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How to reintroduce 4 wk old chicks after severe feather pulling/injuries?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' 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. farmtotable

    farmtotable Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 7, 2011
    Pacific Northwest
    My Coop
    I haven't had any experience with what you're describing, but it sounds to me like it might be a lack of space, or possibly due to the age difference. What color is your brooding lamp? I've read that clear, white light might cause them to peck injuries, because the red color of injuries stimulates that behavior. If you have a red lamp, injuries are more difficult to see. (That's also why a lot of feeders and waterers are red - it attacts the chickens). I've had up to 18 chicks in one brooder before, but the box is 8 foot by 4 foot. They have two red lamps, and I've never had them attack each other. Since yours are not getting along, I would probably keep them separated while they're in the brooding box, then when they're ready to go outside introduce them slowly by putting them in two different enclosures for a few days where they can see and get used to each other, then put them all in the same sleeping area at night when they're more calm. I've read in several different places that you shouldn't keep chicks of different ages together, so maybe one week really is making that much difference.... I've merged several "sets" of chickens into one flock, and had very good luck with that technique. It's a little rough for the first few days, but once they get used to each other and establish a pecking order they calm down. Good luck!
     
  3. nashchick

    nashchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2012
    Nashvegas
    Thanks for responding. We use a red lamp. My brooder is approx 7 sq ft for 5 chicks, plus a roost. I read somewhere that you need 1 sq ft per chick up to 6-8 weeks so I guess that's enough space? As soon as there were injuries, I removed those chicks while they healed so no opportunity for seeing a wound for continued pecking. The birds are healing nicely, they're just anti-social with one another now. I know they're establishing a pecking order, but to attack to this extent seems extreme. I just wonder if all this happened due to the newer breed. The person I purchased from assured me they have up to 3 wks difference in their brooders and no problems. Does anyone know if Wyandottes are an aggressive breed?
     

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