Is this normal?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by fiddlebanshee, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2010
    Frederick, MD
    I have 14 5 week old chicks that are in a 7x8 ft coop and are let out in a 24x30ft run everyday. The last couple of days I noticed a chick running around with a feather in its beak. I don't see any blood or bare spots on any of the chicks. When I feed them treats I also don't really see any dominant behavior or one bunch ganging up on a few chicks. I feed them medicated start and grow crumbles (purina) and give them a variety of protein rich treats everyday: I rotate yogurt, mealworms, alfalfa sprouts etc, so that they get something different everyday.

    My questions:
    1. is this just part of the normal pecking order establishment? I would assume they are getting to the age where this needs to happen.
    2. should I be concerned that this might develop in a more serious feather pecking issue?
    3. should I increase their protein intake even more, and if yes, how?
  2. Bantam Username

    Bantam Username Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 3, 2011
    Wiltshire, UK
    Mine have random feathers lying round the brooder, I think I read somewhere that they have a moult before they finish fully feathering. [​IMG]
    Mine are 5 and a half weeks. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2011
  3. GoldDogsMom

    GoldDogsMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2011
    Indiana, PA
    My girls did that too, one would pick up a feather and then everyone would chase them! My girls are now almost 8 wks old and still pick up loose feathers laying around but don't seem to be pulling them out of each other. I think it's a "kid thing"- something new and interesting so they check it out to see if it's edible. I wouldn't worry [​IMG]
  4. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    Quote:Wait to you see one of the girls swallow one. It totally freaked me out!! [​IMG]
    Pecking order seems to be constantly challenged
    No on the feathers. They just dropped one through molt or it was found and they were playing keep away with it.
    Protein is protein, Yogurt, beef, chicken, pork, fish, lamb, tofu and quinoa, eggs, milk, cottage cheese
  5. Chick1043

    Chick1043 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 5, 2011
    Once in a while my chickens will lose a feather and another chicken picks it up thinking it's food, run around with it a little bit, then realize it's nothing and drop it! lol
  6. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop
    Yes - it's normal. Chicks will play and run around chasing stuff. Especially funny when one gets something like a cricket and then drops it and the others rush to pick it up. Feather in its mouth could be because it found it on the ground and was eating it. They eat all kinds of weird and crazy stuff. Mine were picking up bits of paper they found on the ground to and fighting over who got to eat it. [​IMG] You can't really stop the bullying - it happens. You can protect the bullied with bluekote and separate the biggest offenders. But know that eventually they will peck each other because that's how they establish the order. And it can get bloody but shouldn't be deadly. The pecking order can change over time - so you just have to keep on top of the changes as best you can. I had a 5 white leghorn flock that was 4 roos and 1 pullet all hatched together. The boys got along with each other until around week 9 then they started all kinds of rushing and pecking stuff. I knew it was a matter of time so now I'm down to 1 roo and 1 pullet from that hatch. Things have settled down in our flock and everyone is less stressed. Especially me. [​IMG]
  7. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    If you've ever seen chickens when they free range one will find a grub or worm and run with it and the others chase. That's chicken behavior. They just starting learning how chicken are.
  8. fiddlebanshee

    fiddlebanshee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 11, 2010
    Frederick, MD
    My question was not about them chasing each other for the feather. They do that with everything, I know and have observed that. My concern was where the feather came from and if it was pecked out of one of them by another, if that could become a feather pecking issue that should be nipped in the butt.

    Sorry if my original question was not clear. From the answers I gather I shouldn't worry, so I won't [​IMG]. I am starting to see them challenging each other more so I think they are working on the pecking order and I am ok with that, that's how chickens are and I'm just wanting to keep an eye that the underdogs don't get ganged upon too much.
  9. jmtcmkb

    jmtcmkb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 2, 2011
    New Hampshire
    Mine are 4 weeks today and I just witnessed the same thing. The little lady who seems to be lowest of the order had a black feather in her beak and the other 4 were relentlessly chasing her around the brooder to grab it from her. I hope all is well, as this is the first time I have seen a stray feather, however with the rate they prod and prim themselves I am surprised I dont see more stray feathers! Guess it's normal..

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