Two Mysterious Deaths...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by chickenlady1963, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. chickenlady1963

    chickenlady1963 New Egg

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    May 15, 2013
    About four months ago we found Brandy Rhode Island Red dead in the hen house...no apparent injuries appeared to be a broken neck? We thought maybe she got pushed or fell off the perch and broke her neck...no feathers no sign of a struggle. She was a more dominant hen...very friendly to us liked to be picked up, eat out of our hands etc...seemed to dominate over Evelyn the Easter Egger though..whenever Sassy our rooster would mount Evelyn, Brandy would peck at her. Her death was upsetting to us, but Evelyn seemed to benefit from it...not hiding as much...however Evelyn is still Sassy's "favorite" lots of missing back feathers. Then today I found Snowy-a rescued battery farm white leghorn dead in the yard...still warm...no blood..also appears to be a broken neck...possibly little specks of fresh blood on her waddle from being mounted. Upon examination, It appears her mating parts were out...not sure if they come out after death automatically in some sort of muscle relaxation, or whether she died while mating? I am leaning towards Sassy our Giant Buff Cochin Rooster being the culprit but I don't want to assign blame since I didn't see it happen. The hens like him but if he gives them they eye they run from him and usually escape unmated. Evelyn runs and screams but will lay down if he gets about two feet away and let him mount her. She is the only one that lays down for him, consequently she is missing a lot of feathers. We are backyard chicken keepers, the chickens have the run of our backyard and hen house during the day and then we lock them up in the hen house for their protection at night. Originally we had four hens, concerned for Evelyn being over mated, we rescued two more hens, bringing our total hen count to six hoping Sassy would find them attractive and give poor Evelyn a break...Didn't work out that way...occasional trysts with the others but Evelyn is still his favorite ('cause she is an easy lay is my guess!). After Brandy's death down to five hens, now Snowy is gone and we are down to four...I don't know what to do I don't want to keep getting more hens if they are going to be raped and killed!
     
  2. chickenlady1963

    chickenlady1963 New Egg

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    May 15, 2013
    Has anybody else had broken neck deaths for unapparent reasons? Could it be Sassy the rooster being a little too rough? If so what is the solution?
     
  3. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    I've had a few broken necks, but they've all occurred inside the coop- so I figured they got spooked and fell/flew into a wall.
    I suppose if your hens are very small and your rooster is very large (which most LF Cochin boys are), he could be to blame. Perhaps if he's is very large and the hens struggle when he mounts them, he's inadvertently breaking their neck. But, that seems like a stretch since I would think they'd simply loose a few feathers, does he grab onto their combs maybe?
    Perhaps its a fox that keeps getting interrupted?

    Either way, if you have a secure run I would lock them in it to discourage predators if that's what's happening. And you should really consider rehoming or at least separating your rooster for a while. It really sounds like your girls could use a break and you don't have enough hens to keep him satisfied. My LF Cochin boys (2) looked after 25 girls, and that was a fine number for them. Good luck.
     
  4. chickenlady1963

    chickenlady1963 New Egg

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    May 15, 2013
    Thanks for the suggestion...we live in the middle of the city of Reno NV so it's most likely not a fox...we do have raccoons though coming up from the river via the storm drains. This recent death happened at two in the afternoon so I'm guessing not a raccoon....Sassy does grab them by their combs...except for Evelyn she has a pea comb so he grabs her by the neck/head feathers. I had no intention of having a rooster...but when you get chicks it's the luck of the draw...wish we had room for 25 hens but I think the neighbors would start complaining-so far they have been very tolerant of the crowing.
     
  5. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    Don't count out raccoons simply because its day time. Some of them are still caring for young, and they are all preparing for winter. Its not uncommon to see them roaming during the day this time of year.
    And living in the middle of a city doesn't mean you don't have critters. I see foxes, coons and a whole host of other things while driving thru our nearest city. When we destroy habitats to build cities, animals will adapt...
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013

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