My poor flock :(

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by catlippincott, Nov 17, 2015.

  1. catlippincott

    catlippincott New Egg

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    May 1, 2015
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    Hello all,

    I desperately need some advice. Sorry if this is kind of a long story but I want to paint an accurate picture.

    I have raised four chickens from chicks since April. All was well, they all got along, and we're happy and healthy. Unfortunately, mostly my error, but two were killed by coyotes. The other two seemed a little traumatized, but were okay. My vet suggested getting two more, as they feel more comfortable in larger flocks, so we adopted two more that were roughly the same age. I followed all the proper protocol of integrating them and all seemed well. They generally remained in two groups of two, but they weren't aggressive so I thought all was well. After about a month of coexisting I woke up to a dead chicken (one of the newbies) with all of her head feathers plucked off.

    Im so heart broken and feel like I can not do right by these chickens. The other newbie now only hangs out by herself and I'm afraid she will now get picked on or is just plain lonely. I could go back and adopt another chicken from her old flock, but I'm not sure if that's a good idea.

    Any advice would be appreciated!
     
  2. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

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    Did the death happen during the night? Chickens can't see in the dark, so if it happened at night I would suspect a predator instead of one of your other birds.
     
  3. catlippincott

    catlippincott New Egg

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    May 1, 2015
    Shadow Hills, CA



    It happened very early morning, so I guess it could have been a predator. But would they pick off all the feathers and then leave it?
     
  4. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

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    Do you have a picture of your coop?
     
  5. AshlyMommaWard

    AshlyMommaWard Chillin' With My Peeps

    A few questions to help me get an answer for you.
    1. How long have you had the newbies?
    2. Was there any blood & or wounds on the head of the dead bird? Chickens just drop dead sometimes, and the others could have picked it out of curiosity..
    3. Were the feathers from her head everywhere, just around her body, or eaten?
    4. How large is your coop?
    With these answers we can help deduct if your other birds were the culprits, and why, and weather you should get more.
    Wishing you well.
     
  6. catlippincott

    catlippincott New Egg

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    May 1, 2015
    Shadow Hills, CA



    Thanks for your reply!

    1. It's been about three months with the newbies
    2. Yes the head was bloody, but not like dripping blood. It looked raw, if that makes sense. And when I found her she was not dead, she was still standing but obviously in shock. I tried to save her, but we put her to sleep later that day because her condition deteriated so much.
    3. No, now that I think about it the feathers were no where near her or anywhere in my yard.
    4. I forget the exact dimensions, but it is meant to house 8 chickens and we only have four. But this happened in the early morning when I had them out in the yard free ranging, they were not in their coop.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Sounds like a predator....maybe bird of prey, they start feeding at the head.

    Best to keep them in a secure, roofed(mesh or solid) run for outside time.

    It's hard to add one bird, I'd just leave them be at 3 for now.
    If they've been together for 3 months, they'll probably be fine...she may hang by herself but that's ok.
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    I agree that it was a predator. Several things that you said have me puzzled. You said that you woke up in the morning to find that she had been attacked, but you also said that you found her this way when they were out free ranging. So: I'm guessing that she was ok when you let them out of the coop that morning, and later found her in the yard looking this way, OR: you leave your pop door open so they can come out in the morning and go straight to free range??? If it was the latter, you have a big problem on your hands, as your coop is not predator proof. Your predator could have been any number of things if she was attacked in the coop: weasel, rat, coon, and the list goes on and on. If she was attacked outside of the coop, add raptor to that list, though in my experience with raptors, they flip the bird onto her back, and rip the breast meat off. What are the floor dimensions of your coop? Many pre fab coops are falsely advertised as being appropriate for X number of chickens, but they are woefully undersized, and the set up of them is such that it encourages aggression in the flock.
     

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