panicky new!


10 Years
Apr 12, 2009
Pacific Northwest
o.k. I know I am fretting and fussing but it is night one for me to have chicks (7 in all). I got them at a swap from 2 different people and they range from 2 days old to 4 or 5. I was told that they should be o.k. together but I am worried about the 2 youngest (red wyandottes) . One is a little quiet and would like to sleep more except for getting stepped on by the oldest Americauna/leghorn cross. Both of them have the tendency to hunker under the other birds and so get 'shat' upon and then the liveliest of the older birds starts trying to eat the poo off their feathers (and doesn't have very nice table manners what with the tugging at the feathers)

I took a couple out that had poo on them and gently with a warm damp cloth did my best at washing them off. Then I thought the littlest one might be better off separated but when I did so and arranged for her to be warm and right next door she set up a racket of peeping when I I figured this was stressing her out more and so I put her back.

Another note about her, she had a clump of poo that I thought was blocking her vent hole so I said aha! and cleaned that off but what do I know from vent holes (so embarrassed) , it turns out it was lower down but looked a tiny bit bloody....I touched the cloth to it and thought I saw a trace of blood.

o.k. so somebody....I need a reality check, am I just fussing and should stop mauling my poor little chick or should somebody have a time out, like maybe the peevish little pecker Americauna cross should be separated....or should I take the two littlest out. Sheesh! I hope someone has the patience to help me out.
Hi, I am sorry no one has responded yet. I am new to this also. At first guess I would say seperate the little guys for now. Make sure they are warm enough. What temp. do you have them at?
I've got the temperature at 30 ish...they seem to be comfortable. I'm going to go have another look just to see how everyone is.
hi Socks! Remember, you only worry cuz you care!!
If you're really concerned that one chicky is getting beat up by another, you could try erecting a barrier between them that they could see through - maybe a window screen or something? so they feel like they're together but they can't do one another any harm.
And keeping clean is a nice thing, as long as you're not stressing them out too much.
Thanks guys, yes, I have a heat lamp, sorry that was 30 celcius which is about 90 farenheit.

I made a decision and put the two oldest in a separate container beside the other. One of them was the one picking on the others....I do know they need to establish a pecking order I just didn't want it to involve bleeding and dying if it can be avoided. Tomorrow I will make a bigger brooder separated by hardware cloth and if time outs are still needed will use that. I expect to be getting a few new chicks next week so will want to keep them separate-but-together with the group.
The place that was lower than the vent hole was probably the umbilicus. They usually heal without much fuss. A dab of triple antibiotic ointment if you have it is fine, or a little Vaseline. Poopy butts are usually just part of the deal, too. Wash or soak them clean in warm water. Be sure to apply a little Vaseline (petroleum jelly) or other ointment after you clean them; makes life a lot simpler if they get poopy again, and helps them heal.

They like to be together. They are going to peck and spat to establish their pecking order. You are going to have to let them do this if they don't raise blood on one another.

Be sure the one that is a little quiet is really eating and drinking. You can put a drop of water or watered feed on its beak. Sometimes the lowest guy in the pecking order gets deprived.

They are indeed fragile at this age, but will not be for long at all. And they are going to have to work out their pecking order, regardless. You should not have to intervene in this unless there is blood. Best to let them work it out if you can.

Also, keep in mind that any time you take a chicken out of its group, then put it back after some hours or days, you are moving it to the lowest place in the pecking order. Sometimes we have to remove one who has been injured, which complicates this. In order to address the problem, we need to remove the aggressor for a week or so, then reintroduce him, in order to make them rearrange the pecking order.

A bigger brooder can't be wrong; they love space. I would try to avoid separation if at all possible, though. Reintroduction is never without problems.

Keep us posted!
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Well the two oldest were put in the time out pen for the night. They weren't so happy but the others all had a great sleep. I put them back this morning and they were a little subdued. Nevertheles one of them has definitely established her/hisself as the uber chicken at this point, which as you say is natural.

The quieter one is better today and is eating but nobody is drinking quite like I expected (I did put all of their beaks in the water) but that IS a pasting up problem with the smallest one which I have been trying to deal with...hard to get that dried stuff off and can't seem to soak the butt unless I want to get most of her wet, and am afraid to get her too wet in case she cools off too much.
Thanks so much ddwawn for that really helpful info about the umbilicus and the vaseline for the vent as well.

I doubled the size of their brooder at 6 a.m. (to something about the size of one of those boxes you put tools in the back of a truck) this then went back to sleep myself (motherhood can be exhaustiing

o.k. next newby that just natural birdie behaviour for them to start scratching themselves as it were, with their beak, I mean kind of seems when one starts to do it they all do. Just concerned about lice or whatever and it does seem to be the weakest one who does it most???

Going down to check on progress now.
That's called preening. They are cleaning their feathers. Quite normal.

If they have lice or mites, you will be able to see them. Best way is to use a flashlight at night, take them off the roost, look carefully around their vents and under their wings. Hoe will see tiny creatures crawling around and/or clumps of tiny eggs at the base or going up the shaft of the feathers. This is something you should do regularly because seems that all chickens will get some mites/lice; carried by wild birds, easily transferred to yours.

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