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chickens killing each other

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by raehersh, May 28, 2016.

  1. raehersh

    raehersh Just Hatched

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    May 23, 2016
    I have 6 chicks roughly 2-3 m old. I came out yesterday to find one dead while the others were pecking at a wound on her behind. I had checked on them a few hours prior and they were all fine. Turns out her neck had been broken some how.
    So today I put them all back outside in the run. I come outside a few hours after and one was pecking at another one's behind where I noticed a wound. I immediately removed the injured chick and isolated her to prevent anything more.
    I am convinced that the other one was killed by her flock and it started with one chick. As I was temoving them individually from the run I noticed the pecker was eating feathers off the ground.
    I need some advice on how to deal with this possible cannibal chicken. I don't want to lose any more. Do I have to euthanize her or can she be made to stop?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Describe everything your chicks eat. Protein % of their feed. What percentage of the diet it makes up? Amount of scratch grains and scraps/treats, what kinds of treats and how much of the diet that makes up.
    What are the dimensions of their housing?
    Cannibalism can be common with chickens given the right conditions.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2016
  3. raehersh

    raehersh Just Hatched

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    May 23, 2016
    They are on a starter feed plus I give them cracked corn when they are outside (so they have something to pick at the ground for). They are inside the house at night in a descent sized hutch with a perch. Now that it's warm i put them outside in a large dog pen. We already have a flock so I am trying to get them used to each other before I let them roam together. The "boss" hen has already proved her distaste for the babies so I don't want to rush it.
    I have done nothing different with our first flock and the new one.
     
  4. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Separate the feather pecker (out of sight of the others) and hopefully she will go down in the pecking order. Leave her separated at least 4 days (and might have to separate her longer). Spray any wounds on birds with Blu Kote.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. raehersh

    raehersh Just Hatched

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    May 23, 2016
    Thank you... I hope it works.
     
  6. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    I'd also cut out the corn for a while to up their protein - keeping them on starter.
    Get a can of mackerel and feed a bit of that every day or two.

    I had a bad case of cannibalism a few years ago with birds about the same age. They were outside in a large coop at night and large forage area during the day.
    I went out one morning and one was dead and all the meat had been eaten off the back. I thought I had a rat problem.
    The next morning - another partially eaten.
    That night I went out after dusk looked in and 2 or 3 chickens were picking feathers and eating another's back. I saved that bird and another they had started on.

    This followed when I dropped the protein.
    At the time, I was using an organic 16% protein grower for all birds and adjusted the protein by adding fishmeal. For chicks, I added 60% fishmeal at a 10:1 ratio which raised the protein to 20%. At about 10 weeks I eliminated the fishmeal.
    That's when the problem started.
    I then started adding fishmeal back and the problem stopped.
    I know this is anecdotal evidence but what you described in your first post was a classic example of a desire for more animal protein.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  7. raehersh

    raehersh Just Hatched

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    Update: i have cut out corn and separated the cannibal. She has been separate for a week but seems to be going crazy. Even outside( seperated cage) with accesses to the ground for pecking she paces back and fourth. I'm scared to reintroduce her bc of her off the wall behavior. I have dealt with separating young abd old due to injury and never seen behavior like this. I make sure she has feef and water all day and night. I don't know what it could be. Is there a disease (similar to rabies) that chickens can get that makes them go crazy? Or does she just need more time?
    I want to test her with the rest of the flock but cannot risk losing another bird.
     
  8. MMorganE

    MMorganE Out Of The Brooder

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    Not to rain on any parades, as i know this is tough for you. But I had the same problem. Unfortunately, it didn't stop. I had no choice but to get rid of her. She was teaching the others her bully killing behavior. If you're trying to up her protein I suggest boiled chicken. I know this sounds terrible considering the facts. I honestly dont know if it would encourage her cannibalism behavior or not. What i do know is that i had a baby chicken that was about 24 hours from death due to being picked and pecked on. I separated her and started her on a high protein diet of boiled chicken from the store, a SMALL amount of lean ground beef and corn kernels. Her diet literally saved her life. She quickly gained strength. When consulting my vet about the diet, he said I did everything correct when upping her protein diet. Good luck!
     
  9. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Chicken, turkey or any meat or fish is a good idea.
     
  10. limited25

    limited25 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So the rest of the flock is doing fine without her? Think I would get rid of her too.
     

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