Why did they attack it?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jak2002003, Aug 18, 2014.

  1. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    10 chicks hatched under a broody 2 days ago. All were doing great.

    Today I heard on chicks cheeping a lot.. so I went to take a look at them.

    I found one bleeding from both its wings.

    The other chicks (or mother hen) have stripped the back of each of its wings or all the fluff and emerging feathers and both wings are covered in blood.. It also has small wounds under each 'arm pit' area.

    Its the only chick that this has happened too. All the other are perfect.

    Why did this happen? Why the wings and why both of them?

    In the past I sometimes has a chick or pullet get a bit plucked around the base of its tail. But never any blood or lasting damage.

    I have taken it out and housed it with 'old faithful' mother hen who just loves any babies.. and she is doing a great job as a foster mum.

    The chicks seems very bright and I am sure its going to recover.

    I was just shocked that this happened and don't understand why.

    Is there anything I can do to prevent this happening again? Can I put something in the pen to keep them occupied pecking at?

    Thanks.
     
  2. brunettedixie

    brunettedixie Just Hatched

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    Unfortunately, it's not entirely uncommon for chicks to do stuff like that. They're kind of cannibals sometimes [​IMG] I know tractor supply has a spray that reduces cannibalism!

    Hope your little guy gets better :)
     
  3. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    I found out its the mother hen doing the damage.. not the chicks.
    [​IMG]
    This morning I heard another chick squeaking, and I looked out the window.. to see the mother hen pecking it, shaking it, and throwing it into the air... almost like she is trying to pull its wings off!!!!
    [​IMG]
    I went out and took the mother out from the chicks pen. She has injured another chick badly.. and 2 most have blood on their tiny wings.

    I have no idea what caused this hen to start attacking her own chicks.

    I am luck to have another hen that is very maternal and placid. She was looking after the first chick that got attacked. Now she is in with all the other chicks and taking care of them.
    [​IMG]
    The real mother hen is going crazy trying to get back in the pen. She has been a mother several times before and never showed this aggressive behaviour to her chicks.

    Maybe it is because she has 10 chicks and its too much for her so she is trying to kill some off? She normally only has about 4 chicks each time.

    Now I have to watch that the other chicks don't start to peck at the blood on the wings of their brothers and sisters. I have a day off work today.. so I am going to be keeping a close eye on them all day.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    Update...

    All the chicks are healed up.. and none of the other chicks pecked at the blood on the wings.

    The foster mother is doing a great job as usual.. and, thankfully, there is no lasting damage to the chicks wings.. even the feathers are growing back.

    They are tough little things.
     
  5. ktn65

    ktn65 Out Of The Brooder

    I am glad to hear things are working out.

    So I am curious of the mother would be okay with just 3 or 4 chicks?

    But I'm not sure I would want to risk that experiment. [​IMG]
     
  6. brunettedixie

    brunettedixie Just Hatched

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    I'm glad they're doing okay!
     
  7. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think animals sometimes get the human equivalent of post-partum depression. That may be what happened to your hen. Glad you had a "fix". Foster mom animals are great! They remind me of humans who adopt all the orphan kids they can and raise them as their own. I've seen female horses reject their foals - it's rare, but it happens. We had a mare that had lost her foal and still had milk. She was HAPPY to have the rejected foal, and raised it as her own. The other mare never even acted like she missed it. Weird.
     
  8. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    I think you are right about the post partum depression..... That hen acted very stressed and angry and was always 'on edge' and flighty. I think she took out her frustration by trying to pull her chicks wings off.

    She gets to see her chicks all day.. through the wire of the pen.... Maybe when they are older I can let them out to free range with all the others... see what she does.
     
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Something like voice change made so hen did not recognize that chick. Voice overrides visual. Second hen not so picky.
     
  10. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    From time to time and for whatever reason, hens reject their own chicks. If you'll pay attention to the 6:00PM news you'll also find out that this behavior is not THAT rare in humans.

    As I've said before I can not divine any rhyme or reason for a hen acting like this, they just do is the best and only answer that I can provide..
     

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