Is this normal?


In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 2, 2010
San Bernardino, CA
We bought 3 chicks earlier this week; Dolly is a buff orpington (the largest), Gretchen is a jersey giant (who is really tiny), and Henrietta is a rhode island red (medium size), they are 2 weeks old... They got along fine for the first couple days but now Dolly is being agressive towards G and H. They are being kept in a kiddie pool and have plenty of food and water so there isn't much to fight over as far as those 3 things go.

Dolly will fly over to where G and H are and stop them from walking around. Last night I saw her pecking at G (the smallest) on the body and then at her eye. Even when I am holding Dolly, she will fly off of my hand and down to where the other two are and puff up and push them around. Henrietta usually stands up for herself and will stand tall and raise her head up which gets Dolly to back down but Gretchen is so small that she can't do that.

Is this normal? Is there anything I need to do?
Yes, they will establish a pecking order but you can watch out for real damage. First of all, their heat lamp should be a red light. This disguises blood and seems to keep babies a little calmer. White light will not give them an opportunity for rest. Also you could give them some protein in the form of raw hamburger. My mentor when I was raising chicks told me to do this, that it seems to remove the blood lust from them as babies.

Make sure they have plenty of room and that the little one can get away from the bully if necessary. I raised 11 of them in a swimming pool and had to isolate three of them who weren't growing as fast or were as strong. I did this by building a pen within the pen; I made a circle of chicken wire. This way the little ones could still be "with" the others but had their own food and water and couldn't get beat up.

Hopefully, they'll outgrow the real aggressive behavior. I found the best thing is to handle them all as much as I could.

Good luck, Mary

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