My Gold Sex Links Keep Getting Picked On

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by katierosew, Apr 25, 2016.

  1. katierosew

    katierosew In the Brooder

    Feb 9, 2014
    First time chicken owner here! I've done quite a bit of research, but I seem to have a new question every week. A few weeks ago I bought 12 pullets that ranged from 2-3 weeks old, and instead of getting one breed I got four different breeds lol. I have 3 of each: barred rock, Rhode Island reds, black australorps, and gold sex links. From day one, the gold sex links were twice the size of the other chicks. I am not sure if they are older than the others, or if it is just the breed. They're all around 6 weeks now, and they have partially moved into their outdoor coop. I have noticed with the gold sex links that they have had trouble growing in their feathers on their underbellies and butts. They are pretty top-heavy and unbalanced, so instead of sleeping on roosts they tend to plop down on their bellies. This explains the stubby feathers on their bellies, but I didn't see why they would have none or only short ones on their bottoms and around their tails. I have noticed the other chickens pick at their feathers, but it seemed harmless when I caught them at it.
    However, today I went out to the coop and noticed multiple chickens were all picking on one gold sex link in particular, and they had pecked so much as to draw blood. I know the sight of blood or red in general gets most chickens excited, and I didn't want the whole flock ganging up on her. The gold sex links are the calmest, most docile of the group, and they hardly bother the other chickens. Their only want in life is to camp out in front of the food bowl. They don't even peck at each other or the other chickens. All three of the gold sex links are together in their main box, while the rest of the chickens are down below in the fenced in area. All of them have pecked at feathers, but today was the first time I've seen blood. I want to give the injured one time to heal without her wound constantly being pecked at, but I'm afraid of isolating them more from the flock. There is no one culprit that I saw. Instead, most of the flock seemed to harass the gold sex links in equal parts. I do not want them thinking it's okay to peck out the feathers of the gold sex links, but I don't know how they'll learn that because the gold sex links don't stick up for themselves, they just walk away.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated!
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Just by your descriptions of temperament and looks, my gut tells me that your 'gold sex links' may really be Cornish X. They are sluggish eating machines that frequently have feather problems and are easily picked upon. Can you post pictures?
  3. katierosew

    katierosew In the Brooder

    Feb 9, 2014
    I looked up pictures online and I'm afraid I might have Cornish X's. Which is disappointing for me because I was really excited about having buff orpingtons or gold sex links (that's what I was told when I bought them).
    Here is a picture of Goldie, Sunny, and Gwen:
    (Picture is from today where I have them separated.)
    Looks like I'll have to face the music though about accidentally buying Cornish X's. They are three times the size of the others, they literally sleep with their head in the food bowl, and the most they'll do to defend themselves is walk away from the other hens.
    Any tips on healthy feathers or flock management? They're on a high protein diet especially for chicks, and they certainly don't miss a meal!
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Yep, Cornish Cross....sorry this happens every year, mostly mix ups at the farm store by folks who don't know better.
    They'll be ready to harvest(butcher) in a couple weeks.
    They are hybrids, crossed specifically for harvest at 8-10 weeks.
    They mostly don't do so well long term, unless you carefully manage their feed and get them ranging from the get go.
    You can find more info in the Meat Birds forum, but I wouldn't plan on keeping them.

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