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Homocidal hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by peepinglaura, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. peepinglaura

    peepinglaura Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 9, 2009
    Every year, we incubate some of our eggs and let our flock hatch out some eggs. This year, something unusual and horrible is going on. Our hens are killing their newly hatched chicks! Some are new broodies, so I thought they just didn't know what they are doing, and thought the new chicks were nest invaders. But, even some of our experienced hens seem to be killing their chicks. This has never happened before, and now it suddenly seems like an epidemic. What could be going on?

    Thanks for any ideas or suggestions.

    Laura
     
  2. mulewagon

    mulewagon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 13, 2010
    Alabama
    Oh my goodness! Are you sure it's the hens? Not something sneaky like rats, weasels, or snakes coming in at night and killing the chicks?


    If it's the hens, I don't know - perhaps a protein shortage? Has some change stressed them?
     
  3. peepinglaura

    peepinglaura Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Definitely the hens- we've seen them do it. I know silkie hens are supposed to be excellent moms, but they've been the worst. Their diet hasn't changed- they get the same Dumor laying pellets. It's so bizarre. As for stress, hmmm, I don't know. Nothing has changed that I know of, but maybe. I'll think about it. One mom just hatched out 5 beauties, which is one nice thing!


    Thanks for your input. I'm up for trying anything to stop this.

    Laura
     
  4. crawfordmama

    crawfordmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 29, 2010
    The Lakes Region, NH
    Could it have started as a case of monkey see, monkey do? Perhaps an inexperienced momma did it initially, and the rest began thereafter?

    I would remove the remaining chicks and place them in a brooder and care for them until you can pin-point the issue.

    Sorry you are dealing with this!
     
  5. peepinglaura

    peepinglaura Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, Crawford Mama. It's possible that they might be taking cues from other hens. I'm not sure. I am trying to take everyone's eggs and incubate them. Tomorrow I'll get more aggressive with it. Ugh, the carnage has been awful!
     
  6. axion_lotus

    axion_lotus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 19, 2011
    Central NC
    [​IMG] I'm so sorry you had to witness something so terrible. I hope you can find out what's going on and find a solution. Those poor little babies... Those are some bad chicken mommies! [​IMG] I hope what they're doing isn't going to persist.
     
  7. peepinglaura

    peepinglaura Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ack! I just posted a whole reply, which I lost.

    Thanks, axion lotus. I have gathered all the eggs I can reach (she's under the goat house) and have them in the incubator, along with a half dead chick I'm hoping we save, but not confident (I'd say the odds are against us).
     

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