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chickens killing one another

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by kstavert, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. kstavert

    kstavert In the Brooder

    We purchased 25 red and black star sex link
    chickens from one hatchery early last year.

    They all peck at one another and nothing serious.

    Purchased a second batch of 25 from a different
    hatchery end of September...

    These new chicks have been pecking one another
    until they draw blood. They even killed two.

    Why would the same breed from different hatcheries
    have such different behaviours? Is it possible that
    the behaviour of the second batch has anything to
    do with the birds at the hatchery?

    Have we done something wrong?

    Your assistance will be greatly appreciated. Thanks

  2. welasharon

    welasharon Songster

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    How big a space do you have them in? What feed do they get?
  3. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    You mentioned the key word and that is HATCHERY !!!! birds. Hatchery stock is like a box of choclates, you never know what your going to get, and that is a fact my friend. Your second batch of birds were more likely crossed with a breed that tends to be more aggresive. Plain and simple that's what you got !!.

  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

  5. chick4chix

    chick4chix Songster

    Jun 4, 2009
    So Cal
    I don't think this had anything to do with the hatchery you received them from. I agree with the questions welasharon asked- where are they housed, and what are they fed?

    Chickens will be aggressive with each other if they are:
    1.) Overcrowded
    2.) Not getting adequate protein in their diet
    3.) Not getting adequate outside space to be in the sun, scratch etc without interference of another.
    4.) In any kind of stressful conditions where different ages are together, or there is a bully hen or roo, or their coop and run are cold/wet/ or - lots of reasons , but you need to look at all of those things and then decide how best to remedy it. It may be they need to be separated into smaller groups- or given different runs- fed a different diet. If you can answer the question we can advise you better. Good luck- that is hard.
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2011
  6. kstavert

    kstavert In the Brooder

    My husband built two coops - each 4 x 8 - two stories

    Originally, the first 25 were supposed to inhabit both
    coops... but, they all went into one and wouldn't use
    the second... which is kind of why we got the second
    batch of chicks.

    Their run is about 12' wide by 35' - 40' long - there's
    lots of space for them.

    They are eating laying pellets - don't know the protein
    content off the top of my head.

    I was afraid to put the younger chicks in with the adults
    ... did so when they were eating and the adults didn't
    seem to even notice them. I kept coming out and
    watching and there didn't seem to be any problem.

    It's the new chicks that are attacking one another -
    not the adults. They were doing so in the separate
    coop - even before they went into the larger coop
    with the adults. We have to separate them - bring
    the injured girls in until their neck feathers grow

    The adults were laying after the the younger chicks
    were added but stopped when it got cold.

    We have two bantum buffs that are laying just
    fine in the same weather conditions.

    Why would the red/black star sex links not be laying?

    Someone said to add apple cider vinegar to their
    water to get the to stop attacking one another???

    I really, really, really appreciate your help. It was
    from reading the posts on this site that I decided
    to try raising chickens. I absolutely LOVE them..
    Even if they never laid another egg, I'd still want
    to have them, they are so funny and so much fun.

    I remember reading posts where people would
    write that they'd go and just hang out with their
    girls and I thought that was funny. I now understand.

    Again, thank you so much Karen
  7. terrilhb

    terrilhb Songster

    Dec 11, 2010
    [​IMG] from Ga. I am sorry for what is happening. Good luck. [​IMG]

  8. welasharon

    welasharon Songster

    Jun 28, 2010
    North Florida
    I would look at the protein amount and consider boredom also. There has to be a reason they are doing this....it just may take a few tries to figure it out. I am not sure what the run space ratio is but 25 chickens in a 4x8 coop is way too many if they have to be shut up in there I would think. I am in Florida so I don't have a coop but that does seem tight.

    My mom put waaaay too many chicks in a pen and they started eating each other....she would throw packs of hamburger meat in to try to get them to stop. UGHHH! Thankfully I learned a lot on here before getting mine!

    Good luck! Don't give up.
  9. Pequena Bandada

    Pequena Bandada Small Flock

    Jun 13, 2010
    Karen, how old are your second set of chicks? If they're still "babies" they shouldn't be eating layer pellets. They need chick starter, which has a higher amount of protein. Chickens that don't have enough protein in their diet sometimes do pick at one another. The first thing I'd suggest is switching to chick starter (or grower if they're a bit bigger than babies).

    Also, it's possible they don't have enough space. You mentioned that you have two 4x8 coops, and that they're two stories. I don't quite know what two stories means, but 4x8 is only 32 sq feet. That would give your chickens only a little over 1 sq foot of space inside. They should really have about four times that much if you want to avoid the more aggressive behaviors.
  10. kstavert

    kstavert In the Brooder

    we built two 4 x 8 coops for 25 girls..
    they chose to all go into one coop...

    in warm weather, they all sit on top
    of the coop/

    The new chicks are 4 3/4 months old

    The feed store told us that they were
    old enough to go to laying pellets.

    Do you think they need to be back
    on grower?

    What else can I add to increase

    how do you deal with boredom?

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