Runt chick getting picked on? Seperate or not?


7 Years
Jan 10, 2013
I was raising 6 chicks in a brooder box but one has always been like half the size of the others. ( She's growing, just very slowly.) She was doing okay but I looked in today to see blood all over her tail, and all her back tailfeathers missing! It seems like maybe she broke a blood feather and the rest of them started pecking at it :( The bleeding had stopped at least.

I have her indoors in a tank with heat, food and water but she seems pretty stressed. How long should I keep her separate? I'm worried since she's so much smaller her siblings will keep stomping all over her- or things like this pecking attack happen- or is it worse to be alone?


The Frosted Flake
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Jul 26, 2008
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
My Coop
My Coop
I am sorry to say, but in my experience, as long as there is any scab or whatever on her, the others will pick her to death.

Once everything is healed, you can try to reintroduce her, but first look at just how much coop space you have, how much run space, and maybe increase stimulation for the chicks. So, give them stuff to do, grass clippings, toss in some scratch or scraps a least once a day, give them a bale of hay to dig through, etc. Also, if they have too much light, that can also increase pecking.

If the coop is large enough, the run is large enough, AND they have stuff to do, (see above). It might be fine to put the runt back in, but she will probably only stay fine if she can always avoid the others. I seem to always need two feeders and two waterers, and I always put up enough roosting spaces so that the smaller or low pecking order birds can sleep in peace.

I seem to always keep a very mixed flock, usually with some very large breeds all the way down to bantams, and as long as I follow the above advice, everyone is fine. The only exception to that rule was when I had a low on the pecking order hen that had an odd shoulder. Every so often, when she was taking a dust bath, she would get stuck, and then couldn't get back up. I would have to pick her up and put her on her feet. At some point, the other chickens decided that when she was stuck they should try to kill her. It was terrible.

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