Cannibalism frustrations.

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by lea2015, Dec 29, 2016.

  1. lea2015

    lea2015 Hatching

    Dec 29, 2016
    Hi. New chicken mom here. I have... had 9 pullets and 2 roosters, 6-7 months old. In the last month I've lost 4 to what I think is a combination of egg binding and cannibalism. The first three to go were all sussexs and it seemed like it started with bleeding from their vents. They were all laying little eggs but they were a lighter color then what my friends sussexs were laying. I noticed a couple eggs with blood on them the day of or the day before they were killed. I pulled them all out when I noticed the bleeding from the vent but they had all been pecked a bit and their feathers pulled from around that area by that time and all died once removed from the rest of the flock. Yesterday I came home late and found one of my reds dead and she had been heavily pecked I'm not sure if it was before or after death. But there was a bloody egg in the nesting boxes.
    I'm not sure what to do about this. They have a 10x 8 ft coop so I don't think it's overcrowded, although it has been exceptionally cold lately and they've been stuck inside. They are fed a mixture of layer rations, oats, wheat, and a little bit or corn and sunflower seeds and always have access to water. I do have a heat lamp on in there 24 hrs a day because it's been so cold but I'm gonna stop that as it's a bit warmer right now and I think that could be contributing to their aggression. It's also a bit humid in the coop, you can tell because the window will frost up on the inside when it's really cold. I also plan on getting rid of one of the roosters now that I only have 5 pullets, I currently have an astrolop and a silkie rooster and I'm keeping the silkie. I have suet for them to peck at and I'll put a squash or cabbage in for them every couple days.
    Is there anything I should be doing differently. I'm extremely sad and frustrated by these deaths.

  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockwit Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Firstly, welcome to BYC but sorry to hear about your issue.

    Do you confine the chickens in the coop, or is that their choice?
    Increasing ventilation and turning off the heat lamp would be a good idea (not necessarily in terms of preventing the unwanted behaviour) for their general well-being

    It could well be that you have one feather-pecker - the sooner you find the culprit, the better. If you do, then remove the bird from the flock immediately. Whether you wish to keep the bird is your choice. Unfortunately, once learned, displacement behaviours (the development of stereotypical behaviours as a result of not being able to partake in natural behaviours) such as feather pecking, can become habitual and breaking the learned behaviour is not easy.

    You are likely to get other views from members and thats fine. The most important thing to do is to sift through the information and then go with what you feel is the best way to deal with things.

    Good luck
  3. The Nutrition is way out of Balance....

    Try this......If they are all laying? Feed Layer pellets, granite grit and oyster shell in separate bowls......I mix Grower and Layer at 50/50 till my Birds are 1 year old...

    Chickens have very complex dietary needs...If the balance is not right the Birds do not thrive....Things begin to go wrong....
    Zero fillers, snacks/treats/scraps/veggies once a week at 5%, 1 Tablespoon per Bird.......

    Try that.....Your Birds will thank you....

    Best of luck..

  4. lea2015

    lea2015 Hatching

    Dec 29, 2016

    They were confined to the coop for about a week as it was -30 Celsius. Now that its a bit warmer they can go out the chicken door is open all day but they don't go out much
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2016

  5. MasterOfClucker

    MasterOfClucker Songster

    Jul 19, 2016
    Your Rooster to hen ratio is way off.Should be 1 Roo to 12 hens.Heat lamps on 24/7 will cause fighting and stress.

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