massacre caused by weasel or other chickens?

Livingthehenlife

Chirping
Apr 29, 2020
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58
73
I’ve made many mistakes along the way but this feels like the worst.

We ordered two sets of chicks from a hatchery, 6 weeks apart. The first group were raised from arrival in an outdoor brooder with a momma who had hatched a few of her own. Most of them did well but we did have several hawk casualties once they started exploring outside. Then the other batch was raised indoors in our basement up to 4 weeks. We then moved them to the outdoor brooder. Day 1 & 2 went pretty well. Day 3 my daughter went out to refill waters and found 8 of the 11 new birds dead under the brooder coop. 2 others from the original flock were also found dead alongside the 8 new birds. My only assumption is that another chicken killed these birds. I can’t imagine how it happened but some birds don’t have a scratch and others have pecked heads and necks and one had all the skin and feathers ripped of the back of its head.The whole thing makes no sense. If one of the original flock members killed the newbies then why were two of the original flock also killed? If it was a predator why didn’t it eat any of the birds and why did it kill so many leaving nothing but carcasses. It has to be another chicken that did this damage. I spent a lot of time with those birds and I’ve never seen any of them behave aggressively. Momma left the brooder 4 weeks ago. There is only one cockerel among them and he has never shown aggressive behavior. How could all 10 birds be killed in the same place at the same time?

Has anyone experienced this before? Is there some other possible cause I’m missing?

our brooder coop is 4x6 elevated and wired with electricity and heat. There were 12 when I introduced the 11 new ones. 23 pullets in all.
 

Justso

Crowing
5 Years
Apr 30, 2015
1,272
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Chicagoland DuPage Co
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Is the area completely enclosed with wire? If so what kind? To me this sounds like a weasel. They kill multiple birds with very little damage, usually a bite to the back of the head or neck. They can enter in cracks or small areas, the size a chipmunk could enter. There are more than a few of us that have gone through this, that's why our chicken houses and runs start to look like fort Knox.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
13,959
26,544
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WA, Pac NW
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Is the area completely enclosed with wire? If so what kind? To me this sounds like a weasel. They kill multiple birds with very little damage, usually a bite to the back of the head or neck. They can enter in cracks or small areas, the size a chipmunk could enter. There are more than a few of us that have gone through this, that's why our chicken houses and runs start to look like fort Knox.

x2. Photos of your set up, especially the area the chicks were killed in, would help. Mainly looking for where a predator could possibly get in.
 

Shezadandy

Crowing
5 Years
Sep 26, 2015
2,211
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Portland OR
Or a DOG. More than one post has noted when they're all brought to the same location and not eaten - it ends up being a dog.

Now- the feathers missing may well have been someone that got into a squabble - and were in the process of attacking which attracted whatever killed the rest. Did any of the survivors have blood on their beaks?
 

Livingthehenlife

Chirping
Apr 29, 2020
60
58
73
Or a DOG. More than one post has noted when they're all brought to the same location and not eaten - it ends up being a dog.

Now- the feathers missing may well have been someone that got into a squabble - and were in the process of attacking which attracted whatever killed the rest. Did any of the survivors have blood on their beaks?
None of the survivors had blood on their beaks or there feathers/feet. The most disturbing thing was the carcasses were neatly lined up side by side. Only one of the birds (the original flock and larger) had the back of its neck eaten, the others just had smaller injuries and some had only bruises.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
8,753
10,655
636
western South Dakota
Weasel, just sickening. I have had it happen, there were dead birds EVERYWHERE. This is not chickens. Chickens will generally attack a single bird, and then if the victim gets down, they will all peck her, and can kill her, but not like this.

If it was coons they would just be ripped apart, or their heads pulled off, been there and done that... and reinforced things again.

Thing is, predators like an easy kill, and they will be back. Need to go into 24/7 lock down for several weeks.

Mrs K
 

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