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We found the pecking culprit!! Now what?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by colburg, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. colburg

    colburg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 50 chicks in an 8 foot diameter stock tank with the bottom cut out of it. They have been in it since day 1. We move it every 3 days so they have new places to scratch, bugs to eat, etc.
    [​IMG]

    At 1-1/2 weeks old, one deleware was pecked to death in a matter of hours and they had started pecking two more. We put blue lotion on one and RB Pick-No-More on the second. That seemed to stop all pecking.

    Then, yesterday, at 3 weeks old, our 2 cornish crosses were pecked almost completely with blood everywhere. We pulled them out and basted them from neck to feet with Blue Lotion. We found a few others with signs of pecking so we pulled every single one out. If they had been pecked, they got blue lotion on all pecked spots plus tails plus shoulders, if they hadn't been pecked, they got the pick-no-more on their tails and shoulders.

    This seemed to have cured them yesterday, however today there is some light pecking, but not like before.

    It always starts with the lighter colored chicks, the delawares and CC's. Only yesterday did a couple of browns and 1 black have pecked spots.

    Is this too small of a space for 50 chicks? 50sqft? From my reading, this should be plenty.
    They shouldn't be bored. with that much space to scratch and chase bugs.

    Would there be a problem with completely rubbing each on from neck to toes with pick-no-more? How about pine tar? We have both.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    At three weeks, you don't have enough space.

    Do they always have food available?
     
  3. colburg

    colburg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They always have food and water available. Our plan was to seperate the CC's in about a week, and the rest would get moved into the tractor.

    Do you have a guideline of space required at certain times? I thought 1sqft/chk was ok until they were about 4 weeks. Then they needed 2-3sqft/chk until 8-10weeks. Can't remember where I got this from, it's just stuck in my head.

    While we're on the subject of overcrowding, how does Joel Salatin keep 75 full grown chickens in a 10'x12' pen with no pecking problems?
     
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I don't know how others supposedly keep X amount of birds in Y amount of space, but when I was 8 or 9 years old, one of the first lessons I learned about keeping a ton of birds in a confined space was that cannibalism was going to run rampant very quickly. Our coop was 16x20 or similar, but since dad always got around 250 day old chicks for me to raise out, even that space wasn't sufficient by week 3. Pecking and killing each other is just about always the result of over crowding.

    There's almost no "right" amount of recommended space. More is always better, it seems. Darkness or at least, very, very low light atmosphere is also a plus.
     
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    You probably need more space for your situation. All situations and breeds are different. And I swear space needs grow exponentially with number of birds.

    I've been able to raise 5 leghorn chicks in a tub for over 4 weeks with no issue. Same tub, 3 sexlinks, and not even 3 weeks old they started picking on each other! I normally don't have chicks in tubs, but I was starting some out away from home.

    My guess in your case is that the white birds grow past their feathers, skin shows, it gets injured by just a scrape and they all go after the blood. Even the pink skin could be enough to spark a single curious pick and then that first drop of blood causes them to all go after it. Now they know each other tastes good... it will be a challenge to stop, but you just have to separate now. Gang mentality in birds.

    As for confinement raising of birds.... debeaking in combo with breeds bred for confinement makes it work... along with removing injuried and culling out weaker ones.
     
  6. colburg

    colburg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Low light I can do in a snap. More space is coming this weekend as soon as I finish the tractor.

    A little Blue Lotion, cabbage, apples, flock block and low-light in the meantime will hopefully keep them in decent shape until then.
     
  7. colburg

    colburg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    HAAAA!! I thought it would be impossible with 50 chicks, but we found the pecking culprit.[​IMG] Now what?[​IMG]

    After watching for about 20-30 minutes, we heard a loud "OUCH" peep and saw a little chick run away and peck another one, then 5 more. Then a brown one pecked once. We've got the culprit seperated with a screen, but still in the same pen. Everything calmed down after that and in 2 hours, we never saw another one peck or heard a loud "OUCH" peep. Everything was a lot calmer. Even this morning, they're not "OUCH" peeping or pecking.

    I've read about removing injured chicks and re-introducing them, but what about this little guy.

    1) Does she need to be visually seperated or is the screen better?
    2) How long do we keep her seperated? 1 week, 2 weeks, until all the other are healed? When we move them to a larger pen in a couple days? Or maybe longer till she's roasting size?


    Thanks for your input,
     
  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    You could just make up a small brooder type pen for the delinquents to spend a few weeks apart from the others. That's what I'd do. Gosh the varieties of things people use to make small grow out pens or brooders is limited only by one's imagination. I use my old utility trailer, for example. Cordon off just about any area and keep the naughty ones from stirring things up. See how that goes. You may find others taking up the role, so keep a close eye and good luck with your bunch of wilding chicks. LOL

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  9. CoopDeViIIe

    CoopDeViIIe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What is the brand name of the Blue Lotion?
     
  10. colburg

    colburg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Farnam It has an aplicator attached to the lid that makes life a lot easier.
    [​IMG]
     

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