Scalped Chicks

bizzylizard

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
13
1
24
Lenox, Michigan
400


400


Why do hens scalp their chicks!? I had at least a dozen hatch in the last 3 weeks, 6 are doing great! Hanging out with mom, eating, running around. The others are getting scalped as they hatch! I have to run out multiple times a day to remove any new babies. What is causing this?? The chicks seem completely fine after hatching and I can't imagine over half the group has hidden or underlying health problems that made mom feel like killing them...
 

sarahswank

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 25, 2013
180
12
88
Garden City, Kansas
Who is doing the scalping? did you seperate the mom and chicks so the rest of your flock cant get to them? If it is for sure mom, I would be banning her from ever raising chicks again!

rereading your post, is this coming from different groups of hens or one hen who is hatching out a cluch that is lasting 3 weeks?
 

bizzylizard

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
13
1
24
Lenox, Michigan
I had 4 hens that decided to nest in one box. 3 weeks ago, the eggs started hatching. One of my bantam cochins jumped out of the box and started caring for the 6 new baby chicks, leaving the 3 other hens with the eggs. I found 4 scalped and dead over the next week but I thought they were being born that way and kicked out of the box, cause mom was doing great with the other 6. More eggs hatched over the weekend and it seems like one of the 3 hens is scalping the babies and kicking them out of the box. I kept going out and finding new babies shivering under the box with their heads all bloody. Because I thought they were being born that way I left a few perfect looking chicks out there only to come back out to (thankfully just a little) a bloody little head.I'm raising them all inside now, I can't believe some are surviving! This must happen in just minutes! I haven't seen anyone picking at them and I'm out there constantly.
 

sarahswank

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 25, 2013
180
12
88
Garden City, Kansas
I had 4 hens that decided to nest in one box. 3 weeks ago, the eggs started hatching. One of my bantam cochins jumped out of the box and started caring for the 6 new baby chicks, leaving the 3 other hens with the eggs. I found 4 scalped and dead over the next week but I thought they were being born that way and kicked out of the box, cause mom was doing great with the other 6. More eggs hatched over the weekend and it seems like one of the 3 hens is scalping the babies and kicking them out of the box. I kept going out and finding new babies shivering under the box with their heads all bloody. Because I thought they were being born that way I left a few perfect looking chicks out there only to come back out to (thankfully just a little) a bloody little head.I'm raising them all inside now, I can't believe some are surviving! This must happen in just minutes! I haven't seen anyone picking at them and I'm out there constantly.
If the mom with 6 chicks is still able to get to the next box, it is very likely her. She doesnt see the other chick as hers and is trying to kill the "competition." She wants her chicks to have the best survival chances. Not all chickens are going to be this aggresive to other chicks, but you very well might have one that is. I would start by taking the mom and six chicks and seperateing her.

If your definately sure it isnt her your going to have one of 3 options. Take the remaining eggs and incubate them out for the last of the days and just raise them in the brooder, keep doing your daily runs out to rescue chicks, or set up a webcam or a video camera so you can review the footage to figure out which of your 3 hens needs to get kicked off the nest and not let to brood again.
 

sarahswank

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 25, 2013
180
12
88
Garden City, Kansas
I would also suggest in the future to seperate your broodies fairly early from eachother and other hens. A staggard hatch isnt totally unusual, but I dont believe you want them to keep hatching out over several weeks (and it sounds like it has been atleast a week already). You likely had hens laying eggs in the nest boxes near a broody and she kept taking the new eggs under her.
 

ChickenLegs13

Songster
6 Years
Sep 4, 2013
1,401
194
143
Lower Alabama
Since they're still coming out the nesting box beat up that exonerates the first hatch chochin hen. Apparently 1 or all of the 3 remaining nesting hens see the each other's hatchlings as intruders and drive them from the nest.
You need to separate & manage your broodys and their nests to prevent this.
Put some triple antibotic cream or neosporin on your injured chicks heads and they should heal up quickly and be fine.
 

bizzylizard

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 18, 2013
13
1
24
Lenox, Michigan
Great advice everyone! I really appreciate it! Marked all the eggs, removing the new ones and rescuing new hatches til they hatch through :) The scalped ones are looking great. I guess I'll have to set up a heat lamp outside this winter
 

MANNA-PRO

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