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Chickens killing chickens??

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by silkie-mom, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. silkie-mom

    silkie-mom Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 25, 2008
    South central Virginia
    I have a dozen 7 week old silkies. Use to have 13, but the other day I came home and found one dead (rooster) and another one (hen) laying outside in the rain wounded and dying. The roo was in the corner of the building with the side of his neck ripped open. The others were all sitting on him. The hen has a small hole on each side of her head near each ear (not bad enough to be fatal) and an approx. 2 inch tear on her back where her right wing connects to the body. There was no blood at this wound, but man it looked horrible as I could see the "inner workings" of everything there. She is still alive and is at the vet's being cared for. The vet said the wounds appear to have been made by another chicken. She will likely recover, but may be real gimpy later.
    I went all over my well fortified enclosure for any signs of entry by a predator and found nothing. Nothing inside appears to have been disturbed by a ruckus/struggle, and there were really no feathers strewn around.
    This was during the day that this happened.
    I have one rooster that appears to have matured lots faster than the others. These are 7 weeks old, and he does not have spurs yet. However, I removed him and am keeping him apart just to not take any chances that he did this.
    Is it possible that he went nuts and did this? I emailed the hatchery where I got them and they said a 7 week old roo won't do this, as they aren't really old enough to be aggressive enough yet. I have never seen him be mean to the others, but he is a bit "pushy" and is obviously head bird. He's a bit larger too.
    The others are happily remaining in the coop, while he is in a dog crate in my utility room, and the injured hen is at the vet. No other problems have come about since he has been removed.
    Has anyone ever heard of this happening with young birds?
    I will find him another home, but hate to get rid of him if I am wrong.
    The only possiblity may be a rat or snake, and it doesn't sound as if they do this type of damage. The dead roo was not eaten. It just looks like he may have bled to death after the neck wound.
     
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Chickens huddle like that and pile on when there has been a stressful fright and attack. I would say you had a predator.

    7 week olds do not behave like that in my experience. Silkies especially are not that kind of aggressive from my breif experience raising them.
     
  3. carwinew

    carwinew Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 24, 2008
    We had chicks in a big water trough in the garage with a chicken wire cover to keep them in the trough. No predator access. Assorted Australorps, Rhode Island Reds and Ameracaunas.
    Got them on 8 March when they were 1 day old. Found the runt dead 22 April w/o marks on her but missing some feathers. Found 3 dead on 25 May looked trampled, missing lots of feathers on their lower bodies with some puncture wounds, one missing some skin and flesh. Had to have been killed by the others as the cover was still in place. They were 11 weeks old at the time.
     
  4. silkie-mom

    silkie-mom Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 25, 2008
    South central Virginia
    How many were in there?
    Had any problems since then?
     
  5. carwinew

    carwinew Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 24, 2008
    Had to go look in my log. There were 20 in the trough to start with. DH says it's a 110 gallon trough ( about 30" wide and 7' long) Lost one more in June, same kind of trampled/mangled/plucked condition but the family was gone for a weekend and we're not sure that they got fed on schedule by the neighbor - cannabalism or boredom. Ended up with 15 before they got moved out and didn't have another loss.
     
  6. monarc23

    monarc23 Coturnix Obsessed

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    Jul 18, 2008
    Indiana, Pennsylvania
    Just a thought....when i used to have a bunch of chicikens in a fully enclosed chicken coop a pair of redtailed hawks, waited until my big leghorn hen was naer the wire...swooped down and gouged into her side, so bad she bled to death within seconds it was horrible... all it took was one tallon poking through the wire...
     
  7. silkie-mom

    silkie-mom Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 25, 2008
    South central Virginia
    I talked to the vet, and the hen is doing a tad better. She's beginning to protest her treatment, so that's a good sign.
    It had to either been chicken-on-chicken or a rat.....what type of damage do rats do?
    I was thinking about it, and realized it was the first day that they were out in their enclosed run and my dogs were not in the yard. The dogs are constantly near the coop annoying them......so if it were to be a predator/rat that would have been a good time for the strike.

    What about voles/moles? I know I have voles tunneling under the yard at times.
     
  8. monarc23

    monarc23 Coturnix Obsessed

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    Indiana, Pennsylvania
    Quote:not trying to sound rude or anything but what makes you think it couldnt be a hawk? voles and moles..nah...moles are ground dwellers and eat worms and can barely see, voles, they're more of your seed stealers.

    when a hawk pretty much misses a bird, but still makes a tallon connection there'll just be small wound holes like discribed.

    rats would take chunks out of a bird, big chunks.
     
  9. silkie-mom

    silkie-mom Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 25, 2008
    South central Virginia
    My coop(building) is inside of a chainlink pen, which is wrapped completely twice with poultry netting. The top is covered with a panel also.
    I guess it's possible if a chicken was pressed up against the wire.

    They mainly hang out in the doorway of the building most of the time, and have learned not to go near the walls of the pen because my dogs lay there and bother them when they are outside.
     
  10. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

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    Waterloo, Nebraska
    Quote:I think that may be a bit small for 20 7 week olds. That is less than 1 square foot per bird. That space would work as a brooder when they are younger, but they are teenagers now. My silkie roosters are about 5 1/2 months old now, and show no signs of aggression yet. They have a large area to roam, but they usually stay together. So far, they get along.
     

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