Two week old pullets still pecking each others feathers off

kristenm1975

Songster
11 Years
Jul 23, 2008
831
17
163
Seattle, WA
I had 14 pullets in a cardboard box for a brooder for the first week and a half and they outgrew it REALLY fast. They've just been moved to a new huge brooder (3x5x3) and I notice that they still are losing feathers on their backs and rears. It looks like the spots aren't bloody at least, but they look pretty scabby and sore.

If it isn't a space issue, and the temp is right, they have good food and water, then what on earth are they still picking for?? Goofy girls. If there's something that one would generally have around the house that can be used to apply to the sore spots to heal or at last help prevent more pecking, that would be great. Like, maybe mentholatum or similar?

Any help appreciated!
 

gritsar

Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
12 Years
Nov 9, 2007
28,906
239
421
SW Arkansas
I'm a big believer in pine tar, but unless you have a horse it's not likely to be something that you keep around the house.
 

kristenm1975

Songster
11 Years
Jul 23, 2008
831
17
163
Seattle, WA
Thanks for the tips. Nope, don't have pine tar around, but I can try lowering the temp. I didn't insulate the brooder with much, just lined the inside with feed sacks doubled up, so I was more concerned that it was too cold in there. But, I sure don't mind lowering the heat (and my heating bill!) and see what happens. Need to get a thermometer in there asap obviously. By this age, the temp should be around 80 or 85 right?
 

gritsar

Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
12 Years
Nov 9, 2007
28,906
239
421
SW Arkansas
Kristen, you don't mention their age except to say that they were in their first brooder a week and a half.
80 to 85 would be right for 3 week old chicks, but keep something in mind. My chicks never liked the hotter temps. They consistently liked it about five degrees cooler than the recommendations.
Watch the chicks, if they are moving around in and out of the heat lamp and not huddling under it, then you have the temp. right.
Also, if you have a red heat bulb to use instead of white (if that's what you're using) it would help.
I forget your location but taking them for some outside time when the weather is good would help too. Alot of times boredom is the problem.
ETA: arghhhhhhhhhh Your title does mention their age! Sorry I'm just getting up from a nap. I'd say in another week or so you could start taking them out for short periods of time IF your weather allows it.
 
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jvls1942

Free Ranging
11 Years
Oct 16, 2008
12,312
5,918
581
wausau,wisconsin
I agree, I never start at 90 95 degrees.. I start about 80 even for newbies.. I keep it as cool as I can and watch the chicks. If they never want to go away from the heat, I raise it a little.. afer awhile you will learn to tell at a glance what you have to do.. just hang in there about 40 years, like I have..LOL
 

Chicken Fruit

Songster
10 Years
Feb 25, 2009
1,507
8
173
Echo Homestead
Make it a little cooler, and make sure they brooder light is red and not white.

See if you can determine who the pecker is.. generally its only one or two birds causing the problem- they might need some jail time to think about their wrongs and adopt a better attitude.
 

Chicken Fruit

Songster
10 Years
Feb 25, 2009
1,507
8
173
Echo Homestead
Quote:I agree with the seeing what your birds can handle theory here.

I think when they set the recommendations for heat temperatures they are for brooders out doors in an otherwise unheated area. I think it makes a difference when the brooder is inside like it is for more BYC people. So the temp can be a little cooler.

I do about 80-85 for my day olds.
 
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TXmom

Songster
11 Years
Dec 3, 2008
1,505
12
161
Sealy, TX (West Houston area)
I use a red bulb and haven't had any kind of picking problems. I also took them on "field trips" out to the yard starting at a week old. Weather permitting, of course. When it was cooler, around 60, I would only let them stay out for a short time (started with just 10-15 minutes) and by the time they were 4-5 weeks old, they were staying outside all day and only sleeping in their brooder at night. They always loved outside more than their brooder!
 

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