pecking order

akcare

Hatching
Oct 30, 2018
2
1
6
Hi, we just received 7 chicks this morning. They did fine until late this afternoon. One seems to be the boss and keeps pecking the others. I'm afraid she will go for their eyes. What should I do?
 

andreanar

Crowing
5 Years
May 16, 2014
2,832
4,887
437
Finger Lakes, NY
I wouldn't worry. As long as you have plenty of space for them to run. You could add a few hiding places in their brooder. A few bricks on top of each other that they can run behind, a hanging feather duster to burrow into. Id also add a few things to occupy their time. A clump of sod to dig through, a few little perches.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
96,508
130,071
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Hi, we just received 7 chicks this morning. They did fine until late this afternoon. One seems to be the boss and keeps pecking the others. I'm afraid she will go for their eyes. What should I do?
Are they day old chicks?
Normal for them to peck each other a bit.
Show us pics of your brooder set up and tell us how you are providing heat.
 

WaterWindStone

Songster
5 Years
Apr 21, 2015
39
48
139
Colorado
Congrats on the chicks!

There are a few reasons they peck at each other...the brooder is too warm, they are crowded in, or they are bored.

Make sure they all have at least a 1/2 square foot per chick in the brooder.

Don't over heat them. This is very important. Keep the heat off to one side, food and water on the other, do not cover the top of the brooderwith anything but screen or wire. Start day old chicks at around 88 degrees Fahrenheit. I have found any hotter than 90 on day old, and they turn on each other. Keep the thermometer on the floor directly under the heat source. Lower the heat by 5 degrees once a week.

All chicks have to understand their world is their beaks. So they go around and put them on everything. And yes sometimes its on eye balls, toes and other places. They feel with their beaks.

Being in the brooder can get boring. So you need to give them something to do to burn calories so they dont turn on each other. So get them out on the living room floor for a bit. Make sure all dogs and tiny children are under control, lay an old sheet down and let the chicks wander around for 15 mins. If its a nice day, get them outside in a fully protected fenced in area or even the future coop. But somewhere they can be entertained and burn calories. A tired chick is a calm chick.

Give them things to do in the brooder. I like to cut down a cereal box or shoe box, lay on its side with enough height they can get in but stuff stays in, and spinkle chick starter in, alfalfa hay leaves, dried leaves from a tree outside, a sprinkling of grit or play sand and let them go to town scratching and playing. Cut some small branches from outside and put them in the brooder to climb on. Install a small roost bar too. Just things to play on.

If you do these things, your chicks will quickly stop with the pecking and aggression.

Good luck!
 

akcare

Hatching
Oct 30, 2018
2
1
6
Thanks for all the great ideas. They have settled down and seem to be fine today. I will work on rearranging the brood tomorrow.
 

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