My chickens are killing each other. No. They really are.

polychip

In the Brooder
5 Years
Aug 17, 2014
36
4
24
Smiling Dog Farm, Texas!
I know I've posted about this before but now I'm absolutely sure the chickens are killing each other. I need some help. We spent the weekend filling in any tiny hole a rat could get through. I removed all the babies from the coop. I check on them before bed and everyone is roosting. Then I check on the when the sun is just coming up in the morning and all is well. Then I come home from work and BAM! dead adult chicken in the coop. What is going on? Do I have one aggressive hen that starts it then the others join in? My coop is huge for the number of chickens I have in there, the have food, fresh water and forage. They're otherwise perfectly healthy. Also, the hens are dead in relatively the same place every time. AND the one I just found dead was fresh. That tells me they're doing it during the day.

I have kind of an aggressive hen so I've put her by herself to see what happens. Otherwise I'm at a loss.

Any ideas? Please help!!!
 

polychip

In the Brooder
5 Years
Aug 17, 2014
36
4
24
Smiling Dog Farm, Texas!
Maybe what I really need to ask is what is the best high capacity video recorder I can buy? I don't see another solution but to watch them and fine out what's happening.
 

howfunkyisurchicken

Crowing
9 Years
Apr 11, 2011
9,281
820
361
Tn
x2? If the chickens are the ones doing it, theres going to be some evidence like missing feathers, peck marks or holes and blood.

What's your set up like? Where are you finding them dead? Do they have access to a run, is it covered or uncovered? What do you feed? How old are the hens you're finding dead? Have you observed any aggressive behavior from them? What are the more common predators in your area? Some of them are tiny, and they can burrow in. We had a mink visiting us during the day when I lived at my old house, I'd find a hen dead every few days until I got rid of that little guy.
If they've got space, and they are killing each other, somethings lacking somewhere. You've just got to figure out what it is and fix it. If you can't think of anything they may be missing, then I'd assume you've got a predator finding its way into the coop.
 

polychip

In the Brooder
5 Years
Aug 17, 2014
36
4
24
Smiling Dog Farm, Texas!
Thanks so much for responding. I feed Flock Raiser with free choice oyster shell. I usually have some cubed hay in there for forage. The dead birds ages are pullets up to 5 years. Other than a peck on the head now and then, my birds aren't aggressive. Last weekend we sealed every single space a predator could get in. It's a huge coop, in a shed row. 40'X40' with about a dozen chickens in it. I thought it might be because there were pullets in there but I removed them and found one of my beautiful Cochin hens dead yesterday. We have foxes, skunks, possums, coyotes and maybe rats. Although I've never seen a rat. I've been here for 7 years and have never had this kind of problem.

They go outside when I let them out. With a coop that size, I don't need to let them out every day but I try unless the weather is bad.

I have my boss hen isolated. When I checked this morning, everyone was good. All the chickens look fine. They aren't bloody.

I should say I sealed everything up with spray foam and I didn't see any of it disturbed. The largest hole in the wire is a standard chicken wire size.
700
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
24,901
37,070
1,122
Colorado Rockies
You really do have a "who-dunnit". The best thing would be to set up a game cam. I have never done it, but I hear they are very inexpensive and easy to use and download to your computer.

If you just have standard poultry mesh between a predator and your chickens, that isn't small enough mesh to prevent some small predators from either getting inside or reaching a slender paw through to grab a chicken to pull toward the side and kill it.

Running hardware cloth around the lower three feet would help immensely.

I see in your photo of the coop that there's space at the top of the wall under the roof that light is coming through. Is that space covered with screening? An owl can easily glide through a small opening such as your coop appears to afford and get inside, kill a bird and fly back out again. I've watched it on video. Amazing what small openings an owl can take advantage of.
 

polychip

In the Brooder
5 Years
Aug 17, 2014
36
4
24
Smiling Dog Farm, Texas!
There is hardware cloth covering where all the light shines through. It's unreal. I promise if I find out, I will let y'all know who the killer is. My boss (jokingly) suggested that when all the other chickens are dead, there will be one standing and that's the killer. I'm hoping it won't get to that point. The dead chickens are all found between those roosts. I checked to see if there was a nail hanging out or something they could get caught on and there isn't anything.
 

rc4u

Songster
7 Years
Feb 3, 2014
396
69
159
You really do have a "who-dunnit". The best thing would be to set up a game cam. I have never done it, but I hear they are very inexpensive and easy to use and download to your computer.

If you just have standard poultry mesh between a predator and your chickens, that isn't small enough mesh to prevent some small predators from either getting inside or reaching a slender paw through to grab a chicken to pull toward the side and kill it.

Running hardware cloth around the lower three feet would help immensely.

I see in your photo of the coop that there's space at the top of the wall under the roof that light is coming through. Is that space covered with screening? An owl can easily glide through a small opening such as your coop appears to afford and get inside, kill a bird and fly back out again. I've watched it on video. Amazing what small openings an owl can take advantage of.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
99,783
140,695
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
No blood or wounds any where?
I don't think a chicken could kill another chicken without blood and wounds being on the corpse.

Injured around the head and neck?.......like wet and scruffed up looking?....Snake!
Small wound on neck could be weasel, they bite neck and drink blood.
 

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