1. backyardfarmfamily

    backyardfarmfamily In the Brooder

    Mar 27, 2008
    This is for a friend:

    I went out and found my EE pullet aged 6-7 weeks old laying dead on the ground. It wasn't acting strange beforehand and it doesn't have any real signs of injury. It must have died some time this morning. Could it possibly have been by my older hens? My pullets have been terrified of my hens who have been pecking at them quite a bit. Have chickens ever been so fierce in their pecking order that they kill chicks?
  2. backyardfarmfamily

    backyardfarmfamily In the Brooder

    Mar 27, 2008
    So I had my friend go pull her dead bird out of the trash to see about injuries and she said it looks pecked at and bloody, with tons of feathers missing. He was locked up with no chance of predators getting in - only the hens were around. Did they do this?
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    No personal experience of it, but an awful lot of people say not to put the youngsters in with the adults til they are pretty well full grown, certainly much older than 6-7 weeks. And it most certainly could have been the adults pecking the young one to death, yes. Best to separate them.


  4. hinkjc

    hinkjc Crowing

    Jan 11, 2007
    Yes, hens that are not motherly (or did not brood the youngsters) will kill them if introduced too young. It is part of the pecking order and not intentional. They are just too rough for the little ones to handle or escape from. It is typically best not to introduce new birds to adult birds until they are the same size or at around laying age. I'm so sorry to hear what happened to the pullet.

  5. Kitty&Eva

    Kitty&Eva In the Brooder

    May 5, 2007
    So sorry to hear about that - but yes, I believe the hens can peck the little ones to death.
  6. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    Sorry for your loss. I hope the other babies are OK.

    I put my chicks in that with the adults that young, but I have gentle hens. I also have a rooster is very diligent in protecting the little ones. He is a Phoenix, and I love him to death. The other day I saw a 5 week old chick pecking his feet. He let her pinch his toe very hard about 3 times before he gave her a little pinch back. He didn't hurt her or chase her, just told her, "no." When the big girls try to discipline the little ones or chase them, he gets in between and does the rooster dance to move the hen away. It's funny because my Jersey Giant baby roos stand behind him imitating the dance. If I had aggressive hens or a nonprotective rooster, I wouldn't put my babies out that young. The first day they were loose in the coop, I spent hours watching them to make sure it would be peaceful.
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2008
  7. backyardfarmfamily

    backyardfarmfamily In the Brooder

    Mar 27, 2008
    My friend called this morning and said another one of her pullets had died sometime in the night. She was really confused now because she separated them yesterday afternoon when she realized it must have been the older hens that pecked them to death. She said they may not have been eating before that time because they were too scared to come out and get food while the big hens were around. She now wonders if this other one that died could have died from overeating? Or could the trauma of the whole event have had some kind of delayed effect? I think she might want to take her dead chick into a vet. What do you guys think?
  8. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing

    I think she should get a necropsy. Something sounds awfully strange. I'm sorry to hear about her loss.

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