Something eating my chicks legs

OrangeGrove

In the Brooder
Sep 23, 2015
34
0
22
I have 40 chicks in a 25 square metre coop, 6 weeks old. The coop is secure so I'm really at my wits end...something has completely severed one of the chicks legs. The leg is just missing. Could it be the chicks doing this? I so,bed the situation of them pecking each other and they haven't done it for a few weeks so no sign if pecking. This is the 3rd chick it's happened to. After it happened to the other 2 chicks I moved them to a larger more secure coop. I just can't believe it as the leg almost looks like it was ripped of from the body. The last chick it happened to is the biggest of the bunch and looks really healthy still despite this bad injury. I've treated it with penicillin. Please advise as I'm really desperate to know what's happening to my chicks. In the meantime I've seperated them into 2 smaller coops.
 

teach1rusl

Love My Chickens
10 Years
Jul 28, 2009
10,017
177
356
Floyds Knobs, Indiana
My Coop
My Coop
Unless you're using hardware cloth with openings of a centimeter or less, I'd say something is reaching in and grabbing them through the wire. Or, as was mentioned before, a rat could chew a leg off. But a rat couldn't get through HW cloth if secured properly, and with a solid bottom in the pen. Do you have a picture of your pens you could post for analysis/help??
 

coach723

Free Ranging
6 Years
Feb 12, 2015
6,551
10,948
611
North Florida
Reading the initial post I had the same first reaction......small rodent. They can get through incredibly small cracks and openings.
That would be my best guess for starters. Perhaps put down sticky traps or box type traps around the outside of the coop (away from the chicks, obviously), especially at night, and see if you catch anything, may take a while, and really go over your coop to look for any possible openings. If you have chicken wire, rather than small hardware cloth, it wouldn't even slow them down.
 

OrangeGrove

In the Brooder
Sep 23, 2015
34
0
22
I live in South Africa and we don't have raccoons. There was a hole of 2cm that I closed up....the only thing I could think of was a mongoose but even that wouldn't fit through the hole. I have a meerkat sanctuary so caring for animals is second nature...I def won't cull it because otherwise it's so healthy. Will make a safe enclosure for it in my greenhouse and let it out into my fenced off veg garden during the day.
 

pa2chitown

Chirping
Nov 28, 2015
130
7
51
Its toe might have been sticking out? So the entire leg was gone? If so, whatever it was, it most certainly did not enter, just played tug-of-war. :(
 

OrangeGrove

In the Brooder
Sep 23, 2015
34
0
22
The most puzzling thing is that this is the 3rd chick it's happened to. After the first two I moved them all to a more secure coop. This coop has concrete walls on all sides and fine mesh on the roof! It's such a mystery I just wish I knew what happened. :(
 

Teila

Bambrook Bantams
6 Years
Apr 15, 2013
16,612
26,055
1,026
Forrest Beach, FNQ, Australia
Hey OrangeGrove

Up until you said you moved them to a more secure coop after the second two, I was thinking that maybe they were trapping their leg in a joint or gap or corner or something but seen as it is happening in the new coop with number three, very strange
hmm.png


I can’t image anything getting in through concrete walls to pull off a leg or down through fine mesh on the roof.

Still on the ‘accidental injury’ train of thought, what have you moved across from the old coop to the new coop, besides the chicks? Maybe a list or pictures of what you have moved may give us a hint as to what, if anything, might be causing accidental injury?

I am not saying that predator is not still an option, just trying to scope out any other possibilities.
 

OrangeGrove

In the Brooder
Sep 23, 2015
34
0
22
There's literally nothing I've moved across as they're now on regular self feeders and waterers. The first time it happened I thought it got it's leg stuck in a crate that was in the first coop. But now there's no crate. Anyway it would be more like an injury and the leg would be broken or lying somewhere. This looks like it's ripped from the body. I just hope it doesn't happen again.
 

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