Two dead chickens

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by JimZ, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. JimZ

    JimZ New Egg

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    Jan 21, 2011
    We recently lost two chickens to what we believe is a predator but are not sure. Both chickens (one each day) were eviscerated but were not eaten. They both survived for a while but had to be put down because their intestines had prolapsed outside their bodies. This seemed to happen between 3 and 4 PM. The coop and run are securely protected by strong metal wire on the sides and top and the bottom is secured with a chicken wire skirt buried about an inch down in frozen ground and snow. There is no sign of forced entry or tracks in the snow. The other chickens had blood on their heads. I have heard that they are attracted to blood. I'm hoping that I don't have a cannibal chicken in the flock. I started with 6 chickens and they all were raised together since they were 1 day old. Both dead chickens were of the same breed (australopes) while the remaining chickens are all different breeds. Any ideas?
     
  2. Baymule

    Baymule Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Northeast Texas
    Haven't had that happen to me. Anybody else????
     
  3. annie3001

    annie3001 My Girls

    Jun 11, 2009
    Ct.
    sorry for you loss. [​IMG]
     
  4. msdoolittle

    msdoolittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 28, 2009
    To me, it sounds like you are dealing with hens attacking a prolapsed hen. Was it a rectal prolapse? As in the intestines coming out of their rears? Are they of laying age? Or was there actually a rip in the muscle/skin? It could be that the hens prolapsed naturally (it happens, though 2 in one flock within 2 days is pretty odd) and the other chickens would definitely peck the intestines. Yes, it's totally gross, I know. I have had a couple of hens to prolapse and I have had to put them down.

    Another possibility is the cannibalistic hen theory. I had 5 RIR chicks together last year. One day I came to check on them, and the other chicks had almost tore out one chick's rectum. I put them on a red light (so they couldn't differentiate the blood from anything else) and doctored this hen's rear. She did survive though she is not 'normal'. Her bottom stays a little dirty, which you can only imagine if your rear end had been butchered!

    Since the other hens heads were bloody (and I'm assuming no cuts/lacerations on the head, correct?), they were obviously pecking on these two prolapsed guys.

    Sounds like you have some detective work to do! Hope you find the instigator!!!
     
  5. JimZ

    JimZ New Egg

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    Jan 21, 2011
    Thanks for the info. The dead hens had their abdomens sliced open. The intestines hung out of the wound. Their rectums were not touched. We have seperated them in the daytime and are keeping them together in the henhouse during the night with lights off and a flat panel heater on. The fourth hen (a blue cochin) is being kept in the house until some of her feathers grow back . Looks like some feathers around her rectum were pulled out but there is no sign of a wound. A predator will be easier to deal with than this cannabalism thing.
     
  6. msdoolittle

    msdoolittle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 28, 2009
    Wow. Interesting. Keep us posted!

    Oh yes, cannibalism and egg eating are a nightmare.
     
  7. JimZ

    JimZ New Egg

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    Jan 21, 2011
    It looks like I may have found the answer. While inspecting the coop and the pen area for clues, I discovered a sharp stick pointing up about 4 inches under the middle of the coop. I believe that the hens impaled themselves and may have ripped themselves open trying to escape. The other hens then went after the blood and made things worse. I have since crawled under and cut the stick down to the ground. It was probably just a coincidence that it happened two days in a row. The stick was probably stiffer due to the arctic temperatures we have had for the past few days. After cutting the stick down and looking at it, there was traces of blood on it. Hopefully this is what caused the two deaths and not a predator or cannabalism. A totally preventable accident. The remaining hens seem to get along fine. No sign of trouble. Thanks for everyone's concern.
     

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