What is wrong with my chickens??

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by chickenology, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. chickenology

    chickenology Chillin' With My Peeps

    106
    0
    99
    Dec 3, 2010
    Ohio
    Very strange event occurred today in my back yard. I came home this afternoon at 3pm, and from the driveway glanced into the backyard at the three pens of chickens and one pen of guineas. I saw a Coopers Hawk perched on top of the door to the guinea's pen looking down into the pen. All of the pens are uncovered (for now), and three out of four of the pens had chickens/guineas lounging around. (THe fourth pen is my growout coop, and the 6 week olds are kept in the coop when I am not home to watch them.) As the scene appeared very peaceful from the driveway, and all of the chickens/guineas were outside, I assumed (hoped) that I had arrived home in the knick of time. I was wrong. When I got closer to the coops, the hawk flew off and I saw the pile of feathers and carcass inside the bantam's pen. The chickens in the pen were feeding off of the carcass.

    So what is wrong with my chickens? A predator had attacked and killed one of their own, was still present, and all they can do is gawk and grab a bite to eat??? The pen that was attacked had two roosters present (apparently didn't get the warning out in time), and the group is always very cohesive. The pullet that was killed was very sweet and friendly, I am sad that she is gone. But I am really angry at my chickens for having such little concern and not learning that hawk = scary danger. [​IMG] Has anyone else seen a response to a hawk attack like this?

    I know the hawk will be back, and have moved the remaining four bantams to the coop with the largest pen which is under the cover of trees and has more protected areas, including a narrow space under the coop where they can go. Looks like this weekend we will be working on the coops (again). I think I will let the guineas free range tomorrow, as they seem to have more sense when a large bird flies overhead - they see it and run for cover. There is no cover in their pen, only the coop which they don't go into very often during the day, so I am thinking they will be safer on their own.[​IMG]
     
  2. Muggsmagee

    Muggsmagee Menagerie Mama

    4,493
    15
    236
    Dec 15, 2009
    Central NY
    I really don't think chickens can help themselves. They will pick at an open wound on a flockmate, or at a carcass. They may have done it because they were bored or curious, but they are not above eating their own kind.
     
  3. NovaAman

    NovaAman Overrun With Chickens

    Oh I am so sorry. I had a hawk attack take out a silkie today...

    But you just cracked me up. Chickenses can really be... Well, what do you get when you breed a duh and a duduh together? A duh duhda! IE chickenses.
     
  4. Baymule

    Baymule Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,106
    97
    226
    Jul 1, 2010
    Northeast Texas
    Hmmm.....where to start. Some animals are horrified at the demise of one of their group and will quake in fear at being locked in close proximity with the carcass. Then there pigs and chickens. They both may be frightened at the moment, but faced with the prospect of a good meal for themselves, they will definately grab lunch. Chickens are opportunists. When and where they find a meal, they eat. Pigs are the same way. Don't faint and fall down in a chicken coop or a pig pen.

    We sometimes have tendencies to put human emotions on our pets. I do it myself, then I have to remember the nature of the animal I am dealing with and "speak their language". Animals just don't have that EEEEEWWWWWW factor the way we do. It is quite possible the opportunity to consume protein outweighed the fear of the hawk as well.
     
  5. chickenology

    chickenology Chillin' With My Peeps

    106
    0
    99
    Dec 3, 2010
    Ohio
    Yes, it wasn't so much that the chickens were eating the dead one, but that they were doing it with the hawk perched on the run door watching (or maybe it was making tomorrow's lunch plans). The complete lack of fear of the hawk was what really shocked me. I just got this sickening feeling that the hawk and chickens were comrades and would be sharing more meals together in the future.
     
  6. Matthew3590

    Matthew3590 Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,087
    19
    178
    Apr 10, 2011
    Middle, TN
    Quote:Conspiracy theory I tell you! Soon they will come after you!

    they killed the messenger.
     
  7. Enchanted Sunrise Farms

    Enchanted Sunrise Farms Overrun With Chickens

    4,256
    31
    274
    Apr 26, 2007
    Fair Oaks, California
    My suggestion is to get those pens covered. All you need are a couple rolls of aviary/deer netting over the top to prevent ariel attacks. That won't stop night time predators, so hopefully you have secure coops for everyone to sleep in.

    Chickens are omnivores and opportunistic eaters. i think once they saw the blood, it was an instinctual thing to peck at it. i love my chickens, but do acknowledge that are descended from dinosaurs.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2011
  8. mammat

    mammat Chillin' With My Peeps

    473
    11
    143
    Mar 29, 2009
    columbus ohio
    I am having the exact opposite going on. I had our first chicken killed by a hawk this past sunday morning. The other chickens will not come out of the coop. They food is on the covered front porch of their coop so they will come out to eat and drink and then go back in. I cant believe we are on day 4 after the attack and they still wont come out!. They come out when I am out but as soon as we go away they all go back in the coop. I did not think they had that long of a memory. I am beginning to get worried. I do not think it is normal for them to stay cooped 24 hours a day. Nobody appears ill and act quite normal when I am out there with them. We have 14 all around 22 weeks and 2 are roos. Maybe they see something I dont............
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2011
  9. chkn

    chkn Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,664
    10
    131
    Jun 27, 2010
    Just be thankful you are bigger than the chickens!!! [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by