Hens not eating layer feed, killing 4-5 week old chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Livinwright Farm, Mar 18, 2011.

  1. Livinwright Farm

    Livinwright Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 7, 2011
    Carroll County
    Please help me! I am not surewhat is going on with my hens. They are refusing to eat their layer feed and now they are killing my 4-5 week old chicks! When they are out during the day they will eat scratch grain and BOSS, but they aren't touching the layer feed. I have lost 3 chicks so far, and don't want to lose more, but I can't keep the remaining 13 locked in the dogs cage. I don't know what to do.

    Edited to add: Sorry if I placed this in the wrong section, I wasn't sure where to put it
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2011
  2. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    If they were my girls - I would first stop feeding them any treats - free ranging and their layer feed would be their choices (once I ruled out that there was not something wrong with the feed - might be mold or some other icky thing but often just a change in the mix formula is enough to throw some birds off the feed)


    I am not sure how your hens are killing the chicks - I am guessing you have them together in the same coop/run? The chicks should not be accessable to the hens. Chicks, without a broody, do not do well mixed with most adult birds. You want to wait until the "chick" is closer to a point of lay (POL) pullet - 5 to 6 months old before letting them run together.

    I have an area in my run that is fenced for chicks without a broody - that way the main flock still sees them/hears them and watches them but cannot get to them. I also put my chicks (when well feathered and warm enough) in the main coop with the adults at night, but in their own kennel so the adults again cannot get to them.

    If your chicks are with a broody and they are still being killed - then they with their mom will need to be kept safe from the hens.
     
  3. NottinghamChicks

    NottinghamChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Totally agree with HorseFeatherz. Words of wisdom that you should definately listen to. To socialize without direct access is best at their age. [​IMG]
     
  4. Livinwright Farm

    Livinwright Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 7, 2011
    Carroll County
    I actually just found that the killing has been being done by my rooster. He has been in a stall so he won't be able to fertilize eggs, but he can poke his head out through the bottom. Apparently he had pulled some babies through the opening on the bottom. [​IMG] The baby I found on the floor was probably headless from trying to get away from him(obviously unsuccessfully). I found the 2 missing chicks in his stall yesterday afternoon. [​IMG] He is now in the dog crate(large size btw) with food and water. Hopefully we will have his shared Buck a' Roo barn built soon, so that he and our 2 bucklings will have a seperate area from the females.
    All remaining chicks are back in happyland with the hens.
    The hens still don't really want to eat their layer feed(no mold or pests as far as I can tell)... but they are eating scratch grains, BOSS, and fruit & veggie scraps... so maybe they don't "need" the layer right now.
    I also unplugged the white heat lamp no that the cold snap in NH is over... my thinking is that perhaps they were starting to get too much "daylight".
     

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