now several chicks have been bloodied

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by CovenantCreek, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    Yesterday there was one chick who had lost all his tail feathers. I removed him from the brooder, then today went to get a chick to keep him company in the house and found that several of the chicks have areas that are bloody. I was only able to catch one to bring inside (I just saw where he's lost virtually all the feathers on one wing). The others were too quick to get away or never came close enough to be caught in the first place.

    My 1st question: Is this the result of stress? We've had a few really cold nights this past week and since the brooder is in the garage it may not stay as warm as it needs to be even with a space heater right next to it. Wednesday morning we had a power outage that lasted an hour and a half, which caused me to bring everyone inside for a few hours. The brooder temp was up between 80-85 before I put them back in (they're all 2 weeks old), and when I would check on them there were always some lounging around near the front of the brooder so during the day and evening it didn't seem like it was too cold.

    My 2nd question: Should I leave them where they are, or try to turn my small future coop into a brooder for them? The coop gets more sunlight than the garage, so it tends to warm up inside. It's 8'x8' and close enough to an outlet that I could run a couple of heat lamps in there. I don't know if any of the stores here have brooder guard yet, that's probably my main concern -- 19 chicks probably don't need 64 sq ft to get lost in. My other option would be to fire up the second brooder in the garage and divide the chicks, but that could cause issues later when I want all the Delawares together as one flock.
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Sounds like stress of being cold or crowding, leading to pecking. How big is your current brooder? I gave my 18 leghorn chicks a 3x4 brooder for the first two weeks, and then moved them to the 4x8 brooder pen. I say give them the 8x8 coop to get lost in and make sure there are no drafts. 19 chicks in 8x8 isn't too much space really. In no time they will be over crowded again in 64 sq feet. They grow faster than weeds.
     
  3. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    The brooder is about 3'x3' -- it's the GQF box brooder that's supposed to be able to hold 48 chicks for 4 weeks. The 19 don't seem crowded, but if they're all trying to get the best spot under the heater at night that could be a problem.
     
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Time to turn that heater up then if they are crowding. Oh, and the "commercial" brooders say they can hold so many... but they also say that you can raise 6 leghorns with 1 sq foot each for their whole lives in wire cages.

    3x3, 48 chicks, 4 weeks... that would be a wall of chicken backs bound for problems unless everyone was debeaked like commercial places do to them all. In addition I think that figure was calculated for leghorns which are half the size of delawares. Just keep an eye on them and remember more space is always better when it comes to brooder stress.
     
  5. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    I never see them crowding under the heater, but I'm not out there when it gets down into the teens outside. Just the same, I'm gonna move them. I just put 3 heat lamps in the small coop -- 1 w/ 125 watt clear bulb, 2 w/ 250 watt red bulbs. I'm hoping to be able to move the chicks this evening. I'll probably take some boxes out or something to help them stay close to the heat until the whole coop is warmer. Hopefully this will work. [​IMG]
     
  6. coopist

    coopist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 2, 2008
    Midwest U.S.
    I'm sorry you're having this problem, and I do think that separation into smaller groups could help. Do I understand rightly, that these are hatchery-derived Delawares?

    If they are, then I have to say that in my honest opinion, it could be breed/strain related. Genuine heritage Delawares are known for their sweet personalities, but in recent years there've been a LOT of hatcheries selling out-crosses as "Delawares," and these birds are sometimes aggressive and prone to feather-picking. I'm not saying all hatchery Delawares are bad, but based on what I've gathered from this board and another, there's definitely been a bad strain going around. If you don't believe me, ask speckledhen about her "vampire chicks."

    Again, so sorry to hear this. I breed Delawares, and every time I hear about this, it makes me sad.
     
  7. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    I hatched these from eggs I received from a breeder in Kansas. Where her stock came from I don't know. These have definitely shown a tendency toward being feisty.

    I just got them all moved into the small coop. Stupid me, I forgot that chicks will eat shavings and had filled the space with them. I managed to get them covered between newspaper and flakes of hay. Hopefully they'll get through this mistake, too. They all seemed quite happy when I left -- most were either eating or playing with pieces of hay. Tomorrow I'll try to get the paper replaced with more hay.

    From losing my favorite pullet on Tuesday to all of this............... this has been a looooooooong week. [​IMG]
     
  8. coopist

    coopist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 2, 2008
    Midwest U.S.
    If you're talking about the woman who sells eggs on ebay, her stock is definitely from a hatchery.

    Best of luck.
     
  9. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    Oh great........... well, I suppose the ones I don't fall in love with could look good in the freezer. :|
     
  10. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    With 19 chicks, it is often a lot harder to tame them down too. I see a huge personality difference between my leghorns that grew up in batches of 20 vs the ones that grew up in a tiny bunch of 6 or so.
     

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