Did my chicken kill my chicks...or something else?

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Amc29, Mar 15, 2019.

  1. Amc29

    Amc29 Chirping

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    Today was the first day I had my chicks outside in the chicken yard. I have them in a dog crate, something I have successfully used in the past. Take note I have been outside a lot today and none of the chickens seemed the slightest bit interested in the chicks (doesn't mean they weren't later). Unfortunately, I heard my rooster making his distress call. It took me a couple minutes to get out there, and I saw all my chickens and ducks were accounted for (though my ducks seemed to be hiding and my chickens were scattered). I went down to my chicks, and two of them had been killed. At first my husband thought a chicken had gotten its head in there and killed them (which may be the case), but then he noticed that both chicks bad a puncture wound on either side, so he cut them open and found that the puncture paths from either side met up in the rib cage. I find it odd that my rooster would have been distress calling about his own hens pecking at the chicks (I had just been outside, so I do feel that his calling probably happened during the event). My main question is whether or not a chicken peck can go all the way through the body (these punctures seemed to be the only wounds on the bodies)? I am including a picture of the soon-to-be-fortified enclosure (they are in the house now) as well photos of the puncture wounds. EDIT FOR CLARIFICATION: the chicks were still inside the cage when I found them. One was near the center, the other had its head underneath the waterer with its body near the bricks. There was blood near the end (as can be seen), so the injury probably took place there (also some blood at opposite end). 20190315_162937.jpg 20190315_163058.jpg 20190315_163016.jpg 20190315_162937.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
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  2. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

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    I am sorry for your loss.
    Any hungry predator can easily stick their hand in there to grab/bite the chicks.
     
  3. Amc29

    Amc29 Chirping

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    I suppose that is true. We don't have many predators around here is the thing. We haven't had raccoon problems in a long time (certainly not middle of the day), but it isn't out if the realm of possibility. I think I have only seen a weasel/mink once here, but nothing was eaten (seems like it would be), which is why I am wondering if it was my chickens. Normally I have chicken wire fencing around it, but I made the mistake of thinking "I will just be away for a little bit"
     
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  4. diamondsilkies

    diamondsilkies Songster

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    I'm guessing it was something else, although I don't know what. Chickens can and will kill chicks, but (at least in my experience), it's not usually such a clean wound straight through.
     
  5. Amc29

    Amc29 Chirping

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    That is what we are puzzling about. In the past, I have seen very brutal kills by chickens, but none that were just a single, straight-through peck. When my husband picked them up and really examine them, he said it seemed like they had been shot (by a BB gun), which is why he cut them open to see the wound path on the inside. But that doesn't make sense, either, because who would do that? It is just odd.
     
  6. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Crossing the Road

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    :hugs Sorry for your loss :hugs
    You may want to wrap that enclosure with hardware cloth, 4 sides. As said, the puncture wounds are too straight forward an smooth, think something tried grabbing the chicks, Roo gave a warning, everyone scrambled and the predator chased off with all the commotion. IF it was a BB gun, do you have kids living around? It's the start of Spring Break.
     
  7. Amc29

    Amc29 Chirping

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    SW Oregon
    In the past they have been more securely enclosed (especially when I have them sleeping out there) and also in the very secure pen. Today was just a sunny day, so decided to take them out for awhile and was a little naive thinking they would be fine since I was spending a lot of time out there.
    The neighbor on the other side of our woods has kids. We have never met them (not very neighborly of us, I know), but we here them yelling a lot. Since we have a fort down there, I would not be at all surprised if they were coming over and playing (they are nice woods to play in too...lots of trails and not too much brush). Kids in the past that have lived on that property have crossed the fence to play. I considered perhaps going down and gently inquiring in a non-accusational way, but I also really don't want to consider that possibility too seriously since it is pretty disturbing to shoot a penned up baby chick with no way to escape.
     
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  8. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Crows, Ravens or Magpies..They can kill young Birds.
     
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  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    Do you have a game camera you can put up? Often times if a predator made the kill most likely it will be back. I let my very special bird out a month ago while I was painting the coops and a fox killed her. I have seen the fox since. It may be a coon as they will reach through the wire and grab a bird.
     
  10. just because you dont see a lot of predators doesnt mean they arent around. Predators are stealthy, It doesnt benefit them to be out in the open drawing attention. environmental factors could push new predators into your area at any time, things are always changing.
    I personally never see predators hardly but i know for a fact i have fox, coyote, raccoon, bear, bob cats etc.
     
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