I have a chick pecking the other chicks feathers out and eating them

Achickenwrangler#1

Songster
8 Years
Aug 7, 2011
2,431
102
183
west virginia
I would try three to five days. When the chick goes back to the flock it will be on the bottom of the pecking order, and may be the peckee instead of the peckor...but that's what you want...for the others to not allow this behavior and 'stand up' a little for themselves. If you see it continues, take her out for longer, again. Some unusual behaviors have no cut and dry answer. You just have to try different things, and hope it works, if it doesn't you have to make another decision.
You say you have a large space, that is relative I think...chickens get bored too. Provide perches in the run for them, obstacles to climb around on and under,, things to explore and peck apart, a few pieces of corn on the cob can provide several hours of entertainment, a bucket full of fresh dirt to dig through...you get the idea?
 

sheeshshe

Songster
10 Years
May 6, 2009
1,789
13
181
those are excellent ideas, thank you! I'll have to try some. I am sure they're bored. I expanded their space a few weeks ago, but there is nothing to do in it. So, things to do is a great idea!
 

Kay56

Chirping
8 Years
Jan 11, 2012
134
2
81
Don't mean to intrude on this post but I was just about to post something about finding feathers from one of my 5 week old chicks. (5 feathers so far) Just started yesterday but have not witnessed any pecking from the others. The particular chick is an Australorp and her feathers look very ratty compared to the others. Would vitamins help? I have been placing the girls in the run for the past week during the day for some fresh air and sunshine and then back in the brooder at night. They are getting mealworms, a treat bar, squash bits, and grass along with their medicated chick starter each day.
All of them seem very sweet and not flighty or aggressive. I will mention I did have to re-home two chicks on Saturday as I just did not have room for them....you think maybe that might have something to do with it...maybe they miss them???
 

Achickenwrangler#1

Songster
8 Years
Aug 7, 2011
2,431
102
183
west virginia
it's not really an intrusion, as it's on the same line...when you say placing, does that mean, you have to physically move them! Too much work, at five weeks they should already be outside rolling in the dirt, getting fresh air and sunshine, and even getting rained on! It is GOOD for them to grow into happy healthy chickens. Personally, I don't believe in pre-medicated feed.(or anything for that matter) finish what feed you have and go to regular balanced chick feed. Check your chick skin for any creepy crawlies and if none kick em out side no heat lamp needed anymore...give them as much yard as possible, safely, all day every day, then go outside and play with them! Once feathers get ratty it takes awhile to grow back.(yes, it could be from crowding-hard to know for sure cause I have to LOOK at to know for sure...good luck. :)
 

Kay56

Chirping
8 Years
Jan 11, 2012
134
2
81
Thanks......yes I pick each one up and take them to the run each morning and then put them back in the brooder in the evening. I just finished the coop yesterday and will put them in it tonight for a few days confined so they can get used to it ....still a bit chilly here at night ...so do not use the heat lamp.???? I was actually going to start mixing in regular chick crumble with the medicated today to wean them off it. I check the chicks for creepy crawlies daily and have not found any..Thank goodness!! I appreciate you help! Will get a pick of the 2 Australorps later on today so their feathers can be compared.
 

Achickenwrangler#1

Songster
8 Years
Aug 7, 2011
2,431
102
183
west virginia
i'm just taking a wild swing here, as I've read so many people advising to keep that heat going, and I'm thinking, why would a normal healthy chick start loosing feathers? Why, maybe too warm and just doesn't need them anymore! You will be happy to not have to lug them around, I've done it! Waiting for the coop, I had to load them into their case, then hoist it up over the rafter with a rope so no predator can get them! The last group went outside pdq, and wouldn't you know, temp dropped and it snowed...but once they start getting their feathers instead of fuzz they are fine, I have no heat lamp at all actually, they all snuggle in a nice warm bundle.
I'm happy if I can help, really. Once I stopped worrying so and reading all the what if threads, I actually just started watching them and really enjoying them, it's amazing how little they really need and what little personalities they have.
Actually reminds me, I'd keep them in a temporary pen outside, then, load them and in the coop. The very day the coop was done and ready I was late to carry them in. I went outside, looked in the case and no chicks! Went around with the flashlight, looked in the trees, finally went in the coop, and there they were, on the top end of a bale of straw, all in a pile, making little peeps saying-see how smart we are! Warm and dry, comfy and happy...cold doesn't bother chicks, dampness and drafts are the bad things. Will look at pics tomorrow.
 

MsRiderUp

Songster
8 Years
Mar 16, 2011
99
9
101
Canton, Georgia
I know this is an old post, but I have a similar problem. Not sure whether the dominant (and largest) 6-week old Welsummer chick is actually eating the feathers or not. She seems to be pecking out the neck feathers from the other 5 chicks! Exception is my little Salmon Faverolle, but she was looking really ratty with feathers poking out in all directions. Now I realize that the dominant chick must have been pecking out her feathers too. They have plenty of room in the bottom floor of a coop that is open to the summer weather (hardware cloth enclosed), except for an area with pine shavings that is protected and a good retreat from any elements. No heat lamp. Plenty of feed and water. Actually, the dominant chick has been billing her feed since I got her. So . . . I am trying what I did with another chick, somewhat successfully: I took her out of the coop altogether, and she's in the yard with two grown hens. That yard is a very roomy chain-link fence enclosed area. The other teenage and grown hens (20) are outside of that area.

I figure that I'll see if she wants to spend the night (aka 'time out') with the big chicks tonight in their roost. She MAY be old enough and bossy enough to join them. No doubt she'll be put in her place.She's been on medicated feed, but, oh well . . .

If anyone else has ideas, am welcome to hear them. I'll keep you in the loop. Baby Faverolle wasn't growing as she should have been. Wondering if it was being so 'henpecked' by the dominant Welsummer?
 

pennys hennies

Hatching
5 Years
Jun 10, 2014
1
0
6
I have just learned that this can be caused by a lack of protein. It is ok to feed cat food to boost protein.
 

MsRiderUp

Songster
8 Years
Mar 16, 2011
99
9
101
Canton, Georgia
Feeding Purina Start & Grow Sunfresh medicated. 18% crude protein. Gave this to my previous babies with no problem. I give them fresh food and water each day, and wash out the water dish each day (both containers are the usual feeder/waterer for chicks --- plastic bottle-like thing with water or feed plastic dishes that screw in).

I am not sure that the chick was eating the feathers. May have just been pecking at the neck feathers. The Welsummers at that age have a nice neck 'cape' that contrasts with the rest of the feathers, and the dominant chick has seemed to have pecked those out! Dominant chick looks great --- no missing neck feathers!

She's asleep with the big chicks tonight . . . .
 
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