Rooster Eating Baby Chicks :'(

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Gander, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. Gander

    Gander New Egg

    What to do, our rooster is eating our baby chicks, he got to 3 before we had noticed what was happening and we separated the mother and the remaining chicks, is this normal behaviour? Is there anyway to stop this from happening without getting rid of the rooster? Or if we were to replace the rooster will this happen again?
  2. Syharrison

    Syharrison Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 7, 2011
    i'd keep the chicks seperate for the first 6 weeks or so until they're big enough, and then you have the dilemma of the rooster attacking any males in the future, they could have been runts he was trying to protect his flock by killing but this is a dilemma i think most people face i certainly have
  3. Highlander

    Highlander Tartan Terror

    Oct 1, 2008
    Is he the father of the chicks? That's not the kind of roo I would want around and especially not passing those kind of bloodlines down to future generations. I had a broody hen that ate the chicks as they hatched, we culled her. It's obviously your decision but I would not keep him around, there are plenty other roos that would be a better flock leader IMO.
  4. RareBreedFancier

    RareBreedFancier Surrounded by Broodies

    Nov 5, 2010
    Australia :)
    I'm sorry, that's an awful thing to happen. [​IMG] Sadly it's not unusual for other adults to attack the chicks, that's what it's recommended to separate the broody hen. The best thing you can do is keep her separate now till her chicks are at least 4wo or more, 6wo+ is better.

    I currently have several rabbit hutches in my main layer pen with broody hens and their chicks in them. Once the chicks are big enough I just open the door and let momma take her chicks out. Because they have still been in the run together I haven't had a problem with reintroducing the hen to the flock and since everyone has seen the chicks for weeks they don't harass them to much.

    Good luck with your babies and I hope they all stay safe.
  5. bargain

    bargain Love God, Hubby & farm Premium Member

    Apr 13, 2008
    Bowdon, GA
    The only rooster I would trust with the Mamma and babies would be our Silkie roosters who also take an active role in parenting the young...

    Generally the reintroduction of hen and babies can also bring on "a pecking" order which is instinctual.... The pecking to establish dominance. The babies obviously caused a pecking syndrome.

    i'm so sorry.... I would definitely keep mamma and babies apart at least 8 to 10 weeks and then sit and watch them at least an hour to see how the other hens and rooster behave!
  6. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer Premium Member

    May 11, 2010
    If space is limited you will see cannibalism. Those tiny chicks are perfect food for predators and that includes fellow flock members.

    If a flock free ranges you will see the broody automatically keep her young from aggressive members of the flock. But in a place where there are 'corners' to entrap the victim, preying on the weak is easy.

    Find a safe place to allow the brood to grow, and at about 6 weeks of age add them to existing flock. Remove the predatory rooster if you have to.
  7. planetman

    planetman New Egg

    Feb 11, 2012
    Butler, Pa
    I would keep the rooster and what ever hens you want fertile eggs from separate. that way everyones happy and everyone gets along without getting rid of your flock members.
  8. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    You ask is that normal behavior. I would say no. It is not normal for the rooster to cannibalize the chicks. As was said, that is something I definitely would not want passed down to a son. That rooster would be history with me. Now I did have a Doberman ***** eat her pups before I even got to them. She also had a prolapsed uterus. So maybe they were deformed in some way,and that was natures way of getting rid of the weak. I don't know, but I suppose it's feasible for chickens to do the same. But I still do not feel that is normal behavior. [​IMG]
  9. RhodeRunner

    RhodeRunner Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 22, 2009
    Ashtabula, Ohio
    It is normal for birds to peck at newcomers, but eating the chicks isn't. I wouldn't blame just the rooster, as momma hen clearly wasn't doing her job. When a broody re-enters a flock she usually goes in with her feathers puffed out, and beats up any chicken (roosters included) that dares to look at her babies the wrong way. This is done so that the other chickens know the babies are hers, and that they have the same status as she does. Since, your hen can't protect her chicks, it is best that you separate her from the flock.
  10. FuzzyButtsFarm

    FuzzyButtsFarm Rest in Peace 1950-2013

    That is not normal behavior. I have only had three broodies. Neither breed has been known for broodiness. BSL and two Tetra tints. All three raised there chicks in a flock setting to the age of 7 - 8 wks. None of the other chickens bothered the chicks not even the roo. You have two choices. Keep broodies apart or get rid of the roo.

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