do I handle this? Do I just need to accept that she may be the bottom of the pecking order and let them work it out among themselves? Should I have handled her seperation differently? I hate to see her tomented the way she is. She is a reall sweety and slightly smaller than the rest, even the other Americaunas. I also have Rhode Island Reds, New Hampshire Reds, Buff Orps, Australorps, and Black Sex Links, which tend to be smaller as well. I bought all of them together about 6 weeks ago.

    My Father in law used to raise ostriches and he said when one was really getting pecked that he would rub grease on her bottom and feathers to keep the others off of her. I have not done this, but am wondering if this is at all recommended?

    Thanks for any input. Much appreciated!
    Tracey
     
  2. Oaknim

    Oaknim Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2007
    Sylvia, KS
    I have a pullet like that - she is the absolute bottom of the barrel in the pecking order (hopefully that changes when the baby chicks grow up). She has plenty of room to run away from everyone else, I just feel bad that the other hens and roosters don't even want her around and will chase her far far far away from their group. [​IMG]

    Anyways, once, our rooster Ziggy gave it to her pretty bad over some food and then everyone started picking at her wounds. I separated her and first treated the wound with tea tree oil, then put a salve of vaseline with one drop of eucalyptus oil in it - the chickens absolutely hated the smell and left her alone. You could probably use Vick's vapor rub the same way. *If you use the vaseline method - don't use more than one or two drops of the oil, it's volatile and can irritate skin/eyes/nostrils etc. when used in large amounts* Hope this helps or at least gives you some ideas! ~ Oaknim
     
  3. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

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    Jan 15, 2007
    Shepherdstown, WV
    There's been some discussions about this subject before.
    Here's some information I found a while back that may help you and your flock. It's a quick read from the Kansas State University:

    http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/library/LVSTK2/mf2336.pdf

    Hope this information is useful to you. Good luck!
     
  4. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    When you had her in the carrier, was she visible to the rest of the flock?

    Was she confined to the carrier all the time, or allowed to run with the flock or by herself at all?

    While she was confined, besides sleeping what other characteristics did you notice? Was she eating? drinking? Was the poo normal color and texture?

    The rest of the flock will peck brutally at her if she is ill. Are you sure she is really healthy?

    It is normal for chickens to peck at each other at this age while determining their pecking order. Personally, I would just keep an eye on everybody to make sure no one is injured and no blood letting occurs.

    I have a flock of mixed standard breeds. It isn't the smallest who are necessarily at the bottom of the pecking order.
     
  5. Simple Chick

    Simple Chick Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 24, 2007
    Oaknim, I live in KS too - a transplant from WI. Fell in love with a KS grain farmer and now look at me! I've integrated livestock into the operation! [​IMG]

    Anyway, I thought about the vaseline thing too. I think I will give her a little more time. I checked on them about 5 minutes ago and everyone seems to have settled down for a little siesta. She was in with a group of about 10 others and they were mostly leaving her alone.

    Keljonma, to answer a few of your questions...
    She was visible to the rest of the flock while she was in the pet carrier. She was confined for the entire 3 days. I had her out only to check how she was healing, clean the carrier etc. Her poo was normal and she seemed to eat and drink OK, other than the first day when she mostly slept. Your question about her overall health is intriguing. I have not noticed that she may be sick, but I am no chicken expert. I will continue to monitor her.

    Thanks for the KSU link, Mudhen. Always intersesting to know what our friends in Manhatten have to say!
     
  6. Oaknim

    Oaknim Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2007
    Sylvia, KS
    Simple Chick --- yeah, you gotta watch out for them KS farm boys! [​IMG] Even though I'm married, I've seen a couple farm hands that give me the vapors! [​IMG] What part of KS are you in? ~ Oaknim
     
  7. Simple Chick

    Simple Chick Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 24, 2007
    Oaknim, we farm in north central KS, about 90 minutes north of Salina.

    I was in town for a few hours this afternoon and when I got back, they had really done a number on poor little Pearl again. They continue to pull feathers and she is bleeding again. It's not just her bottom they are after, though. They peck her back and face too! I'm honestly afraid they're going to kill her. I think for tonight I will put her back into the pet carrier so she can get a little relief.

    I just read a previous thread that indicated that sometimes being over crowded or over heated will cause them to peck at each other. I don't think that either of these is the problem. They have plenty of room in the coop, although I will admit that we still don't have the outside run built, so they are inside all day. I won't pretend to have a good excuse for that one.

    I also read about putting a product called Blue Kote on the area where she is being pecked. Is this generally available at farm supply stores? I can pick some up tomorrow.

    I will also try to find some eucalyptus oil.

    My husband keeps telling me, "Leave them alone! There's nothing you can do about it!" But I can't just let her suffer. I don't know - maybe it bothers me more than it bothers her. Any other suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks everyone!
     
  8. Freebie

    Freebie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2007
    Bloomingdale, MI
    Oh my, the poor girl. I would separate her too. Maybe just for a little while. I think I had read somewhere here, that they sometimes put one of the other chicks in with them. One that is nice, and not so pecky. Then they bond a little and she will have at least one buddy to hang with.
     
  9. Oaknim

    Oaknim Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2007
    Sylvia, KS
    I've never used Blue Kote, but I've heard that it works really well - covers the wound with a hardened "shell" and induces healing. If you use the eucalyptus oil, be sure you don't put it directly on an open wound, I'm sure it would sting and the poor girl doesn't need any more ouchies!

    My chickens have two acres to wander about on, but they still very much hate Jo Crow - which is bizarre, since she's a baby of the alpha rooster and hen in the flock. [​IMG] She's learned to play by herself and it drives me crazy - I feel so bad for her, watching her wander around all by herself while everyone else sunbathes or takes a dustbath or eats together.

    Hope things get better for Pearl! Like Freebie mentioned, you might try putting another hen with her and seeing if that helps up her status in the flock or at the very least, keep her company and up her spirits. [​IMG]

    My uncle lives in Salina - you're a pretty far drive from us! ~ Oaknim
     
  10. homechick

    homechick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 26, 2007
    Mineola, Tx
    Those little bullies! If it bothers you, you know it bothers her. Poor baby. I think putting a few sweeties in with her will help.. maybe she can establish a clique. HA HA. Man... It's like middle school for chickens!
    Good luck and keep us posted.
     

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