New baby chick is a bully--relentless pecking at EYES!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by sarahandbray, Feb 3, 2015.

  1. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What do I do for this Easter Egger chick that RELENTLESSLY picks at other chicks eyes? Specifically yellow or buff colored chicks eyes? It's like she doesn't eat or sleep--just lives to grab hold of chicks eyeballs!
    This isn't my first shipment of chicks--we had 45 back in August, but this girl is a total b**ch!
    Does it get better? Or is she just doomed to be a bully?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Try isolating that bully for a day or two. I had one that killed one sibling with a broody hen raising them and later attacked another sibling. It was about two weeks old and the weather fairly warm so I totally isolated it for a day, letting it out of prison to rejoin Mama late on the day so she could keep it warm overnight. That was the end of its brutishness. It was a cockerel and when it got to butcher age it was the first to go to the freezer. While isolated it was miserable, giving that plaintive chirp, but it stopped killing its siblings after that.

    You can try keeping it in the brooder. Maybe make a wire cage out of hardware cloth or find a mesh basket to turn over on it and keep it away from the others but still in the brooder. It will need food and water but that way you can keep it warm.

    Another thought. How warm is your brooder? Can they get to a cooler spot if they need to? Too much warmth can make aggression worse. I find the best brooders to be the ones where I heat one area and let the rest cool off so they can find a comfortable spot. I don’t think this is your problem, I’d still isolate that bully, but too warm a brooder may be a contributing factor.
     
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  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Ridgerunner makes some excellent points. Sticking a wire basket over the twerp will isolate him while still keeping him from chirping his fool head off. Try to place him at the edge of the warm zone so he won't be in danger of cooking or cooling down.

    Besides increasing their space if the brooder is too small, try throwing a dark cloth over it in the evening, between the heat lamp and the chicks, to simulate night, or a period of very low light. That should relieve some of the stress. It's also a good idea to provide chicks an early introduction to the rhythm of day and night so they will not be startled by sudden darkness when you remove the heat lamp one day.

    It's been my experience that problem peckers invariably turn out to be cockerels, so be warned.
     
  4. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Brooder is HUGE!! There's a warm side and a cool side. Plenty of room to get away. It's 95 under the lamps. I ordered all pullets, but I'm sure it could be a cockerel.
    I ordered straight run last time and had oodles of boys, but none behaved this viciously!!
    She's under the plastic basket with food and water til I get home from work. She's still in the brooder but just separated.
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    What color brooder light are you using? If white, try switching to red. What is your brooder made of? Try putting some target spots in the brooder for them to peck at. A piece of cardboard on the wall with dots and squiggles on it (made with a laundry marker) will provide them with lots of entertainment. Put some of those marks high enough so they have to jump up to get at them. A mirror, a chunk of sod are other options to re-direct that pecking. A feather duster for them to snuggle under. But, yes, jail is a good option for the bully.
     
  6. gimmie birdies

    gimmie birdies Overrun With Chickens

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    when chicks are new they don't know what they are supposed to peck. eventually they will find something more interesting. Usually just day olds-week olds do this.
     
  7. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All right, I'll throw some things in there for them to peck at other than EYES!! Everyone else is totally appropriate--a few little pecks here and there, but not at all of the eyes of the buff and yellow chicks!! UGH!
    She'll come out of jail when I get home at 2:00 and I'll try to come up with some new things.

    Brooder is 32sf. made out of old doors with a plastic liner and wood chips with puppy pads over top for the first few days so they know what their food is. They are housed in the boiler room of our 150-year-old house. The room's about 75 degrees and the red heat lamps bring up the surface of the brooder to 95 degrees on one side.

    I can't think of what else I can do to make the brooder more comfortable...maybe I should separate her with the ones that aren't buff/yellow? She doesn't seem to pick the eyes of the other chipmunk striped Ameracuanas!!!
     
  8. gimmie birdies

    gimmie birdies Overrun With Chickens

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    put them all together again and see what they do. hopefully she will move on.
     
  9. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Umm, nope!! Still heads for the beady, shiny black eyes of the yellow/buff chicks!!!!
     
  10. gimmie birdies

    gimmie birdies Overrun With Chickens

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    [​IMG]
    You could try putting these little flowers in they sway to the light.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2015

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