Stress can be very bad for chickens, especially the young chicks that are still unfamiliar with the environment around them. There are lot more causes for stress in young chicks than in chickens, and there are some things that cause stress both in young chicks and older chickens. For this article we will focus on the things that cause the most stress in young chicks in order to help you deal with them properly and in time.
Why Does Noise Cause Stress In Young Chicks
Loud and/or sudden noise causes stress in your chicks especially when they are one week old. If the chicks have not yet adapted to their environment sudden noise may scare them a lot and that causes stress. Sudden stress can also cause some of their internal organs to stop working properly. Their organs are in a stage of development due to their age and even stress can kill them – literally.
You Not Making Noise Might Not Be Enough
Make sure that there are no loud children and that your barking dog is far away from your young chicks. Loud traffic also can scare young chicks a lot especially sudden honking. Preventing can be very easy if you build your own movable brooder in which you can transfer your chicks around the coop and the run without too much problems.
2. There Is Something As TOO MUCH LIGHT!
How Does Too Much Light Cause Stress In Young Chicks
Well direct and strong light can cause stress in your chicks on that level that they will start feather pecking and fight each other. This happens in most cases with electrical lighting in the brooder, like heat lamps and similar devices.
How Can You Prevent Too Much Light-Caused Stress In Your Chicks
Do not use heat lamps to keep your chicks warm, there are a variety of safer options to do that. During hot summer days make sure that there is both sunlight and shade available for your chicks, and that they can move freely from one to another.
3. Chicks Don`t Like Overcrowded Spaces
How Does Lack Of Space Affect The Stress Level Of Young Chicks
If you want to have a happy and healthy flock of chicks the space required is 7 square inches per chick. Less than that will not provide the space required for the chicks to move as much as they need. If the chicks don`t move enough they will not waste enough energy and that can stress them a whole lot.
Providing Enough Space Can Be Easy & Simple
What the easiest way to make sure that you have provided enough space for your chicks is plan ahead. If you built them a brooder or if you are keeping them in the coop separated from the other older chickens they will still need the space so just always leave room for more than the planned number of chicks.
4. An Injured Chick Can Cause Stress To The Rest Of The Flock
Even young chicks communicate with each other especially if they are together from the earliest stages of their life. If an injured chicken makes unpleasant noises and the flock is around two things are about to happen – the chicks will peck at the injured chick and they will start making unpleasant noises – which will lead to a lot of blood and feathers.
How To Prevent This From Happening
As you will do with every injured chick – the best thing you can do is separate it from the flock then do a thorough exam to the chick therefore you will know how big the injury is but your injured chick will not be pecked at.
5. Lack of Nutritional Materials In The Diet Stresses Out Young Chicks
Improper Feeding Happens Every Once And Awhile
But still some may say that this happens mostly to novice chicken keepers due to their lack of experience, even though this happens to everyone from time to time. Many chicken keepers don`t recognize some small symptom of an illness or nutritional deficiency out of the habit of checking up healthy chicks and therefore the chick will not be provided with the required materials and be stressed.
How To Make Sure That Your Chicks Are Properly Fed
Monitor and exam your chicks thoroughly and limit the treats. You can overfeed your chicks, that is very bad for their health. Always strive to give them highly nutritional treats in order to give them a vitamin boost.
6. If Ordering Your Chicks Their Trip Can Be Stressful
If They Travel A Long Distance
They will most likely travel in a box with a few holes for air circulation but they will be mostly covered in dark. But chicks need light and the bigger the travel time the bigger the chances are you will get a stressful batch of chicks.
Making Sure That Your Chicks Are Having Safe Travel Can Help You A Lot In The Process Of Chicken Keeping
It is most likely your first flock of chicks or you have the habit of keeping older chickens therefore getting a stressed flock of chicks can be a problem. But this can be a problem to anyone so the best thing to do is get the chicks from somewhere in your near environment or just hatch your own.
7. Overheating Your Chicks – But Not In The Tasty Way
How Can Heat Stress Out Chicks
Well, again as we said above artificial lighting is bad for your chicks but also artificial heating is bad for your chicks in many ways. Maintaining the same temperature without changing it may overheat your brooder and your chicks and electronic devices and chicks/chickens don`t mix.
How Can You Prevent Overheating
Remove the need of using electronic materials in order to keep your chicks warm. You can provide natural light and heating to your chicks by building your own movable brooder. Getting your chicks outside during the day may be helpful but in the beginning keep them separated from the older chickens.
8. There Is A Possibility Of Some Chicks Pecking At Themselves
Some Chicks Pick At Themselves Due To Mites
Lice and mites are one of the reasons a chick will peck itself due the itching and stress it causes. If this is not treated in time, you may remove the lice and clean your self-pecking chick but it will continue to peck itself.
How To Break A Self-Pecking Chick
Put a “t-shirt” on the self-pecker in order to reduce the damage it causes itself. You can also improvise a cone like the ones that are put on dogs that are chasing their tails and biting themselves by using a plastic cup and cutting it so that it fits on the chicks neck.
9. Boredom Stresses Young Chicks
This Is One Of Those Stress Causes That Are The Same With Older Chickens
When chick/chickens are bored they tend to peck and bully each other. But you need to know that if you see them sitting calm and quiet it doesn’t mean that they bored but that they simply enjoy the environment around them. Bored chicks/chickens are violent.
Preventing Can Be Easy Because Chicks Are Easily Entertained
Boredom busters are easy to make when chickens in general come to mind. Improvising a variety of nutritious materials in the form of a treat that is unusual but also tasty. Toys for your chicks are the best boredom busters EVER!
10. The Last But Not Least – IMPROPER HYGIENE LEADS TO STRESS
Not Providing The Proper Means For Hygiene The Chicks Are Exposed To Many Threats
Improper hygiene can lead to all of the symptoms above so keeping your chicks clean means keeping your chicks healthy. A dirty chick will peck itself, they can overheat , dirt the other chicks etc. Therefore keeping your chicks clean can save you a lot of trouble and time.
Keeping Your Chicks Clean Is Not Hard Because They Have Instincts To Do It Themselves
Provide a place for dust baths for your chicks and they will instinctively dust bathe. Provide them fresh hay or whatever they sleep on regularly. If the weather conditions allow them – weekly water baths are recommended.
How do you take care of your stressed out chicks? Share your opinions in the comments below or via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org