3 month old chickens pecked the intestines out of larger chickens? =(

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by Sunshyne276, Jul 15, 2010.

  1. Sunshyne276

    Sunshyne276 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 10, 2010
    Richlands, Virginia
    I have been concerned about the behavior of a couple of my young chickens.
    I've had them since they were a couple days old..
    They are gentle, sweet and I don't understand the behavior i'm about to tell you about...

    I was on vacation a couple weeks ago, and I was told that they killed/attempted to kill 3 others.
    They were caged with 3 bigger pullets, 5 months old, approx.
    From what I was told, they pecked at the vents, and pulled the intestines out of the others?!
    The thought of it, I just couldn't imagine!!

    What would cause something like that?
    Has anyone heard of such a thing?

    I'm now nervous about putting them with the others.
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Hmm, that's very strange. I've got lots of questions:

    1. Did they peck the insides out of the vents of more than once chicken?
    2. Are those chickens that were pecked still alive?
    3. Are your chickens outside? The reason why I ask this is because they may have been attacked by some other predator and the younger chickens pecked them after they were already injured.....
     
  3. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

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    If it was just one hen, she likely prolapsed, and a prolapse is mighty inviting to peck at for other chickens.

    How large is this "cage" they are all in?
     
  4. karl E lutz

    karl E lutz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 29, 2010
    Ive had chickens do the same thing. At first I thought it was a weasle until I noticed a blood spot on ones vent and then it was dead and the others were pecking her clean taking all of her guts out.My chickens also peck each others feathers off and eat them. They are real cannibals.
     
  5. mikecar007

    mikecar007 Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm not sure if this is related or not, I had to work late tonight and came home to find my biggest, meanest, most protective and mother hen dead. Her intestines were pulled out of her and laying about a foot away. She was dead and there was no blood anywhere. The other chickens seem fine. I have seen a skunk in the neighborhood for the last few weeks. they are in an enclosed run but the skunk has been working it's way into the fence of my normal yard, I have a separate enclosed run for the hens. Does this sound like the skunk was the culprit, weasel or the other chickens? This makes no sense they were all happy and fine when I left this morning. The sun sets at around 830 and I have an auto door that closes at 9, I started seeing the skunk at 730 at the neighbors house. Any ideas? My only issue is there are two skunks hanging around, the one I see on a normal basis is jet black with only white behind the ears and the very tip of the tail. The one I saw tonight was your classic striped skunk - I was very tempted as I still had my sidearm though chose not to tonight. They have been coming in my yard at night - I have a beagle who is sure to inform me - and the classic holes in my yard when they are looking for grubs. Does this sound like the work of a skunk, sorry for the rambling.
     
  6. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    If they are low on protein chickens will attack each other, some more than others. this past year I have had the worse case of it with 3-4 month olds. I kept losing babies to killing each other. I had changed feeds to SunFresh, and they started this behavior. Shortly after I changed them back to their reg feed most were fine. i still had one Andalusion cockerel that continued, so I kicked him out to free range. Now all seems well.
     
  7. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

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    Woodville, MS
    Cannibalism is quite common in caged chickens, virtually unheard of in free ranging chickens. Too many birds, in too small an environment, with nothing to do, will literally eat one another alive - from the vent in. Sometimes more protein will help but most often, once the behavior has started, it will not stop. If you can let them out to free range you would probably see an overnight improvement in their behavior. Or, if you can provide more things for them to do to wear themselves out and stay occupied - like a pile of leaves to have to scratch through to find their food - simulating what chickens would naturally be doing if they weren't cooped up. Eliminate the feeders and throw the food all over the ground, preferably slightly buried under leaves or hay.

    I know, I know, others will say that putting the food on the ground causes all sorts of things but I have hundreds of birds, all freerange from one week old, all ages and breeds living together along with ducks, geese, guineas and peacocks (not to mention goats and dogs and cats) and I don't use chicken feeders. I scatter food on the ground and they scratch and find it just like they scratch and find food in the woods. I've never wormed them, we have an all organic farm, and I don't vaccinate or use any sort of medications and my birds are never sick and never fight or practice cannibalism.
     
  8. Germaine_11.20

    Germaine_11.20 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2009
    Idaho
    Quote:Hi Ruth,

    I never worry about throwing the feed on the ground either. I find it keeps them busy and happy. I can put some in their feeders but if I toss it on the ground they want that first. Mine never get sick either.

    How do you keep your breeds pure though and not have mixed breeds if they are all free range?

    I have some penned and some (ones I am going to cull) free range and the ones who free range just never fight. The caged one will get snippy at each other.
     
  9. turtlebird

    turtlebird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 11, 2009
    Quote:I haven't had any experience with skunks, but it would make sense that the most protective of the flock would fall victim to a predator.
    This is an interesting, very helpful thread. It makes sense that caged, or slightly crowded birds would behave this way. I had problems with feather eating and pecking. Goofed around with adjusting protein/feeds and finally sat down to do the math and figured out that I had a couple too many birds for my space. A mistake I won't make again, chicken math or no!
    So....make sure there is enough space and encourage natural behavior whenever possible. Whew! Thanks everyone.
     
  10. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

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    Woodville, MS
    Quote:Hi Ruth,

    I never worry about throwing the feed on the ground either. I find it keeps them busy and happy. I can put some in their feeders but if I toss it on the ground they want that first. Mine never get sick either.

    How do you keep your breeds pure though and not have mixed breeds if they are all free range?

    I have some penned and some (ones I am going to cull) free range and the ones who free range just never fight. The caged one will get snippy at each other.

    I put those I'm breeding in pens but I'll only put one roo to a dozen hens or a couple of roos to a whole bunch of hens. I only keep them penned for a few months then release them and use the pens for another breed. They have plenty of room in their pens and again, I don't use feeders. I go out at least three times a day and toss feed on the ground into the pen so everyone scatters and eats. I also throw all of our scraps to the caged birds since they can't free range. The other 200+ free range and all get along just fine. I use their eggs for hatching "mixed breeds" and for selling as eating eggs. Which, by the way, an egg from a free range bird tastes so much better than that from a caged bird and the yolk is orange.
     

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