Hen killed baby chicks.. any ideal why?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ckhlilfarm, Aug 5, 2009.

  1. ckhlilfarm

    ckhlilfarm In the Brooder

    May 31, 2009
    I have a brown leghorn hen that hatched out 4 chicks about 2 weeks ago and a Old English Game hen that hatched out 4 chicks about 5 days ago. The OEG hen took(stole) the leghorn chicks and started treating them like her own. She has been with them about 3 days and being terrible protective over all 8 of them would not let anyone get close. I coaxed them into a cage so the horse wouldn't step on the babies. All 8 were sleeping under her lastnight and doing great. I woke up this morning to a very unpleasant sight. The OEG hen killed 3 of the leghorn chicks and pecked the other chick's eye out. The one-eye chick is doing great but I would like any insight on why the OEG hen would do this. I know they can be very aggressive, as she is, but I just don't understand why she would start doing this after treating them as her own. I took the remaining leghorn chick and her 4 chicks also, too worried that she would do them the same way. I have never heard of a hen doing this before. Thanks
  2. Eggs4Sale

    Eggs4Sale Songster

    Jun 29, 2009
    I've had hens poke chicks eyes out, but not chicks that they were mothering. But I've never had a foster mom hen, either. I dunno.
  3. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    It could have been from the stress of being in a cage. I bought an OEG hen at auction last fall that had 6 chicks with her. I kept her locked up for a week after bringing her home (knowing nothing about quarantining, by the way [​IMG]), and the first night after I let her out, she attacked 3 of her own chicks. She would never again let those 3 near her.

    This same hen will peck out her own chick's eyes if something (or someone [​IMG]) is trying to catch them. That's just the way OEG are, I think.

    But I would say it was due to stress.
  4. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Quote:Games CANNOT handle confinement.

    Sorry for your loss.
  5. ckhlilfarm

    ckhlilfarm In the Brooder

    May 31, 2009
    I have had her caged before. I have had her since last fall, she spent all fall, winter and beginning of spring in a cage. I let her and several other hens and rooster loose for the summer. She was fine. But I don't know, I'm at a complete loss. So far everyone thinks it was stress so it probably was. Thanks

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