Fawn and Fam

10 Years
Apr 2, 2013
I am raising my 2nd set of chicks and have had a bad situation come up that didn't happen the 1st time. Two years ago we got 2 EE pullets for our children's Easter baskets to raise as pet chickens. Sophie and Eva have always been the best of friends and we could barely tell who was more dominant. Unfortunately someone (probably teens since our 1 acre property butts up to a high school) just stole our precious beautiful Sophie. My children and I are just heartbroken and poor Eva is all alone and so stressed out.

We decided we needed to get her some company and quick even though they (the new 3 one week old EE pullets) couldn't be placed w/ her for at least 6 weeks. Well Annabelle the middle sized one who is by far the most docile, friendly, and quiet started to gently pull the out the muffs of the one who has muffs. That didn't happen w/ my 1st girls till they were about 9 months old when they were bored in the winter months (even though they had a flock block, tons of space w/ a wrapped run and proper nutrition). Then Annabelle moved to gently pulling out their baby feathers to eat them. I tried to stop her, it didn't work, and the others didn't seem bothered by it. Then at almost 3 weeks old she started attacking just the biggest one by running up and pulling as hard as she could on any full grown feathers she could grab and the big one would cry out so loud in pain but not stop her. Then Annabelle pulled out one of her new tail feathers making it bleed. That is when I intervened by tapping her on top her head and saying no no repeating at every attempt but to no avail. I took Annabelle out immediately, tended to the other one's wound, then spent hours on here looking for answers.

I'm very surprised this happened because: they have plenty of room at the food and water stations, plenty of fresh name brand chic starter, no treats except a fresh clump of grass daily, fresh ph balanced water w/ vitamins, electrolytes, and probiotics daily, not too bright of lighting, I have a red bulb at one end of the brooder (I had it at 80 degrees under the light, changing it 5 degrees down weekly) w/ food & water at the other end, they are on wood shavings, they have a roost to sleep on at night, and during the day they are allowed to jump up on the sides of the brooder to perch which they do all day long ...up down up down. The only thing I know am doing wrong which leads to this behavior is that the brooder is supposed to have 2 sq. ft. per chic. I have them in the same large clear plastic tote I raised our 1st 2 in till they were 8 weeks old and it went great. It is over 4 sq. ft. I wasn't planning on leaving them in much longer but it certainly seemed like they had plenty of space since they still were so small. Most people get a lot more chicks and I know some do but I believe most don't devote that much sq. ft. at 2 weeks or they would have to have the whole room as their brooder. Do you think it was the lack of space, OR cannibalism inbreed into that bird from poor hatchery conditions as someone on here suggested happens and there is nothing you can do to stop them, or something else?

Also how long do I keep her separated before placing her back in w/ the other 2? Her isolation tote is butted up against the other girls and they can see each other a little and certainly hear each other. Everything I read on line only pertains to older chicks w/ an established pecking order, so when you put them back in they are knocked down the pecking order a little. However in my situation they haven't even begun establishing one, unless that was Annabelle's intention. It has been one day and I would think because of their age the sooner the better or we may have reestablishing problems, but I don't know please tell me! Also when I put her back in she will still be top dog.

Sorry for the length but I would greatly appreciate your advice,
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