Sick Broilers

by Dearl
(Brownwood Texas USA)

Question:

Sick Broilers: I have 12 broilers and 17 Rhodes Island Reds and 4 Dominiques. All are about 10 weeks old. I feed them chick starter and broiler starter to the appropriate chicks.

They are watered and cared for each day and they free range as well as have a barn coop and pen large enough for them to stay in comfortably.

All are healthy or appear to be except I have one Cornish chick that has a blood red bottom with possibly even blood on it and on her wings as well. Also there are two other hens that have one spot that appears to show blood on one of their wings.

They act healthy and eat and get around fine but the blood troubles me of course. Is this a disease or is it maybe the other chicks pecking on these three for whatever reason?

What would cause the blood on their wings and on her bottom? Also the feathers have not developed completely on the one with the blood or they have come out possibly because they feathers are gone.

Answer:
No problem. These bloody areas are most likely caused by other chicks pecking on them. "Pecking Order" is a constant in flocks of any age. Pulling feathers and damaging skin is always possible.

I would suggest separating the bloody ones as they will be subject to continued harassment, which will slow their development and can lead to other health problems.

These bloody ones are generally the lowest ranking in a flock. If you notice blood on the beaks of some, these are the most dominant and aggressive.

Adding feeding stations may help, but allowing these injured ones to heal and live a more stress free life, protected from rough treatment, is vital for their survival.

At this point in their lives, losing blood, having to heal and grow new feathers is drawing away from vital resources they need to grow and develop normally.

Offering enrichment activities like places to climb, play, hide-out, roost and explore can help take the pressure off the lower ranking chicks. Chickens of all ages are territorial for space and nutrients.

Individuals being singled out and injured is a sign of over crowding, possible nutrient deficiencies or boredom.

Wounds on any flock members are a source of curiosity and an invitation for further injury. Applying antibiotic salve daily is a good idea until healing is complete.

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