I was on the road last week. It was week 3 for the chicks. My husband was in charged of the new chick care while I was gone. He did well in my absence…none died.
I came home to find that last week my new chicks had made great strides in not only growing larger, feathering out, but they began to start showing which sex they likely were. I could see many large combs with pink showing. Looking under their beak you could see signs of waddles developing. I was began to start pronouncing certain birds males. They had reached a new level of maturity, it was time for them to make a move to new digs.
I set up space in the shed outdoors for the baby chicks. It had twice the floor space they had had the week before with multiple heat lamps and feeders. I have been watching them as them made the adjustment to the space. They went from “fraidy cats” who traveled in groups to brave birds who explored all corners of their world alone. One would think with the double space I had bought a little time that the trouble with young roosters with raging hormones would cause. Instead almost immediately we started to see posturing of male chickens challenging each other. The new roosters were standing tall and dancing around each other. Today my little roosters have started to grab my new little laying hens by the neck and making mating overtures. Soon today one of my hens had a head with no feathers.
Chickens can become quite cannibal when they peck each other if blood is drawn. I had to take action to stop all of this. We did not have the time or things on hand to remedy this. I ordered a second dog exercise pen today, that will be delivered tomorrow. Tomorrow I will once again double the floor space for my new chickens with the roosters in one and the hens in another. Once I ordered I was wondering if this would blow over. Tonight I got confirmation I had “done right” when one of my full-sized birds “jumped the fence” and went into the baby chicks pen. My little roosters repeatedly challenged her. I wish I had had my camera to capture all this. Imagine a three-week-old rooster challenging an adult bird. Testosterone gone wild.