Raising chicks and picking problems…

I recently had an issue arise that was new to me.  I went out to the brooder and found 7 or 8 chicks with little blood spots on their heads or wing area.  At first I got freaked out, and then ran to Google.  It seems that Google is my best friend sometimes.

Normally I brood 200 chicks in a 10×20 brooder shed for 1 month.  I was cleaning my pasture coop and run, and had to leave the chicks in for an extra week.  At the same time a new order of chicks arrived.  I had to section off part of the brooder shed to make space for the new arrivals.  Then the problems started.  If you are familiar with chicks and blood then you know it was like a domino effect.  Chicks are like sharks to blood.  Once they get to pecking and picking on an injured bird they will not stop until it is dead.  They will even become cannibals.  You have to break the cycle.

For me it was easy.  I got the pasture coop finished, and moved 200 chicks to pasture.  I separated the injured birds from the others, and after a few days everything returned to normal.  The main thing is to give these chicks space.  Overcrowding can lead to many other problems too.  Keep the clean, dry, and with plenty of space and you will have a happy brooder.

While on the subject of space I wanted to let everyone know how I pasture my poultry.  I think people who hear the  words “pasture poultry” immediately think of 10×10 poultry tractors filled with 50-75 chickens each.  While I think this model works well for most people it isn’t the method I use.  I have 1 to 3 pasture coops, depending on # of chickens, that are 10×20 in size.  My chickens have a pasture that is 70′ x 162′ that can be rotated (or shifted) around to 3 different zones.  Basically I use electric net fencing and can move it by myself in fairly short order.  I have 0 issues with 4 legged predators, and my 2 Great Pyrenees patrol the perimeter of the chicken runs.  I have lost 1 chicken to a hawk in the last 4 months, and that hawk didn’t even get a meal.  The dogs came running and barking and the hawk took off.

Until next time..Happy Homesteading!!

Product Links to items we use on the farm

 

 

 

 

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