One chick bullying/grabbing the beaks of other chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Kitana724, Mar 25, 2017.

  1. Kitana724

    Kitana724 Just Hatched

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    Mar 25, 2017
    Western NY
    Hello. I am a newbie to the world of owning chickens, and recently bought a 24 chicks (8 RIR, 8 GC, 4 BR and 4 BO). Since getting them home from the hatchery (on Thursday 3/23/17), one chick has consistently been grabbing the beaks of other chicks to the point where they yell out. No blood has been drawn, but the chicks crying out has been loud enough to wake me up at night. They generally peck at each others beak (to find food, shavings, etc.) but not like this. This one chick even walks around the sleeping chicks and just grabs their beak.

    We have the 24 chicks in a 4'x5' space now, with a divider in to open up the space as they grow. They have a long chick feeder and two waterers. Today I had enough and took the trouble maker out of the brooder and placed her on the other side of the divider (with her own heat lamp, food and water). I'm hoping separation will do the trick, and my husband is prepared to cull her if she doesn't shape up...though I would hate to do that. Quite a dramatic entrance into the world of chicken owning...

    Any thoughts as to how to manage this problem chick, and how long I should keep her separate?

    Any feedback is much appreciated. It's hard to hear her crying out in the basement [​IMG] (as you can see, I haven't developed a hardened shell for owning farm animals, not pets)
     
  2. DwayneNLiz

    DwayneNLiz ...lost... Premium Member

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    they will grow out of it and establish their 'pecking' order
    are you using a heat lamp?
    you could try using a brooder plate or a ceramic heat emitter that way night-time is dark and more natural and they will be more quiet
    or you could make a mama heating pad (MHP)
    Mama Heating Pad in the Brooder (Picture Heavy) - UPDATE

    Good Luck and WELCOME TO BYC!!!!!
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Junglefowlboss

    Junglefowlboss Out Of The Brooder

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    Could just be chick behavior or it might just be really mean. Separate it for an hour or two then put it back. I had the same problem last year. I would pick it up and give it a lecture and hold it above all the others and tap its head lightly for 5 minutes not hurting it or making it squeal or anything like that. Almost like petting and it worked. That was wierd. I think picking them up and giving them lectures is what worked. Now I do it with all my chickens when they have done something and it works like Im a chicken whisperer. Or just give it the your going to be soup if you dont stop. Lol goodluck.
     
  4. Kitana724

    Kitana724 Just Hatched

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    Mar 25, 2017
    Western NY
    Thank you :) I've been gleaning a lot of info from these forums before purchasing my chickens, so I'm glad to be a participating member now.

    I am using red heat lamps. I turn the surrounding florescent lights on during the day and off at night in the hopes that would help (minimal natural light in the basement). No luck so far. Thanks for the ideas.
     
  5. Kitana724

    Kitana724 Just Hatched

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    Mar 25, 2017
    Western NY
    Hahahaha. I did pick it up when I noticed its behavior, held it for a few minutes, then put her back, but she went right back to it. We'll see how a few hours of separation works.

    Thanks.
     
  6. DwayneNLiz

    DwayneNLiz ...lost... Premium Member

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    tapping on the head is a dominance thing that both hens and roosters do to show others that they are boss
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    They can be pretty rowdy the first few days pecking at each others eyes, grabbing legs and toes...should stop after a day or two.
    Agrees the heating pad can make them calmer overall than a 24/7 heat light.

    I use this 'chick jail'..made out of 1/2" hardware cloth, to give the meaner ones a time out if needed.
    Just put it right over the bully chick for a 30 minutes time out, repeat as necessary.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Kitana724

    Kitana724 Just Hatched

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    Mar 25, 2017
    Western NY
    Thank you all for your input. I appreciate all of the suggestions.

    Out of the 24, it is just one chick who is going around and intentionally grabbing other chicks by the beak. Repeatedly. So she is in a time out tonight in her own side of the brooder, and we'll see how it goes tomorrow. My husband is threatening to make an executive decision and cull her without me knowing so I wont have any guilt. So she's got one last shot tomorrow it seems. She had an hour "time out" on the other side of the brooder today that seemed to stop the behavior for a bit, but she was back at it this evening when we got home.

    We'll see how it goes. I'd hate to lose one. Any other suggestions are much appreciated.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    It can take repeated time outs...for shorter duration's(15-30 minutes) but more frequently.

    You can also try 'pecking' it on the head (with a finger tip) when it pecks another chick.
    Just firmly enough to make it squawk and stop/move away.

    Might be time to open up the space too, give them more room to get away from the bully.
    Some little roosts and things to 'hide' behind...out of 'line of sight' and or up and away from bully.
     
  10. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Is it a RIR that is being a brat?.....To be honest.. interfering only prolongs the issue...I leave them and let them figure it out..The others will get tired of it and peck it back...Culling is always an option...At such a young age, pecking order us not an issue..;)..Pecking order begins at around 3 weeks of age..Chest bumping and chasing..Fighting over food ...Bigger Brooder with stumps and a dust bath area.....Perches.....Mirror....Like all babies they need stimulation....:)


    Cheers!
     

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