How to reintroduce 4 wk chicks to one another after severe feather plucking and attacking

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by nashchick, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. nashchick

    nashchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2012
    Nashvegas
    I hope someone can offer some advice since I'm a newbie. I have 3 Easter Eggers (4 1/2weeks) and 2 GL Wyandottes (3 1/2weeks). I added the GLWs 2 weeks ago after we gave our little crossbeak EE to our vet. I wanted more than 3 hens and was told these would be generally friendly. They didn't mix well but no huge problems until last weekend. I found our sweet Daisy with a bloody backend, no tail feathers and the GLWs had bloody beaks. I removed her to a seperate brooder and treated her wounds. Next morning, same thing with a different EE. She's recooping nicely in another brooder. The 3rd EE, which is more aggressive, started attacking and pulling feathers off a GLW so now they're all seperated. I've tried to put the GLWs back together but they attack each other (one pulled a blood feather and created a new wound) and the 3rd EE attacks both GLW and other EEs. It's a huge mess! Before this happened, I noticed in weeks past the aggressive EE was pulling downy feathers off the others so introduced protein - boiled mashed eggs and sunflower seeds. I added a perch and mealworms so they could scratch around. My brooder is a fair size so don't think it's too crowded. I can't be sure the EE didn't start this and the GLWs took advantage. How can I make them stop attacking each other and how to make the EE stop pulling feathers? Are these 2 different issues? Do I need to give away the GLWs? Thanks for any insight!
     
  2. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A true mess. The only thing I can think of to try is a staggered reintroduction. The way I'd do it would be. keep them all separate except the two EEs that were bloodied, keep them together, for a week. If you know which GLW is the least aggressive put that one with the two EEs. If that goes well, in a couple of days put the another chick in, since you think the EE started it go with the other GLW. If all is calm in a few more days try the finial chick. Hope it works.
     
  3. nashchick

    nashchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2012
    Nashvegas
    Thanks! That was my thinking as well. I've been reintroducing the healed EEs over the past several days and they are now back together in the brooder. I think the others will be more difficult but we'll see. I may give the GLWs away and work solely on the last EE. May simplify things.
     
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    What is the size of your brooder? I'd get this group into as large a space as possible as soon as possible. I think you are right to be leary of reintroducing the GLW's. If you do, do it one at a time, not together. Good luck!
     
  5. Aeropennchick

    Aeropennchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also try one of those brooder cakes - I got one and it nipped the feather picking in the bud, in addition to doubling the size of my brooder.
     
  6. MagicChicken

    MagicChicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What is a brooder cake?
     
  7. nashchick

    nashchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2012
    Nashvegas
    I had already been using a chick stick (same thing I bet) to curb the aggressive EE from eating downy feathers from the others a few weeks back. They loved it and it did solve the problems temporarily, but I was scared if used constantly, it would reduce their intake of protein from the chick starter, thus more feather eating when not in use.

    I put a cardboard papertowel roll in the brooder w/ the 2 EEs last night and they love it - roll it with their feet like a lumberjack and peck it. It seems to be working for boredom.

    My brooder is approx 7 sq ft. for 5 birds. It seemed plenty big when they were 2-3 wks but it must obviously be too small now.
     
  8. Aeropennchick

    Aeropennchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 20, 2012
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  9. nashchick

    nashchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2012
    Nashvegas
    Oh, yeah! That looks just like the Chick Stick I bought at the co-op. It hangs the same way, too. Great thing about the paper towel roll - it's too thick for them to peck off bits and eat. I'll have to try a mirror. Someone said they use a glass thermometer - they peck at the red. I'd be afraid it would break, though, and I wouldn't think they could see it that well with a red lamp in use.
     

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