HELP! my 4 wk old chicks are pecking each other to death!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by RookieChickenFarmer, May 2, 2011.

  1. RookieChickenFarmer

    RookieChickenFarmer New Egg

    May 2, 2011
    What causes this and what can I do? I came home to find my favorite chick pecked to death tonight. We just placed them in their new coop 2 days ago. It is 6 times bigger than what they were in before. I have/had 26 total. They are 4 weeks old. It appears that the black sex links are pecking the new hampshire reds. Their new coop is 80 sq ft and has 2 roosting bars. They did this before when they were about 2 wks old. Is it the breed?
  2. smokeykk

    smokeykk Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 15, 2011
    First... [​IMG]

    I don't know anything about this.... I haven't had this happen... although my chicks are about a week old. I'm sorry your favorite died... [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] that's always what seems to happen... [​IMG]
  3. schellie69

    schellie69 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 8, 2009
    I am not sure, I would take any that have injuries out and make sure that there is no blood showing once chicks/chickens see blood they will keep pecking at it. I would hang some different food ideas like cabbage or those bird suets up in different areas. It might just be that they are board.
  4. RookieChickenFarmer

    RookieChickenFarmer New Egg

    May 2, 2011
    Thanks for the advice and sympathy. I gave them a bunch of different grasses and such to peck at and they really seemed to like it. I'll try hanging some veggies around in the morning. I just don't understand why they are doing this! It's so frustrating!
  5. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    Most always it is crowding or a nutrient issue. 80 square feet for that many birds is probably a bit crowded. Do they have a run to go out into? It is recommended to have 4 sq ft per bird in the coop and 10 per bird in the run.
  6. Snegurochka

    Snegurochka Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 7, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    They definitely need a run so they don't go stir crazy. You might also try a flock block (Purena makes them)--it's like a giant suet cake. That always keeps my chickens entertained.
  7. WallTenters

    WallTenters Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2010
    Sweet Home, OR
    If they're only 4 weeks crowding shouldn't be the problem. Sounds like they're too hot, how much heat is in there and do they have somewhere to get away from the heat? Use blue-kote and remove any injured ones. Red heat lamp, not white.
  8. bakerjw

    bakerjw Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 14, 2010
    Johnson City, Tn
    I put BluKote on my 4 week olds and the other chicks focused on the blue color. [​IMG]
  9. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
    They need a run right away so they can focus on the ground, not each other.

    ALSO: depending on what you are feeding them, you may need a higher protein content. Picking often occurs when there is a deficiency in protein.

    Get them on something a minimum of 18% preferably higher, and hang lettuce and red apple halves in mesh bags (like apples come in) in there with them- that will keep them busy. C&S makes a product you can get at Tractor Supply or order online called Baby Cakes, which are like the flock block but are specially designed to hang in the brooder/coop and they are nutritionally packed with supplements to improve growth/health as well as curb picking.

    If your Tractor Supply doesn't have them on the shelf, ask for them- I swear by Baby Cakes!
  10. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I agree, they need to get outside where they will have ground to peck at, and you need to get the heat off them if you have any. If it is still on them 24/7, turn it off during the day first, wait a few days, then off at night. 4 1/2 to 5 weeks should be fully feathered.

    If none of this stops it, you may have to separate them. If you watch a while, you may be able to pick out one or a few bullies and put that one/them in chicken jail for several days. Now and then you get one that is so mean he ends up being culled just to keep the flock safe. They will learn this behavior from one another, too.

    Perhaps our threads from the FAQ page will have something else that willl help you:

    My chickens are pecking/eating each other's feathers:

    Good luck!

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