RIR--- issues with chickens dying

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by mikejfl, Nov 2, 2014.

  1. mikejfl

    mikejfl New Egg

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    I started out with 2 hens that were laying, then I got 7 more that were about 3 months old ( to young to tell the sex yet), totally 9.

    After about 6 weeks we lost one ( which I know is survival of the fittest) and can be expected. The younger ones are now about 7 months old. I could tell that 2 of them were going to be roosters, one roo matured faster than the other and could tell he was mounting the hens and was mounting to often and is to rough. A few weeks ago another hen started to lay, so I was averaging 2 to 3 eggs a day. Now that the roo started mounting, the egg production died down to about 1 maybe 2 a day. One of my mature laying hens lost most of her tail feathers and a couple days later died and was eaten by the other chickens.

    so I decided to get rid of him, since I had another roo (still immature). So now down to 5 hens and 1 roo (6total).

    Two of the hens which were mounted by the roo had messed up tail feathers (no big deal they will grow back) (one of the laying hens and 1 younger)

    A couple days ago I noticed a couple broken eggs in the coop. Nothing to worry about, sometimes the other hens step on them or break them.

    I came home today after being gone for a day and a half to find another hen had died and eaten by the other chickens. There were two broke eggs in the nest again. One of the original laying hens ( still messed up tail feathers) and another hen has the front of her neck become bare, like being picked on/pecked.

    My coop (10x10) with 6 nestng boxes (which they currently only use 1 of the nesting boxes to lay eggs) and they have a very large run (10x30)....


    Suggestions on what I need to do with the 2 hens ( messed up tail feather & other with front of neck) ... Should I be concerned? What about the broken eggs in the nesting boxes? Haven't collected eggs in seems like a week or so now with all that's been going on over the last few weeks
     
  2. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons Premium Member

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    Sorry about all your losses and problems![​IMG] I really don't know what to tell as as far as how they died and what to do with the hens.

    The eggs probably broke because either the nests are too small or there were more than one hen in the nest and they stepped on them. Try and put fake eggs in the nest and either make the nests bigger so a single hen can fit or make them smaller so more than one hen can't easily fit.

    Good luck!
     
  3. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine are about naked from moulting and that also causes egg production to dwindle off for a bit. The dying though is not from that. Without knowing any symptoms it is hard to guess. Watch them closely for behaviors that indicate sickness. Check them well for any body parasites. Could they need worming? Do they feel thin? Eggs breaking can be from molting issues or low calcium. What are they eating?
     
  4. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Another puzzle is to find out if the chickens are sick/injured & dying and then being eaten OR if the others are KILLING them and eating them? Chickens are cannibalistic - if they are very crowded and stressed this is how they can behave. I would remove the rooster until you see what is actually going on here.

    Are the birds dying over night or in broad daylight? Birds often get attacked inside the coop but chickens are opportunists and if they find a dead body, will be happy to devour it. I'm wondering if the rooster has been seriously overbreeding them which can damage or cause the hen's death.
     
  5. mikejfl

    mikejfl New Egg

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    Nov 2, 2014
    Colorado chick --- thanks, boxes are a perfect size for the hens, usually only one at a time in next when laying egg (always lay in same box, use to leave eggs for a day or so) just since issues the last couple weeks have the eggs been broken.

    Welasharon --- could be molting,, No patsies , not thin , good source of calcium and they are healthy not sick... Over all good health and great feed

    Drumstick diva --- They are not sick, injured, crowded or stressed ( see above for coop & run size---very large).. Time of day.???? Since they sleep at night -- then the answer is during the day... No predators ... Regarding the rooster , please reread my post, will answer your question/ statement
     
  6. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! Are you free feeding them? If the hens with missing feathers have bare spots / are being picked on, you might want to spray them with Blu-kote or separate them. You might take a good look at your coop area and see if you have any places a predator could be getting in. Two dead hens that were "eaten" sounds a lot more like predators than other chickens, possums etc will eat eggs and birds.
     
  7. mikejfl

    mikejfl New Egg

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    Another one killed this morning. I checked in them last night and there was 5. This morning around 6:30am when I checked in the there was only 4. My last producing hen was in the coop dead on the floor. Couldn't make out her head but her neck was still there and featherless, her chest/Brest was bare of feathers too. I have checked the coop and pin area for any signs of entry. Didn't look like anything ate any meat or guts.... ( North East Florida). There are no holes dug anywhere under the fence or coop ( fence is buried in the ground about 8"). I have checked for any signed of tracks too. Not sure what is getting at them?
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2014
  8. welasharon

    welasharon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would remove the rest of them from there until you can figure out what is getting in. What kind of fencing do you have? It doesn't take much of a crack for predators to get through. Do you have pics of your setup?
     
  9. mikejfl

    mikejfl New Egg

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    Thanks but I don't have any other place to put them. The main coop is wood frame/plywood with one side had a couple layers of chicken wire. The run itself is chain-link fence with 2x4 wire mesh on top
     
  10. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Weasels, mink, and raccoons will pull off the heads leaving the bodies. The first 2 can get through chain link easy, and also chicken wire. If there is no top on the run, raccoons can easily climb over. Some rats will go after the meat o chickens rather than the feed. At first it sounded as though it was an aggressive hen or rooster, but it could be a predator. I would spend some time with them watching their behavior for bullying. Your rooster needs to go unless you add more hens. He should have at least 10 hens, or the hens will always have feather loss, and you don't need a rooster for eggs of course. Chickens will peck at eggs if they are not removed from nest boxes. If they taste of them by accidentally breaking one, they will continue to break them. 1/2 inch hardware cloth is predator-proof. Hatchery RIR are not pure RIR, but production reds, and they can be aggressive, while old time RIR are very docile birds. Sorry for lost.
     

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