Need help with major chick "pecking" problem, advise needed!!!!


Cooped Up
12 Years
Aug 31, 2007
Caneyville, KY
IMO, I have been having a string of bad luck with my batch of chick. Many people in chat can confirm that fact.

My chicks are all a week and three(3)days today.

My newest problem with my RIR chicks now is pecking.
Last night friends came over to see the chicks. I showed them off for a few minutes, they all looked great. An hour later I checked on the chicks and one was being chased and pecked. Its poor little tail and vent area had been pecked down to a bloody stump. I of course removed the poor chick from the rest. I put neosporin on its wound, made it its own box gave it a light, food and water. It seem to being ok considering....

Now while I was getting it box set up I kept an eye on the rir's, with in 10 minutes I see another(2nd) getting its rear end and feathers plucked, it bleeds slightly. I remove that one, finish the first box.

Within five(5) minutes there is a 3rd who just got its tail pecked and a drop of blood shows up and its then pecked by several others. I remove it from the rest of the flock.

While working on 2nd box trying to figure out a light for it, there is yet a 4th rir chick having its tail feathers pulled out drawing blood. It was removed.

I eventually got all four(4) pecked butt chicks in its own box with light/heat, food, and water. I sat and watched to see who the culprit was. I saw one chick go from chick to chick plucking out fuzz from each and everyone and eat it. So i separate it, with it own light, box, water, food, ect.

I don't know why the sudden change in behavior? I asked my FIL who has raised chickens for yrs. He thought would be caused by over crowding or them being to hot.

I kinda ruled over crowding out because I have 39 Barred Rocks in same size cage/brooder, 23 in RIRs'. I have not had a pecking problem with the BR's or SLw(28 in their brooder).

So I thought over heating? I reduced bulb wattage.....temp got to just about 83-85.

All seemed well, I went to bed for some much needed sleep(1am by now). I wake up at 3am and check on all the chicks.

To find "#5", this one has its back and right wing pecked. So at 3am I am making yet another box set up searching the house for one more lamp.

I have no more boxes, I have no more lamps(in my house),I have no room for yet another box set up...........

Heres is where I need help!!!!!

How do I prevent it from continuing? I am going to search out a red light with right wattages for my lamps.

What is causing this?

I just plain need help and advice!

Help!! please!

This am, the lesser pecked ones are healing well!
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Cooped Up
12 Years
Aug 31, 2007
Caneyville, KY

I separate a 2nd and 3rd main pecking chick, but yet again one more chicks but was pecked till it showed blood.

They ALL seem to WANT to peck each other. All seem to WANT to peck until blood is drawn. With them acting this way I am a prisoner in my own home I can't leave to go buy a red light(ppl say that might help).

I can not set up 23 gosh darn boxes, with 23 gosh darn heat lamps, with 23 gash darn waterers ,and feeders bathroom is not nearly big enough, I dont have 23 lamps, 23 boxes, 23 waterers, 23 feeders.....I can't leave them to go get 23 more of everything.

I am almost to the point of just letting them all just peck each other to death.....


geese thanks? pft!



12 Years
Sep 24, 2007
Okay now, chill out, it's gonna be okay. Just go to the Feed Store and get some of this black or blue stuff and rub it on the areas where they are pecking. It will stop them from pecking on each other. Mine were pecking on the beaks to the point of drawing blood and I applied Mentholatum ointment, they didn't like that at all, but on the vent, I would think that would just burn. I have no idea the name of this stuff, but it works!

Farmer Kitty

Flock Mistress
12 Years
Sep 18, 2007
How about getting another brooder set up for half of the chicks and see if it works. I know you said the others have more in their brooders that are the same size but, maybe there is something about these RIRs that they need more room.

Blu kote is a spray commonly used to spray on where their feathers have been plucked to change the color. Be forewarned thou. It STAINS EVERYTHING It is nearly impossible to get out of cloths or off anything. Your hands will remain a purple color until it wears off.

Anitpeck is another thing some use. It has a bad taste to deter pecking.

Good luck!


12 Years
Jun 16, 2007
Stilwell, KS
Are you using red light bulbs? Many people say this helps with pecking problems. The only other things I can think of is correct temp and enough space. Sorry you are having "brooder wars" hang in there, they really do grow up fast.


Cooped Up
12 Years
Aug 31, 2007
Caneyville, KY
Well i have calmed down now?!?!

Not getting any sleep doesn't help dealing with little pecking chicks.

I noticed my chick starter/ grower is only 17%, in the past it was 22% starter/grower. I know when my adult hens don't get enough protein they peck each other, but not nearly as bad though.

So I rushed the 25 miles round trip, to the local feed store and bought some game bird starter that is 30% protein.

I will mix the feed, 1 part 30% starter with 2 parts 17% starter/grower, that should give me 21.33%!

Now I have read about using pine tar to cover pecked it ok for semi open wonds?

And Do I just brush a little on the peck area?


12 Years
Jan 27, 2007
I swear by the pine tar, but I'd be very wary of using it on chicks (can be toxic) that young. I don't know how they'd hold up to getting a beak of the stuff. It is also a pain to work with (very messy).

See how the gamebird starter does, if there is no change, they probably need a larger area? Is one end of the brooder lighted and the other dark (so they can cool off or warm up at will?). You might try putting in a block of bird seed cake (not the suet), but even budgie bells might give them something else to strike out at.

Good luck!
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Feb 22, 2008
Kingman, AZ
Are you using a red heat lamp? That helps with pecking, accordign to my reading. I have no experience with pecking in chicks, hasn't happened with the small batches I have raised. The ones I have now are under a red heat lamp and don't peck, but they are SLWs and SSs, and there are 7 in a 4' x 4' brooder.


Human Encyclopedia
13 Years
Jan 11, 2007
the specific amino acid associated with feather picking/eating is can give yogurt (plain unflavored) and some finely ground sunflowerseed hearts (unsalted of course>grind in your kitchen machine) and cooked eggyolk crumbled as there is a bit of methionine in those.

Another trick I use for my somewhat older chicks (you can also do when they are young but there is a certain age just right before they are truly old enough to go out that they start getting bored and irritable with each other and this is when I usually have to do this):
I get a watermelon (or other melon would do ) ...put their starter sand yogurt in the two halves... they like pecking at the melon.
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In the Brooder
11 Years
May 3, 2008
Oh my gosh! I am so sorry to hear about your trouble. Since this is my first batch of chicks I had no idea how 'cruel' they can be to each other. I have one with a wounded, bloody toe that had to be removed from the flock. One thing I think might be helping them to not peck at each other is I have them in a large hard plastic wading pool that is blue with red beach balls...they love pecking at the red balls. I wonder if the constant exposure to the red is going to drive them crazy??

I hope that you are able to find something that works to stop your chicks from pecking each other.

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