cannabalism and thunderstorms?


In the Brooder
8 Years
Aug 20, 2011
Hi! I have a flock of buff orphingtons (6) and new hampshire reds (down to 7 now), and 3 bantam roosters, they are all aprox 5 months old, and just starting to lay( 3 a day). 2 weeks ago I went into my coop and discovered the only bantam hen I had dead and pretty much eaten gone. one banty roo was pecked up something awful on his head, thought he might be blind, but after 2 weeks in porch/basement isolation he is finally healing up and his eyes are back open. he was my more aggressive roo, the other one has always been super docile. I assume that the banty hen and rooster got into it and everyone else just joined in from what Ive read about blood and chickens. nobody else was injured. I found a new home for one rooster- he was a silkie- didnt even know he was a rooster until 2 days before we rehomed him, he never showed any rooster-like behavior. Anyway at this point there were 14 girls and 1 docile rooster. other rooster is still away from everyone else. this morning I go out to let them out to free range (no fences just lots of yard) which I do daily and there is tons of feathers from a buff which I notice immediately, then I see her, one of my reds dead and half eaten in the corner of the coop. I am almost positive that nothing can get in the coop (which is dirt floor, very large.) The only thing I can link is that both nights before this happened we had thunderstorms-lightning-rain pass thru. I am just wondering if anybody else has encountered this ( are they just getting agitated and fighting to the death?!) and if there is anything that I can do to stop it from happening again. The coop has windows, which I plan on closing from now on when a storm is brewing overnight.. I am really getting upset by finding half eaten hens in my coop in the mornings. They all seem to get along just great the rest of the time, and they are all the same age. I got them as hatchlings early this spring.
thanks for any input! new to this, but I love these birds!
Well they say they will eat anything once it's down.

I don't have any roos and only 3 hens but out here in Nebraska we have had lots of thunderstorms over the summer and I have never seen any evidence of fighting.
Yeah, thats what I've read too. These birds are very well fed, so its not that they are hungry either. I have never had any evidence of feather plucking, I dont really think they are bored.. Just thinking it might be the storm thing. Or there is a rat getting in there thru the wire covered window. Might have to try some traps or something just to be on the safe side.
I'd be concerned that you might have a predator and that the deaths are only coincidental to the thunderstorms.
Mine huddle together for comfort during a thunderstorm. On another thread was some discussion about various predators making entry through a 4 in. hole. Were they confined for an unusual or extended period of time due to the storms?
No I just always put them up for the evening, and when we leave if we are not around to keep an eye on them since we have no fencing or anything. They had been out all that day. We did find a spot near the window that something could have squeezed thru- opossum or coon maybe? We live in a neighborhood but on the edge of woods so there are def. predators. Nailed it down better, so we will see. I went out to check them last night and they were huddled up on their row of nest boxes where they always are at night when they roost, never have seen them sleep on the roosting ladders in the coop, just always huddled up together. Maybe it was a predator and my rooster last time got injured trying to defend the little banty hen. As much as that chaps my hide, I would rather imagine that scenario rather than them ganging up and eating each other. ugh.
Update in case anyone is interested. Went thru the coop and nailed up boards over any and all cracks that we thought something could squeeze thru. Put injured rooster back in with the rest of the flock- all seem to be getting along fine out in the yard.. Went to let them out this morning and there was a young raccoon in my coop trying to get thru the window to get back out! Had to kill him. If it had killed a bird and gotten out I would have thought it was my innocent rooster! Luckily no one was killed or injured in the night. Thinking it got in thru the window- we have that 2x4ish type wire fence over the window, guess we are going to be putting up something tighter today. So now I know (more or less) what was going on. So glad that my chickens aren't cannibals, and I think the thunderstorm thing was just a fluke like someone above stated!
Thanks for the update. I was fairly certain that you were dealing with a predator. In this case it proved to be an unexperienced pred. The next might be worse. Many preds can easily get through 2 X 4" wire. I would recommend hardware cloth to cover your window. Glad you figured out what is causing the problem.
Glad you found the culprit. Put some 1/2" 19 gage hardware cloth over that window.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom