Hen killing day old chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Wiccadwitch, Nov 7, 2019.

  1. Wiccadwitch

    Wiccadwitch Chirping

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    I have had backyard chickens for over a year now. I've naturally brooded virtually all eggs ( barring unforeseen complications) under broody hens. All of these hens have been fierce protective mothers and I've been able to leave them among the rest of the flock from the moment of hatch. Yesterday one of my youngest hens hatched out her first brood. 6 chicks total. This morning I was out back when I noticed one chick having difficulty staying with the group. I approached and saw a severely injured wing. Clearly the chick had been attacked. I brought it inside and did what I could. Its wrapped and safe but honestly i cant say whether it will live but even if it does that wing is probably going to be useless. Anyway after chick triage I went back outside to check on everyone and get some chick starter for my little invalid when I saw that mama hen was down another chick. I started looking around when I finally saw one of my oldest hens with the missing chick in her beak. She had been pecking at it and picked it up and run away with it when I approached. The body was pretty mangled. I'm certain she killed it and was responsible for the other chicks injury. I think my new mom just wasn't fierce enough in protecting her babies and my most senior and aggressive hen took advantage of that.
    At this point since my older hen has killed a chick should I get rid if her? I worry that much like egg eaters once started they will continue to do it and possibly get other chickens involved. I've removed the killer hen from the flock and I've got mom and remaining chicks in a bin while I figure out next steps . Any suggestions would be appreciated. I've never dealt with anything like this so I'm in completely uncharted territory here.
     
  2. Skippersnh

    Skippersnh Songster

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    You should separate young chicks from the rest of the flock asap
     
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  3. Wiccadwitch

    Wiccadwitch Chirping

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    I already have. The remaining chicks are inside in a bin.
     
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  4. Wiccadwitch

    Wiccadwitch Chirping

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    It's been a full day since the attack. The wing was a lost cause. It was quite literally dead weight at this point so I just removed it. Chick is doing well. A little clumsy while adjusting to the lack of one wing. Mom is accepting as are the other chicks. I'm hoping to set the whole crew up in a dog kennel today so they have more room. I'm posting a pic in case anyone is curious about my little amputee.
     

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  5. Wiccadwitch

    Wiccadwitch Chirping

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    Side note the look of the feathers around the area is because if liberally applied antibiotic ointment post cleansing.
    I can try to get a better shot of the actual wound seal where I tacked the edges of the skin together using second skin( basically super glue for skin). That's assuming anyone wants to see it.
    The chick is a silkie showgirl mix so the naked neck is normal.
    The offending hen is no longer here I gave her to a friend who doesn't keep chicks around the flock so any homicidal tendencies shouldn't be an issue for her. Said hen is a Rhode island red/easter egger mix. In case anyone is looking for possible breed connections to the aggressive behavior. She was always aggressive and the hen I worried most might hurt a chick. She was really mean to new additions especially when I was tossing down treats. I never dreamed she would kill one though.
     
  6. TheChiggens

    TheChiggens ~Keep Clucking!

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    That is horrible!
    So sorry you going through this :(
    GOOD LUCK!
     
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  7. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Hope you gave babies back to Momma too..:fl
    Terrible situation. :hmm
     
  8. Aunt Angus

    Aunt Angus Crowing

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    That's awful! Poor little chickies...
    :hit:hugs

    When I have a mama and babies, I always separate the whole family from the rest of the flock. It's hard for me to gauge how good of a mama a hen will be until something like this happens. Integration can take place later after the chicks get a little older and everyone's seen/got used to each other from opposite sides of a barrier.

    I'm so glad you were able to save the injured one! Poor little birdie...
     
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  9. Wiccadwitch

    Wiccadwitch Chirping

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    The chicks are absolutely with mom. Everyone is in a kennel in my sewing room. Since the injured one needed to be where I could monitor her I decided it was best if I kept everyone inside for now. I have a small enclosure outside that I've used for integrating chicks that had to hatch in an incubator. I just never thought I'd need to use it to separate a mom. I've let my hens brood and hatch their chicks since I started and this is the first time a hen hasn't been able to protect the chicks from the rest of the flock. I'll likely move everyone out there once I feel that wingless has healed enough.
    Knowing now that mother hens aren't always up to defending babies I'll be sure to consider that when letting one brood. This little hen is young and it's her first try. She's sweet but maybe a little too nice. I've got a couple of fantastic little mommas out there that don't take crap from anyone when they have chicks.
    Wingless is still doing well. She's running around with the other chicks and scratching in the straw with mom. She has more exposed skin than normal where that missing wing would cover so I hope she is going under mom for warmth more to compensate. At least being indoors right now the environment is controlled.
     
  10. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    I'm sure she tried but couldn't against such an aggressive Hen. Your doing great..:thumbsup
     
    glassdragonfly likes this.

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