Why did Mama hen peck some of her chicks to death?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sunny Side Up, May 5, 2008.

  1. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    A few days ago my friend had got a very pleasant surprise -- a bantam hen that had gone missing returned with FOURTEEN new baby chicks! She thought some critter had gotten this hen, instead she had been hiding out in the woods brooding this clutch.

    My friend secured them all in a pen to keep them safe from the Raccoon Mafia that rules their neighborhood. However, she found 2 or 3 chicks dead one evening, with mortal peck wounds on the sides of their heads. This hen & her chicks are the only birds in this pen, no other chickens share it.

    What would make a Mama hen do something like this? Is there a way to prevent it from happening again, or should they just let Nature take its course?

    My friend & I, and the chicks, appreciate your imput. Thank you.
  2. Sorry I can't really help out in this department as I haven't had any baby chicks hatch yet!!!

    But I know my mom every once in a while will end up with a momma that will peck at a few until they are dead. I dno't know why they do this. Maybe they know something about those babies that we don't.

    I am sure someone else with more knowledge than I will help you out with your question...

  3. bigzio

    bigzio Crowing

    Jan 20, 2007
    Chances are the space was too small once they were penned up, or other stressful conditions that caused mom to feel she had more than enough to care for.

    Great broody mom's are priceless, and their ability to care for the young is nothing less than a blessing.

    It's hard to figure some situations out sometimes....try and learn is all one can do sometimes.

    I hope the balance of the brood remain safe and calm with mom.

  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    If a hen senses something is not right about the chicks she will cull them herself.
  5. jjthink

    jjthink Crowing

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    Poor babies - seems such an awful way to go though. Nature can certainly be more ghastly than I'd like.

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