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pecked chicks in brooder

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by westbury1, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. westbury1

    westbury1 Hatching

    Dec 23, 2009
    We have 14 x 4 week old Australorp chicks in a large well heated brooder in our laundry. Overnight, last night, two chicks were badly pecked around their tail and left bleeding. We have bathed their wounds in betadine and separated them from the others. Does anyone know why this might have happened and whether it is likely to happen again with the remaining chicks? Any ideas on best way to manage this behaviour would be very appreciated. We are new to indoor chicken raising!! Thanks heaps and Happy Christmas from Tasmania! Kathryn

  2. Thortherooster

    Thortherooster Songster

    Jun 10, 2009
    how old are the chicks? do they have enough room??
  3. purpletree23

    purpletree23 Songster

    May 15, 2009
    Brooder is probably too warm. What is the temp under the heat lamp? Can the chicks get to a cooler area of the brooder if they need to?
  4. chicknjane

    chicknjane Songster

    Jul 2, 2009
    Pine Grove, PA
    Welcome to BYC Kathryn,

    I have (25) 8 week old chicks and they started feather picking when they began outgrowing their brooder at about 4 weeks old. I ended up moving them out into the new coop with a heat lamp. It gave them more room, more things to do and eventually they stopped the feather picking.

    Feather picking can be caused by a number of things. As others suggested, it could be too warm. Temps should be reduced by 5 degrees per week until at room temperature (starting at 95 for day olds).

    It could be that they are crowded and need more room. It could be a protein deficiency or even plain old boredom.

    Consider your situation and try to make adjustments based on your observations and see if there is a change in their behavior.

    Also, it is suggested that you identify the one who is doing the feather picking and isolate that chick as opposed to separating the ones being picked. Their social structure is such that once you remove a chick from the flock, they will have to re-establish themselves in the pecking order once you reintroduce them, which could result in additional pecking.

    I'm sure I've forgotten to mention something. Someone else will fill in what I've missed.

    Good luck,

  5. westbury1

    westbury1 Hatching

    Dec 23, 2009
    Thanks so much everyone. We have reduced the temp in the brooder box; made an outside run (it's never warm in Tasmania) and will increase their outdoor time daily - this also addresses the boredom issue. Plus we have bathed the wounds with betadine (3 x daily) and painted them with blue food colouring to disguise the redness. Plus ... separated the wounded, in the broody box. As for locating the trouble maker - working on it. It sure is easier when mum chook does all the work as nature intended.

    Thanks again everyone and have a happy new year! Kathryn [​IMG]

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