Meat bird disaster

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by RBOutdoors, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. RBOutdoors

    RBOutdoors Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We bought 7 CX to go with our layer order that are now in a moveable pen outside. All of them are 4.5 weeks old and almost fully feathered. It is plenty warm outside as the sun is shining and they are blocked from the breeze.

    I went out to check on them at lunch time today and 1 was dead, 5 others were bloody and couple had entrails hanging out from above the vent but below the tail. They all seemed fine yesterday and didn't notice anything early this morning. I went ahead and culled all that showed any signs of problems because they are in the same pen as my layers (who all look great).

    What could have caused this? I didn't take pictures because I was just trying to get it all cleaned up as fast as possible. do I need to be worries about the other birds in the pen that shared water/feed/space with them? I have moved them all to a different location so they have fresh ground.
     
  2. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

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    It sounds like a predator got to them. How big is the wire spacing on the pen? A raccoon will reach in and can do a lot of damage through the wire if the space is an inch or bigger.
     
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Yeah... sounds like something went after them, and being a bit heavier, could not get away like the layers could. Sitting ducks so to say. After what ever got to them, they may have started to eat the dead/injured as chickens will pick at any wound. I'd be careful with the rest in the pen.
     
  4. RBOutdoors

    RBOutdoors Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The wire is 1/2" hardware cloth no way a coon could reach through. Also why would all of them only be bleeding from their backside?
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
  5. Nsampsel

    Nsampsel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm not overly knowledgable about chickens yet, but could it have been worms or some other parasite?

    On the predator issue...are the top & bottom of your run fenced the same as the sides? Something could have come under/over the fence if not.
     
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    If a pred could not get under or over.... I would guess that the pink skin from the meat birds got a scratch, or caught the eye of one of the fiestier birds. Or something spooked them without touching them, they piled, and then after seeing a bit of blood, started canabalizing each other. This can happen even if you give them a few square feet per bird.
     
  7. RBOutdoors

    RBOutdoors Chillin' With My Peeps

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    But why just pick on the CX. They are larger than the others. I know that the brunt of what I saw was from picking, but I am assuming something had to start the picking, right??
     
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    The CX are probably slower, and have more exposed skin or pin feathers. That makes them easy targets. Chickens can be pretty relentless against each other. Blood tastes good to them and all it can take is a single broken pinfeather to get the flock onto eating each other. Often the slow ones or the low ones on the pecking order are the ones picked by the rest.
     
  9. what did I do

    what did I do Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know what your other birds are but we had that problem with our leghorns picking on the CX. There comes a point that CX can't be kept with other birds. The other birds can pick relentlessly on the CX. And the place they pick on the most is the vent. If you watch the vent on a CX it goes in and out, it looks like a bug moving. We used Rooster Booster on ours until we could move them but one ended up with a hole near the vent that never healed. Salt ,space, and dark are all supposed to help but we had to move ours to another coop. This year they will have to go into a dog kennel in a tight shed. I hope it works, they sure are good.

    Now my disclaimer, last year was my first year with chickens. We had 25 CX pluses the ones listed below. If I'm wrong on this someone please correct me.

    Oh, the salt was to feed to the chicks.

    Our CX ended up weighting over 11# dresses out. Last year was a crazy year and time got away from us. Lol
     
  10. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    That is very true, especially with large numbers. I have done leghorns and CX together for the full 8-10 weeks, however.... that was just 12 total birds, half and half, in a 40 sq foot tractor with free range post 6 weeks or so. So LOTS of space for very few birds. Any more and I would have had picking issues.
     

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