Chicken attack- Could a hen have killed a pullet? Please help.

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by One Chick Two, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. One Chick Two

    One Chick Two Songster

    Jun 13, 2013

    Yesterday afternoon around 2 pm, I was taking the flock treats (88 P RIR plus 4 of other breeds) and for some supervised freeranging time, and discovered one of our 18 week old pullets, Henny, alone and lying dead upon the ground. (Henny is the pullet on the right seeming to be having a good time.)

    She was just outside of a fenced chicken run near the back of our large chicken garden area… not the easiest place to scan quickly by eye. The back of her neck spine in a 1" area had been severed- seemingly gauged, but blood was minimal- no blood on the ground, just her neck. No other injuries, except I did see a handful of feathers lying to the left nearby, and a few tail feathers were there too- but none where she was laying.

    It's likely she'd broken away from the flock hours before, while my DH was supervising freeranging time. At noon, I'd been back to that area to make sure no one had accidentally been left behind. She'd obviously returned back to the area after I'd checked.

    Now, here's the strange part of the story: Hubby had been working on the henhouse roof a good portion of the afternoon, and heard two hens/ pullets fighting, glanced over and saw two of the girls near that spot during the possible time frame (he thought they were inside the garden area) jumping up and fighting. Some of our hens/ pullets have tiffs occasionally, but, to this point, no one had been hurt,- other than a few neck feathers being pulled out. We try to let them work out their own pecking order issues.

    Don't know what to think. Could this actually have been the handiwork of one of the hens? (My husband said for sure that it was two of the females that he'd seen fighting.) All of our chickens (including the roos) are normally very tame and friendly, so this scenario does seem unlikely to me. As I picked up the dead chicken by her feet, many of the other chickens were trying to jump up to peck at her body.

    Ironically, 4 months ago, one of pullets who was around the same age then was killed in the exact same spot, by a raven. I saw the raven drop from the sky onto the pullet's neck, making a similar wound to this girl as I ran to them. She'd passed away in my hands.

    We did have multiple raven sightings near the coop yesterday, but none were spotted in this area. Do you think the hen did it? We are in No. Ca.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2013

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    More likely, the hen was seriously injured by something else, and the other hen attacked her because of the wound.

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