Please help, we're stumped! Oh, a touch graphic...

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by teecookie, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. teecookie

    teecookie New Egg

    Nov 5, 2010
    This is my first post, so I hope to provide all of you with the right amount of information to get some help.

    We recently had five girls, 2 reds, 2 bantams and what I am guessing to be a skittish silky. They were raised from chicks and all pretty hearty and healthy. Once the bantams started laying, they lost some feathers on their bottoms. I didn't think much of it until I opened the coop and found one dead. She looked like nothing had happened, she was on her side. Then I picked her up and turned her over only to find a gaping hole. I mean, it took my breath away. She had been almost eviscerated by her sisters. The coop had been on lock down, so it wasn't another animal, but I didn't want to believe it to be true. After reading the forum I was hoping that maybe there had been some sort of issue with her heart stopping while laying. I don't know, who wants to believe that one animal that has been with another since day one could do that?!

    Her sister hung around for some time, but in time we found her the same way. I can't express the guilt that came with this moment, realizing that I should have intervened long before.

    Now I fear for the silky... They had left her alone but the other day I noticed she was being pecked. I removed her, sprayed her minor wound above her tail feathers with blu-kote (and myself, too) and separated her. The feathers on her bottom are starting to come back but she is absolutely losing it being by herself. I sprayed her again this morning and let them all out to get some free ranging in only to find the reds immediately at her. Its not necessarily aggressive, but I definitely don't want it to happen at all. I put her in her separate kennel where they can all see each other, but she is unhappy.

    What do I do??? Do I need to keep her separate until all of her feathers come back? Are the reds naturally more aggressive towards other birds? If I separate her until her feathers come back in, will she be able to be reintroduced without completely disrupting their order? I need some help!!!!

    ANY feedback is appreciated. I am sure I have left some important things out so please feel free to ask for more information.

    Thanks a bunch!
  2. Clay Valley Farmer

    Clay Valley Farmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 7, 2010
    I have a group of reds (RIRXRIW) that are very agressive to all other chickens but nice as pie to people. I have had no luck at all intergrating them and I don't think they would even come close to accepting a little silky. They even pound on my Brahma EE roo that is alot bigger than them. He is so pethetic if I put him in with them he starts wimpering and burries his head in the sawdust before they even get near him.
  3. suzettex5

    suzettex5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 26, 2009
    I'm so sorry for your loss, that just sucks. [​IMG]

    My only suggestion would be to create a seperate pen for your lone silkie and get another small friend or 2 for her. The bigger girls will probably never stop picking. Its just their nature now. But the little hen should be fine if she has some friends her own size and she is in her own space where the bigger hens cant get to her. I hope she heals fast.

    Maybe someone else will come along with some better ideas.
  4. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    It sounds like one or more of the larger birds are cannibals. Do a search for 'cannibal' in BYC and you will find that it is a horrible, but not so uncommon problem.
    It usually happens where there are too many birds confined in too small of a space, with not enough to do, or not enough nutritious food to eat. When you said lock down- did this happen at night, or in the early AM when they were locked up for the night?

    It is a habit that is VERY hard to break, once started.
    Things you can do- look closely at your set up- how many square feet per bird? It almost never happens when birds are allowed to free range. Do they have anything to do in the pen? What do they eat- do they have free access to layer ration or similar, or could they be protein starved (eating lots of corn/scratch)?
    Honestly, it would be easiest to cull the aggressor birds- they will likely do this at some point to any bird they perceive as weak or vulnerable- as soon as whatever set them off the first two times happens again- boredom, hunger, ect.

    Darkening the nest boxes can help, so the aggressor hens cannot see anyone's pink vent when laying. Providing lots of hiding spots may help so picked on birds can get away. Putting peepers on any aggressive bird may help- keeps them from seeing straight forward. Debeaking is an unpleasant thought, but it is what is done commercially to keep closely confined battery hens from cannibalizing each other.

    I personally, if I was in your situation, would cull the cannibals- too risky to keep around and not appropriate to give to someone else. Then start over with a group of the same age that has grown up together. Plus if you can figure out what started the whole problem- space, boredom or diet- correct the underlying issue if there is one. If you bought someone else's problem birds (where did you get them by the way?)- you might not actually have an underlying issue with your coop/care.
  5. teecookie

    teecookie New Egg

    Nov 5, 2010
    Thanks so much for the rapid replies!

    After reading we let them all out in the yard again and noticed that it is not both of the reds going after our silkie, but just one. For now that red is separate so the silkie can enjoy some company.

    Culling the more aggressive is likely what we will do, growing our flock again with more pullets soon.

    Raising them as chicks and before they began laying was by far the easiest part of my chicken time!! [​IMG]

    Thanks again. [​IMG]
  6. MMPoultryFarms

    MMPoultryFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2010
    Okarche Oklahoma
    I had the same situation my best advice for you is to find the cannible. Typially it is only one of them. However once one draws blood they all join in. Observe them and Find the instigator. remove her and things should settle back down. If you got one cannible in your flock she will just continue. and if she holds high rank in peecking order then most birds will just cower and hide in corner till there dead.
  7. fourfeathers

    fourfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2008
    Western Kentucky
    I agree with everyone, the cannibal has to go or be kept separate in a pen with a large roo possibly. But, this is a bad trait. I feel lucky I have never had this happen! I keep very low numbers per coop however. My Red Sex Links are very sweet by the way. My two aggressors are two BR's that are "lowest on the totem pole" in their coop. They are the two that take out after any new ones.
  8. MMPoultryFarms

    MMPoultryFarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2010
    Okarche Oklahoma
    Quote:its funny you say that I stuck my cannible in with my meanest rooster until processing day. she lives a life of complete misery. But then again so do the 2 hens she ate the oil gland out of. All is fair in love and war they say.
  9. jadasmith99

    jadasmith99 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 17, 2009
    Hopes are high that things will work out culling the one bird and you can enjoy a happy flock once again!

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