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8 Week Old Chick Dead - Killed by Mature Flock

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by djtaylor22, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. djtaylor22

    djtaylor22 Hatching

    Oct 29, 2012
    I have three 8 week old chicks that have been in a large cage (along with the mother) inside the coop for three weeks now so that the rest of my flock could get accustomed to the new arrivals (I have 11 grown hens and 1 rooster). So this morning I decided that at 8 weeks of age and 3 weeks of being around the other chicks it was time to open the cage to get everyone acclimated. I had some Christmas shopping to finish up so I left home and didn't think much more about it. Well, when I came home this afternoon after being gone all day I found one of the chicks dead. It had been attacked at the neck and apparently pecked to death. The other two chicks thankfully were fine. No predator could have gotten into the coop so it had to be one (or more) of my own. My question is, was the dead chick possibly a rooster and my rooster killed it because it knew what it was? And were my other two spared because they are hens? All of the literature I have read said that at 6 weeks the chicks are old enough to move in with the rest of the flock. Mine were two weeks older when I tried to "make them one happy family". Any help would be appreciated. I don't want to lose any more chicks...


  2. seminolewind

    seminolewind Flock Mistress Premium Member

    Sep 6, 2007
    spring hill, florida
    I don't know but that sounds like an interesting reason. Chickens can be so mean to eachother. [​IMG]
  3. PAchickengirl

    PAchickengirl Chirping

    Oct 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    I thought I read somewhere to introduce them in the evening or at night ??
  4. RWise

    RWise Songster

    Dec 25, 2012
    Oakhurst Oklahoma
    When I brought home 4 pullets, black Austrolorps, my Buff Orpington roo inspected them (looked at each ones bumm) then started cackling to them "here it is girls"! He was not so nice to another that turns out to be male, I had to move him (the BO) to another area, I think he would have killed it. (BO has since been culled)
  5. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    No. Any rooster will be indifferent to any chick as a potential rival or mate until it reaches sexual maturity. So don't pin the blame on the rooster.

    Does your pen have places where a chick can run for cover where adults would find it hard to get to them? Does the pen have dead ends and corners where a chick would be trapped where they couldn't escape being chased?

    What normally happens when young fry get turned loose into the adult population is they get chased and pecked. If a chick can't escape, the pecking can be repetitive and can result in bleeding wounds. That will lead to cannibalism. That's the nature of chickens. Often the hens are more brutal than roosters.

    What needs to happen when you integrate much smaller/younger chicks is to provide them with "cover". It can be as simple as a tree branch with leaves still attached tossed into the pen so the chicks can hide under cover when chased. What I use is a "panic room". It's a smaller pen inside the main pen with small pop holes only the chicks are able to fit through. Chicks are very fast at out-running bullies, but they need safety to retreat to. They also need to be able to eat and drink without being constantly bullied, which would happen if they had to use only the adult feeders and water.

    I also carefully provide additional pop holes in any fences where small fry could get boxed in and trapped by bullies. This is when injuries occur. I've had very good luck integrating five and six-week olds with the panic room method.

    I have only had one casualty when a chick stuck her head through the much-too-large mesh of her panic room and got scalped. I've since been careful to line it with smaller mesh material so this tragedy won't happen again. (Yes, she survived and is now one of my best layers.)

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