Return to the Farm Life Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Chicks Fighting. ..drew Blood! Help!

Posted by newbiegardner Z10 S. Florida (My Page) on
Sun, Dec 14, 08 at 22:06

Folks,

I have four (4) new silkie/showgirl chicks that are about 8 weeks old....I added them to our coop 2 weeks ago. I had 2 adult Americauna hens and a bantam rooster at the time. I took the time to introduce the new chicks to them a few hours a day and initially put up a divider in the coop. Even still, when the divider was removed one of the hens kept chasing around the chicks so I moved the 2 hens out in a separate coop.

Now just the chicks and the rooster are in the coop. Problem is that 2 of the chicks are ganging up on a white silkie. They drew blood on the silkie's head...and since it is white....it really showed up...and when I got there...they were all attacking her head and pecking at the blood.

Anyway, I separated her for tonight...in a cardboard box in my garage. I am now all out of coops...I can keep this chick in a box in the garage for a few days...but what do I do long-term?

These chicks were mixed run....so I don't know if they are roosters or hens...but maybe the white silkie is a rooster and that is why it is fighting so much? Or is it the victim?

We are new to keeping chickens...any advice would be appreciated!!!


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Chicks Fighting. ..drew Blood! Help!

Take extra-good care of Silkies with head injuries, as it can lead to swelling of the brain. Keep an eye on the injured bird, if it starts to stagger around drunkenly or go around with it's head down, it may have a head injury. If it shows these symptoms, repost here and I can tell you how to help it. You did the right thing in getting it out of there.

I've got a chicken info page here, this is the page on introducing new birds to the flock:

http://jackshenhouse.com/VSChickIntroducingNewBirdsToFlock.htm

You need to be out there to supervise and instantly chase off the bullies when they attack 'your' chicks--YOU are both mother hen and Head Rooster in this case, and your rule must be absolute.

I'd keep the injured chick separated until it has healed, then reintroduce it to the flock. It will take some time on your part to do this, but it can be done. Make sure the Silkies have adequate room to get away from bullies and somewhere to hide if need be--bushes, etc. Are they free ranging or all cooped up together? If they free range they will have an easier time adjusting to each other.

Velvet ~:>


 o
RE: Chicks Fighting. ..drew Blood! Help!

Velvet,

Thanks...the most confusing thing about it is that I opened the coop and let them out when I first noticed the bloody head.....yet...the injured chick DOES NOT RUN AWAY....not only that but it seems to seek out the 2 black showgirls and invite more fights. What gives?

The chickens are not crowded...and they often free range during the day....however the chicks don't seem to stray far at all from the coop..and the injured one DOES NOT take advantage of the opportunity to ESCAPE. Instead, it holds its ground and fights back. The problem is that is it outnumbered....two to one. One of the other chicks does not fight and simply watches.

We have a rooster in the coop as well....I thought roosters were supposed to break up hen fights? Of course, these chicks are not necessarily hens (we don't know yet).

I called our local feed store and they don't have anything. However, Stromberg's chickens and McMurray Hatchery sell a spray called "Hot Pick" to stop pecking on an injury. They also sell some kind of blinders so the chicks can't see each other (they call these peepers or something like this). They also sell beak "clip" thingies that stop the birds from fully closing their mouth.

Also, I've been told I can clip the beaks with dog clippers (shudder!) but I am scared of experimenting with this last option. Should I be?

ARGH! What to do!


 o
RE: Chicks Fighting. ..drew Blood! Help!

I know nothing.

But here's what I would do. After she's healed, I'd see if there was one (or better, two) bird(s) who doesn't fight with the silkie and I'd give them the house where you hope everyone will eventually live. I'd let them have this place for at least a week, and then I'd introduce the next most agreeable bird. If you haven't got a fairly docile bird to put in, start with the trouble makers, but do it during the day, and supervise them. Any trouble, I'd yank the troublemaker(s) out and put them back in solitary. It's tricky stuff separating birds since reintroduction is always difficult and takes time, in my novice opinion.

I try to make troublemakers feel like second-class citizens. Eventually they figure out, if they want to be with the rest of the birds, they might have to change their tune. I'm new to chickens, but I have had to introduce birds or reintroduce birds several times.


 o
RE: Chicks Fighting. ..drew Blood! Help!

OK, I have found the trouble-maker. Instead of isolating the victim....I was an eye-witness to the black showgirl chicken that was attacking our white silkie. I caught her in the act and separated the ATTACKER today.

Turns out, the white silkie got along great with the other black showgirl and brown showgirl and the bantem rooster. So it was one of the black showgirls that was the trouble.

Strange thing is that the white silkie (we call her "snowflake") didn't run away....we opened the coop and they had the run of the entire yard...yet the white silkie and the black showgirl were still at each other's throats.

Maybe both of these fighting chicks are going to be roosters and are just starting to position for the "alpha male" slot. Who knows. I thought the birds were "picking" at a wound on the white silkie that they caused....but this isn't instinctive pecking....the black showgirl and the white silkie just have it in for each other.

Strange additional fact....when together, the OTHER black showgirl also jumps into the fray and attacks the white silkie....but without the head showgirl around...the other black showgirl and the silkie seem to get along fine.


 o
Removed the trouble-maker...

OK, I have found the trouble-maker. Instead of isolating the victim....I was an eye-witness to the black showgirl chicken that was attacking our white silkie. I caught her in the act and separated the ATTACKER today.

Turns out, the white silkie got along great with the other black showgirl and brown showgirl and the bantem rooster. So it was one of the black showgirls that was the trouble.

Strange thing is that the white silkie (we call her "snowflake") didn't run away....we opened the coop and they had the run of the entire yard...yet the white silkie and the black showgirl were still at each other's throats.

Maybe both of these fighting chicks are going to be roosters and are just starting to position for the "alpha male" slot. Who knows. I thought the birds were "picking" at a wound on the white silkie that they caused....but this isn't instinctive pecking....the black showgirl and the white silkie just have it in for each other.

Strange additional fact....when together, the OTHER black showgirl also jumps into the fray and attacks the white silkie....but without the head showgirl around...the other black showgirl and the silkie seem to get along fine.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Farm Life Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here