Eight Week Old Chick Found Dead - Appeared to have been Killed by Adult Chickens

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by redsix, Dec 6, 2016.

  1. redsix

    redsix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2015
    I found one chick dead that a hen hatched around 8 weeks ago. There were three that hatched. The other two seem to be doing fine. Their mother is still with them. I hadn't observed any overly aggressive behavior toward any of the chicks by the other chickens (all hens). The dead chick did always seem to be behind the other chicks in development and appeared to be a rooster. I found the dead chick with its badly damaged head sticking out through the fence like it had been trying to get away from the other chickens. Could they have killed it because it was sickly or because it was a rooster? I don't have any other good explanation for the cause of death unless it died with its head sticking out of the fence and a crow came by and picked it.
  2. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    What fence? Was this fence exposed to external elements? It sounds more like a predator death than chicken caused.

    Too many times people take the coincidence of a death in the run as being caused by other chickens when in fact it was a predator. It's common for a raccoon to reach it's slender paw in though the mesh of the fence and yank the chicken's head though, then kill it. It can get pretty mangled as the critter tries to pull the dead body though the fence.

    Hardware cloth around the lower twenty-four inches can be a very effective protection against this sort of attack.

    But on the off chance it was caused by another chicken, it would be wise to assess whether you have adequate space and perches and other surfaces where smaller birds can evade bullys.
  3. TeeMom

    TeeMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2016
    I'm guessing something grabbed it through the fence and tried to pull it through and chewed on his poor little head when they were unsuccessful. I'm sorry for your loss!
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Agreed. It was a predator kill.
  5. redsix

    redsix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2015
    Guess I'm not a very good homicide detective, huh. I think I have adequate space in the run and coop based on what I have read. I do have a strand of electric fence mounted at 3 inches off the ground around the perimeter of the run, but that is primarily to prevent critters from digging under. I need to add a strip of hardware cloth. Thanks for all the replies.
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Not that you're not a good detective---lots and lots of folks go there first. We frequently get threads "my chickens killed each other" and on investigation, it was a predator. Coons and weasels are the most common, but rats, foxes and snakes are all on the short list.

    chickens will often peck at a dead comrade, but they'll rarely actually kill another bird.

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