Last week I built and set up the new 6x4' brooder (removable divider so there is also 4x4' and 2x4' sections), put 300lbs of sand in it put the BAs, EE and Banties on the big side (2-4 weeks). I put the SSs, BRs and RIRs on the small side (all under one week). I had all intentions of putting the EEs (soon to be 4 weeks and nearly feathered), out in the coop with the 13 older chicks (5-6 weeks). Yeah, there is still a light heating their space. First, the sand. From BYC members, I was told it was easier to clean, didn't smell as bad, provided a better dusting and would be a good grit for the youngsters. My entire porch is covered in sand dust. I mean COVERED. You walk out there and you can feel it all gritty on your skin. Then you come in and blow cement boogers for hours. And the smell! You know that rotting seaweed and fish smell you have at the beach? Guess what? My porch smells like it! I am going back to shavings tomorrow! Second, the BAs, EEs and Banties have begun picking and eating each other's feathers. Every one of them have no back feathers and some lost some of their wing and tail feathers. I have been blu-koting them every day for the last 3 days and they are still doing it! I even tried Heal-Cut because it stinks and I assumed would taste nasty. I ran all over today trying to find some version of No-Peck or Pine Tar. What a waste of gas. I did find starter grit for $0.39lb - so I bought 10.5lbs. Anyways... Nothing has changed about their situations except the brooder and the sand. All 28 of them have been together since they came home (although they were a couple of weeks apart). Yeah, I know 16 square feet is cramping them, that's why I want the 8 EEs out this week. Unfortunately, I now have featherless EEs and bare backs and I am pretty sure the older birds will notices and pick. Especially the Brown Leghorns. Third, today I look in and see one of my RIRs has a bloody, feather free back and sparse and bloody tail! Great. I get it out, spray it and return it to the brooder. I watched everyone and saw that the BRs were starting to peck at another RIR and it's tail was starting to bleed. I come back a little later and see the first RIR's back is oozing clear liquid from the wound. So, I put her in the cat carrier to see if it scabs. 45mins later, no scab. I had to set the original cardboard box brooder back up in the living room as a hospital and put them in there. I started reading why they are picking and I determined it's either that they are eating to much sand and now are protein deficient or it's a space problem. Since the sand is the new thing... I think it's sand related. You know, sand is the devil now! I just had all 44 chicks in a space smaller than the 4x4' area (hence the brooder). Fourth, I decide to tackle a possible protein issue. I scrambled up 10 eggs for 44 chicks and put them in the brooders. I watch the younger group (RIRs, BRs and SSs) to make sure my Floppy (the SS that didn't eat on her own for 6 days) is eating some egg, too. I don't know what happened but somewhere along the lines I see a BR go over Floppy and Floppy ends up on her back, struggles to get up, gets up and staggers around like she just got clocked in the head good. So, into the hospital she goes. She seems okay now, but she's still very small compared to her now 1wk 3d old siblings. Fifth, I am sitting here and I can hear the older batch still going at it. They seem very uneasy and I really don't know what to do for them. I thought about moving all the BRs, RIRs and SSs back to the inside box. It's big enough for them all, and then I can open up the brooder. But... I am moving the EEs outside, hopefully, on Friday. Also, I have no shavings. I bought them but they were left in the car and the car is 30 miles away and will be until 1am. So... This has been my chicken day. How has yours been?