Young chicks with alarming behavior

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by ChickKeeper, Oct 23, 2014.

  1. ChickKeeper

    ChickKeeper Just Hatched

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    Oct 23, 2014
    Hello,
    I've raised chickens the majority of my life. Almost every year I get a pair of chicks and spoil them with lots of attention and keep them with me as much as possible, but this is new and they have me worried.

    I got two Ameraucana's a week ago, they appear to be about 1-2 weeks old at the time I got them so 2-3 weeks old now. They had been doing well besides one quirk they both seem obsessed with eating hair. They will try to pull it from my head or every shed hair they come across. I try to take them away whenever I see they have one, but there are two of them so I'm sure they have consumed more than I'd like.

    Today I needed to visit my parents. They seemed fine for the ride and were eating and drinking. I didn't see them get a hold of anything unusual (besides some more hair and there is pet hair around my parents house which I mention since it may very well be part of the issue).

    Around 2 or 3 am during a snack/drink break I didn't notice anything unusual before one of them screamed (like in pain) stretching its neck out and shaking her head mouth open wide. She did this twice before settling back down and acting like nothing is wrong. A short period of time goes by then her sister does a similar thing screaming like in pain stretching her neck shaking/awkward movements. She does this every time she opens her eyes for a while (not sure exact time was about an hour total between the two of them).

    She settled down and besides acting extra sleepy seems to have settled down. (Not sure the lethargy is due to something being wrong or just that I have kept them up past their normal bedtime).

    After watching them a couple hours and just when I thought maybe it was nothing serious the first chick does the same behavior again. I have no idea what it could be so here I am asking for help what can I do for them? I really just want the best for them.

    Both are still passing stools normally and eating/drinking.

    Thank you
     
  2. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

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    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    If they do that open-mouth stretching, most chickens do that when they see the feed lady coming. Chicks will also eat feathers. It's not uncommon. Some say it's a lack of protein, but I think they do it anyway.
     
  3. ChickKeeper

    ChickKeeper Just Hatched

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    Oct 23, 2014
    If it was just the stretching I wouldn't be so worried its more the scream that sounds like they are in pain that comes with it... I guess the shake that follows it could kinda be described as how they look if they were sneezing repeatedly only without the sneeze part[​IMG] I've seen chicks pick up feathers before, and a hair here and there isn't unusual, but these two seem to act like hair is their favorite thing. I've had quite a few chicks and never had a pair that tried so hard to eat hair, but the issue could be something else entirely since chicks do like to pick up all random things.
     
  4. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

    17,687
    507
    461
    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    Try taking some chick feed and adding water and making a wet mash. Most love it and it might take their mind off the hair.
     
  5. ChickKeeper

    ChickKeeper Just Hatched

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    2
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    Oct 23, 2014
    [​IMG]


    Just wanted to post an update. Whatever was bothering them that night hasn't reoccurred and both are doing well besides being impossible to get them to both look at the camera at the same time. They still want to go after hair, and the one on the right seems interested in plucking the new feathers on the one on the left guessing it will be less of an issue once a few more grow in and the new feathers don't stand out so much in the mean time they get kept busy with distractions (mealworms being their favorite option) and broken up whenever I notice the one getting fixated on the feathers. Certainly not a perfect solution, but short of separating them not sure of a better option for these little rascals.
     

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