Please Help! New chicken owners with question about pecking!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SmithFamSeven, Mar 28, 2018.

  1. SmithFamSeven

    SmithFamSeven Hatching

    Mar 28, 2018
    Hi everyone! We are a family of seven who have recently started raising chickens. We have four- a brahma, a bantam brahma, and two wyandottes - who we've raised from 2 week old chicks. They are now about 24 weeks old. We had no idea the one brahma was a bantam and were so concerned about her because she wasn't growing like the rest of them. We're assuming she's a bantam. She is only half the size of the other three. She's always been the quietest, lethargic, and is constantly getting picked on, especially by the other brahma. How can we help her? Could she be sick? Should we separate her from the other three? We could put her in her own space, but were told that chickens don't like to be separated from one another. Thank you so much for any help you can provide. We have no idea what we're doing here.
  2. SueT

    SueT Free Ranging

    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    Welcome to BYC! She could be a bantam and that's just the pecking order. I have a yr old bantam D'Uccle who is quiet and gets pushed around and doesn't stand up for herself. Some breeds are that way. Why don't you post pics?
    Good luck!
    azygous likes this.
  3. SmithFamSeven

    SmithFamSeven Hatching

    Mar 28, 2018
    Thank you so much, Sue! The kids just looked under her feathers and it appears that she has a few cuts. Will she be okay if we put her in the brooder (it's a large rubbermade container) with food and water by herself?
  4. SueT

    SueT Free Ranging

    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    If you separate her, they may be worse to her after re-uniting. I don't know, really. Post some pics, and maybe someone will come along with better advice....
    Frazzemrat1 and azygous like this.
  5. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    First of all, let's verify she's a standard Brahma and not a bantam. If you have one that is a bantam, the bantam's legs will be much shorter in relation to the body as compared to the others, whose legs will appear longer in proportion to their bodies.

    The behavior you describe really does point to compromised health as being the cause of her small size. Am I right in assuming she's been the runt since you got them? Is so, she is likely a failure-to-thrive chicken. This is caused by genetic problems. Development is slow because their bodies are not fully developed at hatch. Some die within the first week. Others manage to survive but never seem to catch up.

    Usually, if you're going to be able to help a chick like this, it's in their early weeks when cells are growing very fast. Now, her cells are through with that rapid growth and it may not be possible to goose them with added nutrition, but you can try.

    I recommend Poultry Nutri-drench for a vitamin supplement, and feeding extra protein like boiled egg, tofu, mackerel, even cat food as an occasional treat.

    You need to treat those cuts by cleaning with soap and water, then spray Vetericyn on them until they heal.

    If the others are bothering the wounds, paint Blu-kote on them after spraying with Vetericyn. But keep her with the others as @SueT pointed out. She'll be far better off.
    SueT and puffypoo22 like this.
  6. All_my_peeps

    All_my_peeps In the Brooder

    Feb 12, 2018
    Can you put her in an area that she will be safe but all the chickens can still see her. And then slowly integrate her into the flock with the others while you monitor things. They will eventually work it out. Chickens have a very strong pecking order that takes time to sort out. I let them work it out until (or if) someone draws blood, then I separate them.

    You may have better luck to allow them all to free range together where it’s a larger space the may be less territorial.

    It can be stressful, I know, but hang in there and stick with whatever method you choose.
  7. Jetblack2004

    Jetblack2004 Free Ranging

    Feb 22, 2016
    South East England
    My Coop
    I suggest seperating her for a length of time so that she can get better. She isn't going to feel well at all if she's being picked on.

    Is she eating and drinking properly? If she's lightweight it could be that she's not being allowed to eat.

    When she's better, buy an anti-feather-pecking spray. This helps a lot.
    Chickens don't like being alone when they're perfectly healthy. If a chicken isn't feeling well, they'll be glad to have some peace and quiet for sure.
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    How big is your coop and run?
    Dimensions and pics would help.
    Crowding is the number one reason for bullying.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: