Chicken Murder

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MJS, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. MJS

    MJS Out Of The Brooder

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    If anyone has had a chicken murdered by other chickens, I'm curious to know what their behavior was after killing it. One of my chicks was killed, and I'm not 100% sure it was the hens that did it, although I know they can be mean. I didn't see it happen.

    I let my chickens out to roam the yard most evenings at around 7:00. Because we are afraid of predators, we let them out at that time to give them a chance to enjoy the yard, and they head home to the coop at around 8:30 or so. I had two chicks, around 8weeks old, that stay in the laundry room because they aren't totally accepted, and aren't part of the flock. I let them out as well. When they are out in the yard, everything is fine. When it gets dark, those two would get back into their carrier, and I take them back inside.

    This evening I did the usual routine, but went inside for about 5 minutes. I heard a terrible commotion, and ran outside. The rooster was making a racket, and several of the hens were, too. They were all on the outside of the run. All chicks and chickens were accounted for, except for the two laundry room chicks. Then, I spied one of the laundry room chicks lying under the chicken coop, twitching. She was totally dead. Her neck had a big wound in it. There were no other wounds. None of the chickens were pecking on her, or were anywhere near her. Her friend was nowhere to be seen - she's the faster of the two, so must have outrun the murderer. Another puzzling thing is that, although I do let them out in the run, after taking dust baths and pecking around for a while, they go out to roam the yard, and don't return to the run unless all the others have gone to bed, and it's getting dark, and they are returning to their cage. So something chased her in there, I think.

    My question is this: When hens murder another chicken, do they then leave it, and join the flock and start making a racket? The neighbors' chihuahua was out in the yard at the time, but nowhere near the coop when I got out there. If she killed the chick, I would think the rooster and all the hens would have chased her away. They were just all excited and making a lot of noise. It happened very fast! I'm trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Neither the chickens, nor the chihuahua, had blood on their beaks or mouth.

    Any ideas? (oh, gosh, I'm going to miss that little chick!)

    - Marty
     
  2. Darklingstorm

    Darklingstorm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've been lucky not have any experience with a chicken killing a chicken, but from what I've been reading here that doesn't sound like a chicken killing another. Sounds like something else got in there and you probably scared it away when you opened the door. A cat or other predator, don't think it was the dog either. The dog knows you to some extend and there for probably isn't afraid enough of you to just drop and run.

    Did you see any tracks? Smell anything (skunk?)
     
  3. MJS

    MJS Out Of The Brooder

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    May 27, 2010
    While digging the hole for her grave, my husband saw a family of raccoons in the back of the neighbor's yard. I've never seen them in our yard, and wonder if they would enter the chicken run in broad daylight. The door to the run isn't very big. If it happened out in the yard, or she just disappeared, I'd suspect them. I think the dog would run away when she realized she was going to get into trouble. She was chasing the other chicks this evening, but the mother scared her away from them. She didn't seem real serious about it. But, with me not there to stop her, and the chicken running, and her having fun . . . . I wouldn't put it past her. I think something chased her into the run, where she might have run for safety. Her cage was in there, but the door was shut - I didn't shut it, so I think they were running around in there and knocked it shut.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    I suspect the dog. Sorry for your loss.
     
  5. MJS

    MJS Out Of The Brooder

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    May 27, 2010
    After sleeping on it, I have decided that the hens are innocent of this crime! I suspect the raccoon, but am not sure how it did it. The hens were not hiding - just screeching. We will be more vigilante than before, now that we know there are raccoons. We can never forget to secure the coop at night. The chihuahua is not above suspicion, however! She won't be left alone with the chicks again. (The remaining chick is lonely this morning without her friend. Poor thing.)
     

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