Do chickens kill chickens?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by esilverstein, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. esilverstein

    esilverstein Hatching

    Jan 18, 2010
    Found one of my 14 month old hens dead the other morning. She was the "bottom of the pecking order" having obvious feathers missing on her back and chest. Always keep the coop clean with fresh water and crumbles. Heat could not be a factor because it hasn't been that hot yet plus the coop has plently of ventilation and a fan, and the hens have access to outside shade as well as sun. Could her death have been caused by one or more of the other 9 hens? ALSO: one or more of the hens are egg-killers. Hardly does a few days pass where one or more eggs are eaten for their yolks. Thoughts?[​IMG][​IMG]
  2. mmaddie's mom

    mmaddie's mom Songster

    sorry, but the answer is yes... they seem to sense weekness... sorry for your loss.
  3. briana1975

    briana1975 Songster

    Feb 23, 2009
    Carleton Mi.
    Yes chickens can kill and eat other chickens. But it is pretty clear when it happens. A lot of pecking, bloody beaks and faces. I actually have had this happen once this year. I have a group of over aggressive Black Austrlops, that will be getting butchered this weekend. They pecked and disembowled one pullet, and pecked another so bad we had to put it down.

    Was you chicken pecked badly or bloody? Or just died?
  4. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Yes the strong sometimes kill the less dominant. Put a cloth flap over the nest boxes to partially seclude the nest. The idea would be to make it more difficult for the hens to see eggs in the nest. More frequent retrieval of the eggs might also help. This is a very difficult habit to break.
  5. All I know is if they start eating eggs usually it doesn't stop. As for them killing one that is quite possible too. They know and will cull off a weak one on their own.
  6. BeccaB00

    BeccaB00 Songster

    Jun 16, 2010
    just yesterday we had some of my BABY chicks (about 4-5 months old) Kill one of our prettiest chicks. When I went outside to take pictures, one of the little roosters was setting there plucking the feathers off her. And I am positive THEY killed her because the day before she was completely happy. Our chicks also beat up on one of the fattest, happy chicks we had. heres a pic:

  7. 88Haywood88

    88Haywood88 Songster

    Feb 13, 2010
    Don't take this the wrong way, [​IMG] Let me let you in on a little secret: Chickens, even from a week old will kill anything they can get their beaks around. once a chicken realizes that it can get food from their flock mate they will continue to seek out the weakest. I had a pen full of two month old game hens last year. By the time it was all said and done, they had killed and eaten eight of their own. In my experience, once a chicken draws blood from another chicken, the cannibalistic habit has set in. When this happens, I am faced with two choices; One, let the cannibal join my free range flock where cannibalism is far less likely to take palce. Or two, kill the cannibal, to prevent her or him from teaching it to other chickens. The latter is what usually happens at my place... after the bird has been fattened up of course (I don't waste a chicken, even a cannibal). Chickens are some of the most ruthless, cruel, relentless, and horrifying animals on the palnet, if left to their own devices. I realize my methods seem cruel, but cannibalism and egg eating are really serious problems. I'd isolate the cannibals, fatten them up, and send them to freezer camp. good luck.
    SW31 likes this.
  8. Chickiemama1010

    Chickiemama1010 Songster

    Jan 16, 2010
    Im with you Haywood. Chronic egg eaters, cannibals and overly aggressive birds, especially roos, all get to go to the big coop the sky, aka my freezer...I like a chicken dinner just as well as a cannibal chicken does.
  9. Chook-A-Holic

    Chook-A-Holic Songster

    Oct 5, 2009
    Central, N.C.
    Quote:x3 [​IMG]
  10. harley

    harley In the Brooder

    Sep 9, 2009
    Landrum SC
    You think thats bad. I had a plymouth white rock setting for the past 21 days only to find out as soon as one hatched she would eat it. I just notice today and out of 12 eggs, only five were saved. So far i only have one chick that has made it and that was only because i saw it pecking its way out of the shell. I took the other four from her. One i could already see a part of its body put she didnt make it and now i have four eggs that most likely want make it.
    Here i was looking for this day and its turned out pretty sad to me.

    Hens eating their own eggs can be caused for several reason and its not lack of food but lack of calicum. Be sure and see that they get plenty of calicum.. Try to find out which of the chickens are eating eggs and take them away from the rest of the flock.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2010

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