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Help! Chick biting own wings and terrorizing others

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by brittynic, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. brittynic

    brittynic Just Hatched

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    I am brand new to chickens as of two days ago. I did tons of research and am loving them so far. I do have one issue that I haven't been able to find a remedy for. My female fayoumi chick (4 days old) is suddenly biting her own wing and squealing like it's causing her pain. She's also becoming very aggressive with the other chicks. She's pecking at them and grabbing onto their feathers until she pulls them out. Occassionally, she'll lay down and look like her breathing is labored. All other chicks are thriving and seem to be happy with the temperature. They have a branch and rock to climb on. She is not aggressive towards myself or my kids. I really don't want to separate her, but I'm at a loss. Is she bored?
     
  2. brittynic

    brittynic Just Hatched

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    [​IMG]

    It may be hard to tell, but this is her with her wing in her beak. She seems very distressed when she does it, yet she's doing it repeatedly!
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    How many chicks? What is the temp under the heat source? What is the heat source? What is the temp at the other end of the brooder? What are you feeding them? She may be stressing with the itchies as those new feathers break through the sheaths. Or she may have a loose screw. The fact that she's aggressive with her flock mates points to the latter. If you're not using a heating pad for your heat source, you might consider that. It has many benefits including providing a much more natural brooding experience for the chicks, makes it much more difficult to overheat them, and helps them to become better socialized. The difference in stress levels seen under a heat lamp and in a heating pad brooder is incredible. Check out the second link in my signature.
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I second what Lazy just said.

    If you have a light on the chicks day and night, it can cause a lot of stress. Chicks in their natural world would have a dark broody hen under which to snuggle and warm themselves and shed stress. Yes, chicks are under a lot of stress if they've hatched in a hatchery, were sorted, packed, shipped, went through 24 to 48 hours or more of a very bumpy transit, got sorted at the post office, then find themselves staring up at human faces and a big new world.

    I would ask around of my friends or trot down to the nearest pharmacy or Wal-mart and pick up a stay-on-all-the-time heating pad. Look at the Mama Heating Pad in the Brooder thread by Blooie for instructions how to rig a cave. Your chicks will settle right down because they will have a dark place to unwind and warm up all day and they will sleep all night long instead of being under a hot lamp.

    Also, your little chick may be of a more sensitive-to-stress temperament. Get some Poultry Nutri-drench and give her a drop alongside her beak, then make a weak tea and fill their water bottle with it. This will make sure they have top-notch vitamins and minerals necessary for successful launching. I expect you will see a big difference in her behavior almost immediately.
     
  5. alessadry

    alessadry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I too had in the past chicks that acted like that (and am dealing with one right now)and stopped when they went out free range. I am now wondering if the lights make their skin dry and very itchy in some sensitive chicks.

    Lazy Gardener was reading about the heat pad idea. I have a heat pad for gardening and it has a thermostat would that work in lieu of heat lamp? I was just talking to my mom on the phone and she was telling how once like 40 years ago she got some baby chicks from the store and never used a heat lamp, then she told me my grandma never used one too, and she 's thinking how it must bother them to have it on all the time and at night. Yet, all the chicks they had grew up healthy, how did they do that without heat lamps?
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  6. brittynic

    brittynic Just Hatched

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    I've not heard of a heating pad brooder. I honestly don't care for the heat lamp, but it was a last minute switch. I bought an Ecoglow a month ago, but it only gets the temperature up to about 80, and the chicks were all huddled close under it. I had to quickly run out for a heat lamp. Now I can keep the temp at about 90, which seems to make them happy. The temp at the other end of the brooder is about 75-80. The fayoumi was not at all aggressive prior to today. We received them Wednesday and have ten total.

    The chicks have a constant supply of medicated feed. I'm using Purina brand. I gave them grogel plus for about 12 hours. I spread just a tiny bit of grit on the paper towels yesterday because they were making a mess with their feed just to scratch and peck at it, lol. I was cautious about giving too much though because I want them to meet their nutritional needs.

    I just added a little dirt in one of the corners and a larger, flat rock. I may put some stickers on the wall of the brooder for interest. I read that tip in a post here.

    Thank you for the tips! I'm going to look into the heating pad.
     
  7. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    They had other ways to provide a heat source for chicks back in the olden days. Keeping them by a wood stove, using kerosene heaters, and the old favorite - a broody hen.

    Chicks lack feathers and their down won't retain body heat, so they need some way to replace the lost body heat unless the ambient (room) temp is around 85 - 90F.
    Hot water bottles would work. Bricks warmed in an oven and wrapped in towels would work. And then there's the broody hen. Chances are this is what most people did to keep chicks warm until they grew enough feathers.

    Any heat pad would need to provide at least 80F directly beneath it. The heating pad system works by simulating a broody hen. The chicks huddle under it, their backs coming into direct contact with the heat pad surface, and they absorb the heat that way. It's not a radiant heat like a lamp puts out, nor does it work like a seed mat with the objects it warms sitting on top of it.

    With the heating pad system, you change the shape and height as the chicks grow and their heat needs become less, and by the time they're four weeks old, they're done with it.
     
  8. alessadry

    alessadry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is very fascinating, thanks! My seedling mat reaches up to 95 degrees and has a thermostat that keeps temperature under control. I have to read more on this and see if this can be an option. If it would work, then we would have perhaps solved the mystery behind all these chicks getting these odd itchy fits.
     

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