Cannibalism--3 Now and I Don't Know What To Do!

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by chicksgalore, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. chicksgalore

    chicksgalore Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 19, 2008
    I had a hen (EE) that was getting pecked and she was raw--down through the flesh on her back end about a week or so ago. I took out who seemed to be the ringleader (a BR) but the others kept at her then which at that point I guess any of them would've, so I moved her (EE) into a dog kennel to be by herself. She's healing up pretty well but not ready yet to be put back in with the others--I'm afraid with so many feathers missing, they'll just start back over.

    So, tonight, I went out and two other hens (Australorp and another EE) were getting pecked in identical spots on their backs. They were starting to get red but weren't to the flesh yet and guess who was at them--the BR ringleader. So, I took her out and loaded the injured girls up with a vaseline-like yellow salve. But then the others started after them and pecked off the salve and kept going. I took the 2 girls out and put them in a coop by themselves, but the Australorp escaped and went back to her "friends". I didn't know what to do--the only relief in sight was that it was starting to get dark so they would soon be heading to bed. So, I have to figure something out by morning.

    I thought I'd get rid of the ringleader BR but now that the others have a taste for it, are they all going to do it--even if I give the injureds a chance to heal up before I put them all back together?

    And that's the other dilemma--I don't have places to keep 3 separate hens in solitude and I can't even keep those 3 together or they'll eat each other won't they?! [​IMG]
     
  2. BaronRenfrew

    BaronRenfrew Chillin' With My Peeps

  3. dave_Cash69

    dave_Cash69 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 15, 2009
    kaintucky
    sometimes cannibalisim doesnt stop until you get rid of all of those effected.
    its difficult, i know, but sometimes it is for the better.
     
  4. chicksgalore

    chicksgalore Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 19, 2008
    These chickens have a huge area to roam in so I can't think it would be boredom and I don't know much about protein. They have access to a layer pellet which they don't seem to like and I scatter wheat for them every day. I think I will look into clipping beaks and I will check out the sites you listed. Thanks!
     
  5. mtnhomechick

    mtnhomechick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2008
    Mountain Home, AR
    I had about 5 that started a mini molt a month or so ago. I put them in a separate coop and run together and they didn't peck eachother. Could you put them all together in the dog run?

    Try throwing them some dried cat food for protein. Hang a head of cabbage for them to peck/play with.

    I think it will pass if you keep the bloody ones separate. Good Luck........I know it's frustrating but by summer they will be fine and not pecking eachother. [​IMG]
     
  6. rufus

    rufus Overrun With Chickens

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    May 17, 2007
    How many chickens do you have in how big of a run? Sometimes it is a question of crowding.

    Also, I have found that the hens eat the laying pellets last. It is the least favored food. Vary the diet. Give them scratch feed and laying crumbles.

    Lots of greens will help. You will be suprised the amount and variety of vegetation chickens will consume.

    We used to keep our chickens separated by breed and age group. Mixing them just seemed to cause problems. But then again, we had unlimited space and lots of chicken yards.

    Good luck,

    Rufus
     
  7. BaronRenfrew

    BaronRenfrew Chillin' With My Peeps

    Another idea is to provide some discomfort to the birds. If you move them to a new pen, this throws them off for a week or two until they settle in. It works for pheasants: the males can be aggressive so if you move the male to a different pen he will behave for a few weeks until he gets aggressive again.

    Putting them in a dog pen might be enough of a change for them to stop the behaviour. If they don't like the feed this could be one issue. The local feed dealer I bought from sourced his feed from whoever was cheapest so that the feed changed every so often and the birds preferred some feed over others. Buy a different bag from a different place (and mix the old stuff in, no sense in it going to waste) and that might make them happy.
     
  8. mtnhomechick

    mtnhomechick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2008
    Mountain Home, AR
    I'm fortunate to have an extra coop and run ( for now ). Another suggestion would be to keep the bloody ones together in the run during daylight hours and have the others free ranging outside the run. You could make up a simple nesting box for outside the run for a few days. Let the cannibals back in after sunset.

    Oyster shell is another good one. But dry cat food gives them protein and they might be needing that.

    Once mine feathered back the cannabalism stopped.

    Please keep us updated on this.
     
  9. chicksgalore

    chicksgalore Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are 14 in this batch and they have a huge area to roam. They were all raised together (I have another batch of 37 older ones in another fence in another area).

    The cabbage thing is a good idea--I saw Giant even had them on sale this week.

    So, I might move the 3 injureds to one of the coops my other batch uses. Those chickens are free to go in and out as they wish but I'll keep the one coop closed up with the 3 injured. That will crowd the others a bit more at night and confine them to 2 nest boxes though--is that okay? The dog kennel is too small for 3 hens.

    Do they have to molt to grow new feathers? I thought the one that got pecked a week ago looked like she was starting to grow some back already. They're only about 7 months old so haven't been laying long.

    Now for the BR ringleader, should I send her down the road since I suspect she's the one that got them to the state where the others pecked them or trim her beak? Which would be more effective?
     
  10. mtnhomechick

    mtnhomechick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 27, 2008
    Mountain Home, AR
    Quote:I would separate them first as you said. They don't seem to take long to do the mini molt thing at that young age. Might be a week or so.

    If they don't like the cabbage ( mine did ) find some other veg you can hang and keep them entertained.

    I wouldn't get rid of any yet. Gee......I hope it works for you. I was flying by the seat of my pants on that issue and had to find my way.

    Good Luck.

    Mary
     

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