Killer chicken!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sarahtur, Mar 9, 2016.

  1. sarahtur

    sarahtur New Egg

    Mar 9, 2016

    I am new to chicken keeping but bought an Igloo hen house suitable for 3 chickens. I susbsequently bought three chickens from the same batch and two of them started laying. They had plenty of room within the hutch, lots of food and water and a good space to wander around in. (20 square meters or so)

    Unfortunatley within a week one of the chickens had died because her vent had been pecked so much during the night.

    Then a week later I noticed one of the remaining chickens pecking the other one's feathers and took note but didn't speprate them at that point. I thought they were trying to re-estalish a new pecking order. I went to let them out the next morning to discover that she too had been horrifically injured and immediately removed her from the chicken house. She too subsequently died.

    I now have one chicken left who is obviously the killer chicken - the question is - will she continue to do this if I get more chickens (and carefully re-introduce her after a period of quarantine so she won't be at the top of the pecking order) - I dont want to risk it again - Can I use one of those things that goes over their beak so she can still feed and drink or is her personality now set?

    Any help gratefully recieved!
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    You said they have plenty of food but not what the food is.
    What makes up their total intake? I.e. feed type (protein %), scratch, treats, scraps, etc..
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    How big is the Igloo? Those little coops often are too crowded for the number of birds they claim to be able to hold.

    I'm puzzled by this happening at night. Chickens sleep at night, they're not up pecking each other. Then again, predators don't go for the vent area. How long are they confined to the coop?

    I don't think she's going to just change her behavior. You'll need to make some management decisions. Reviewing the feed and coop space is a good place to start. Pinless peepers may be needed if you want to keep this hen with others in the future.
  4. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2011
    What breeds and how old were/are the hens? I wonder if, and this is a stretch, the other hens were having prolapse issues and she just took advantage. Probably not.

    If she were mine, I'd cull her and start over. Space could definitely be an issue, those little Eggloo coops are much to small for the number of birds they say you can put in them (as are just about every other prefab coop).

    So sorry you're having to deal with this :hugs
  5. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Shazam Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Those eggloos are tight and you have to be careful of the breeds you put into them, I don't think you mentioned the breeds you had. In my opinion those are only suitable for bantam. Sorry this happened to you. I wouldn't add anymore hens, and would probably cull the remaining hen and start over with something more easy going or a bigger setup.
  6. 21hens-incharge

    21hens-incharge Flock Master

    Mar 9, 2014
    Northern Colorado
    I too would cull the killer chicken. IF you want to look for other possible causes then keep the lone hen in the existing set up and watch for ANY and all damage to her. I know that mice will chew feathers off hens that are sleeping. If they do this and expose the skin then the other hen or hens can be triggered to peck the area. Nasty business dealing with mice. You would see evidence of them by the droppings if they could be the root cause.

    I myself am setting up the bucket trap again as I have hens showing some damage to feathers on their backs. (no rooster present and it is consistent with damage I had when I caught a mouse in the act last year)

    Just a thought.

    As others have suggested take a good long look at the protein levels in the feed and know that any treats that are low in protein will lower that number.

    It is all a matter of balance.

    [​IMG] AND of course best wishes in a solution.

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