Dog or Cockerels??? What killed my hen???

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Sunny Side Up, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    It's time for another session of CSI:poultry. Maybe you can help me determine what killed my hen.

    This afternoon about 2pm my kids went out back to gather the eggs & let the layers out for recess when they found a dead hen in the yard by the chicken pens. Her neck was broken, there were a few small puncture wounds on her back, but otherwise she was intact. Nothing had been gnawed on or off. She was lying on her side, one side was matted with mud from the rain-damp ground.

    My first suspect was DOG. Daytime attack, broken neck, nothing eaten off. But there were no paw prints (the yard is loose dirt & mulch) and no trail of feathers that usually indicate a chase before capture.

    So my other suspects are the 26 young cockerels that free-range all day throughout the yard. The oldest ones are around 18-20 weeks and I guess would all like to get "married". Could young cockerels kill a hen in their efforts to mate with her? She was a grown standard-sized hen, but these guys are all her same size or even larger.

    Has that ever happened in your flock?

  2. Bizzybirdy

    Bizzybirdy Songster

    Apr 14, 2008
    North of Nashville
    Sounds more like a dog attack.

    Was she the only hen with all those roos??
  3. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I have a large flock in several big groups. There are about 60 or so layers with 4 roosters to husband them. They stay in their pen until about 2-3 pm when they're let out in the yard for recess. There's another bunch of bantam hens & roosters that cannot be contained & hop in & out of the pens at will throughout the day. And sometimes 1 or 2 of the big layers will hop out of the pen to explore & hang out with the bantams.

    Then there is the Dinner Theater pen, at this time there are 26 young cockerels from 10-20 weeks of age, all waiting for their invitation to come to the table for dinner. I process them in small batches of 6-8 at a time. I let them out of their pen first thing in the morning so they can supplement their diet (and reduce their feed costs) by free-ranging all day long.

    There wasn't a trail of feathers behind this hen like there usually is when a chicken has been chased before it's killed. There weren't any suspicious bunches of feathers anywhere else in the yard. Nor were there any paw prints or tracks of any kind, I'd think a dog would have made some kind of marks somewhere. Also, there were a lot of birds in the yard at the time, I'd think a dog wouldn't stop with killing just one.

    I'm curious if anyone else had a hen they knew had been killed due to too much attention from too many energetic young cockerels at one time.

    Meanwhile, I'm planning my next processing session very very soon!
  4. skywatcher

    skywatcher Songster

    Feb 22, 2009
    A few years back I had to many rooster to hens 13 roosters 7 hens anyway the hens were afraid to come off the roosts. I noticed why when they got down 6-7 roosters would chase hen corner it then feathers woulfd fly. The roosters killed 2 hens and even went cannibal. I thought letting them free range would change this it didn't so the Roosters went to the freezer. [​IMG]

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