Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Turn your back and what happens?

The chicks were out today,  my Aunt and her grand-daughter came to visit, everything was fine.

At the end of their visit,I took them to the station, 15 mins at most I was away. When I got back, five of the chicks had blood all over them. - mostly tail area, but a bit on the back. DH and I got them out and sprayed them with  Septiclense (an antiseptic spray, which disguises the red blood), and put them back in with the others.   ALmost immediately, the others were pecking them again. 

We separated them out, sprayed them again, and put them in the run attached to the Go; we made up a netting run for the others, so we could keep them apart.    We filled up some spare feeders,  made up a second dust bath so both runs had one,  and kept watch while we worked out what to do. One little chap, the most severely injured,  was very quiet.  I heated the Snugglesafe in the microwave and put it in the run for him, but he didn't bother with it.

We discussed options, and decided to make up a temporary second brooder pen for the injured chicks. Fortunately we have a second, smaller, Electric Hen.   We set this up in the shed and left it to warm up.

Amongst the uninjured chicks, we noticed that one particular chick seemed to be attacking the others.   I got out some leg rings, and we put a red ring on the one we thought was causing an issue.  We watched them for a little while, and he really was a problem.   We hoiked him out, and put him in the second brooder while we discussed what to do.

We decided to put rings on all the chicks, so we could identify any persistent trouble makers.     I had some numbered rings, so we put even numbers on those we thought might be girls, and odd numbers on those we thought were boys.   We only had 25 numbered rings,  so we then put blue on the remaining boys (different coloured chicks so we could still tell them apart),  and the remaining colours on those we thought were girls.

It ws getting late by this time, so we moved Red Ring (the trouble maker) into the old chick brooder in the house so we could put the poorly chicks to bed.  Don't like him being on his own, but it's better than letting him injure others.   The four injured chicks then went into the temporary brooder,  and everyone else went into their normal one.   We'll see how the injuries are tomorrow and then decide whether to continue to keep them separate or whether to try and reintegrate them. 

Red Ring can go back in with the others tomorrow, under supervision, and we'll pull him out again if he starts any trouble.

I'm covered in purple spray,  my clothes are covered - I didn't have time to change, so they aren't my chicken-keeping clothes, and  I feel drained!  I know I should be more resilient, I'm just sad that this has happened, and annoyed that it happened while I wasn't there to see what occurred. I think it's the "not knowing" what made it all kick off that is so horrible.  Was it an accident?  What sort of accident?  How can I stop it happening again?  Did something catch them from the outside? Was it a cat paw? 


  1. Naughty red ring!!

    I hope the four injured chicks recover well..

    Sorry to hear about the naughty boy!


  2. Don not feel bad as it is just, the way it is....Chickens are sometimes really mean to each other?