Chicken CSI

NIdaho

Hatching
6 Years
Apr 20, 2013
2
0
7
I have a free range flock of about 10 birds. I had a bantam that was missing for a couple of days. I found her dead and buried under a mix of wood shavings and dried manure on the floor of the chicken coop. I suspected fowl play as there had been a cranky broody hen sitting on eggs for about two weeks in that corner of the coop. I would guess the bantam got too close and was attacked by the nesting hen. I discovered all this when I noticed that the broody hen had moved to a different clutch of eggs and that there were no eggs where she had been previously. I sifted through the wood shavings and manure where her nest had been and found the eggs buried along with the bantam (grizzly discovery!). I checked the abandoned eggs and none of them had developing chicks (we do have a rooster). Either the hen was trying to cover up the crime or some natural instinct was involved. Anyone ever run into something like this?
 

shelbydog

Songster
7 Years
Dec 30, 2012
1,052
109
153
Bristow, ok
A turkey hen died of unknown reason in the chicken house and we found her in the corner covered in litter. I think it goes with the instinct to get rid of the sick/weak. They can't physically remove a carcass so they cover it to 'make it go away'. And was not just a coincidence of scratching in dirt or else all the corners should have piles of litter and ours were not given the incentive to scratch in the litter as they were never fed inside. This is my opinion on how this flock was observed.
 
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donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
4,057
581
Southern Oregon
I'm not sure the carcass was "buried" on purpose. When hens lay outside a nest box in my coop, the egg frequently gets covered over by shavings just from the birds naturally scratching through them. I've had 2x4s lost this way, once lost track of a plate I'd used to feed them scraps cause it got buried. I think burial as corpse disposal is pretty much beyond a chicken's cognitive ability.
 

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