Molting hen pecked to death??

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by amorgan, Nov 10, 2016.

  1. amorgan

    amorgan Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 22, 2016
    North Liberty, IN
    So I have (had) 12 hens who are 9 months old and about half of them are starting to molt. Tonight I found one of them dead on the coop floor. She was "face down" and her back area was flayed open and missing quite a bit of flesh and other bits (I mean bare bones were showing). I find it odd that if it were a predator, that it wouldn't have dragged her off. So, is it possible there was some blood where new feathers were coming in and the girls attacked her? It didn't look like they ate much of their food today. How can I protect the others from getting attacked by the flock too?
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2016
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I would watch out for pecking, since cannibalism can be common in chickens due to overcrowding, not getting out to free range, from eating less than 16% protein, and bullying. It may be a predator attack, but look over your flock for signs of feather picking or vent pecking, and separate bullies. Chickens can have minimolts in their first year, but they don't normally have a big molt until they are 16-18 months old. Getting them outside and offering a flock block or some things to lessen boredom may help.
     
  3. PeepersMama

    PeepersMama Overrun With Chickens

    Some breeds more aggressive/porne to cannibalism than others. I can imagine leghorns becoming cannibalistic, because they have very flighty and sometimes aggressive temperaments. It sounds like she very well could have been killed by her flock mates.
    Adding a protein supplement to their diet will help alot. Throwing them a couple handfuls of mealworms once a day should help. Adding some "toys" to their coop/run set-up will keep them busy doing "productive" things.
    Sorry for your loss! [​IMG]
     
  4. amorgan

    amorgan Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 22, 2016
    North Liberty, IN
    They have about an acre they roam freely everyday. And they have a decent amount of space in the coop at night, tho they seem to enjoy piling on top of each other as much as they can on roosts. I'll have to get everyone a good look over. It's difficult on the days I work as I'm a nurse and work 12 hrs shifts, so they're always "in bed" before I leave and after I get home (have an automatic door with a light sensor). At first I thought maybe the door failed, but my husband said they were outside today. He also said they seemed a bit frightened. If that's so, they weren't scared to not go back in the coop, where they were all perched on the roosts above her mutilated body.
     
  5. PeepersMama

    PeepersMama Overrun With Chickens

    It might have been a cat or something, but your husband would most likely have heard them if one had. My cats usually run away from the chickens, or only give them any attention if their tail gets pecked, but all of them are different [​IMG] I love these emoticons [​IMG]
    It doesn't take long for a chicken to be pecked to death, especially if she was a lower girl in the pecking order.
     
  6. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Just wondering if the automatic door timer is timed with the end of DST and shorter days? I have had to adjust my light timers this past week.
     
  7. amorgan

    amorgan Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 22, 2016
    North Liberty, IN
    Came home to another dead one tonight. Same story, back ripped open, but this time I found her up by the house. Thinking now it's a predator. Just not sure what kind would kill like that? I'm off the weekend and going to try to finish their secure pen I've been slacking on.
    @Eggcessive My automatic door doesn't have a time programmed into it, it opens with the sunrise and closes with the sunset.
     
  8. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I have had dogs, cats, hawks, and raccoons as possible predators, and hear cuyotes every night. I have never had an automatic coop door, so that is why I didn't know about them not having a timer. Sorry that you have lost another.
     
  9. amorgan

    amorgan Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 22, 2016
    North Liberty, IN
    Didn't realize no one carried the hardware cloth I need to finish their pen.:( So I got some coyote urine spray that I've heard is supposed to ward off smaller predators like weasels, minks, and opposums, which we have in abundance here. Thought they were only a problem at night, but I guess this one knows they have to dine during the day to get tasty chicken. We spent more time outside today and everyone is safely locked up for the night. They acted so scared today, I had to coax them out of the coop and from under the bushes. They usually follow me around like little ducklings. Finally got them to eat after 3 days.
     
  10. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    I think some have timers, there's 2 types I think. One that is solar sort of senses sunrise and sunset and one that you can program to any time you want and I think some do both so you weren't that far off :(
     

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