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Cannibal Chicken!

Craig Dobbelyu


Joined: Dec 22, 2011
Posts: 928
Location: Maine (zone 5)
    
  30
Here's the history:

I've got 24 1week old chicks: 5 RIR, 11 Barred Rock, a mystery chicken and ( I assume) 7 Cornish Rock crosses.

I paid for the reds, barred and the mystery bird. The Crosses were packed in the box with the others at the store so they just gave them to me. I guess they ship them for extra warmth in the box. I suspect that they are also roosters.
All was well up til today when suddenly one of the Crosses decided to Cannibalize a couple of the Barred rocks. I was only out for an hour or so but the cannibal managed to draw blood on the vents of both birds as well as do some damage to one's wing.
I separated the injured birds first and watched to see what happened. The offending Cross began picking at another Barred Rock. I noticed that some of the others were getting interested in what was going on so I quickly culled the cannibal from the flock. I feel bad about it but it had to be done. I don't have the resources to house all these birds separately so now that one is in the compost bin.

They have plenty of food, water, the temp is ideal and they have a couple clods of sod to pick at. They are in an area about 20 Square feet until the weather improves.

So...

The injured birds are resting in a safe place with food and water. Despite the damaged vents, they are both pooping and the bleeding has stopped. Is there any hope of them recovering and being able to return to the flock? My intention was to raise most of these birds for meat, so egg laying is not a concern in this case.

I was thinking about placing a divider between the Crosses and the rest of the birds. They are a little bigger than the rest and they seem to be lurking around looking for someone to pick on.

Any help or advice would be very appreciated.

Thanks folks


"You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result”

-Gandhi
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6440
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
133
It's good that you culled him. If the others keep watching it, they will eventually join in the chaos.

Putting a divider between the two flocks should do the trick (if they cannot see each other). The Cornish X's grow so fast that they can raise havoc when they try to establish pecking order with a smaller breed. He wanted to be King of the Mountain, now he's King of the Compost Heap (where he belongs).

Most people will tell you that it is overcrowding, or under feeding that cause it (which it often is), but sometimes, you just get a 'bad egg'. With the guilty party behind bars (or under leaves and grass clippings), hopefully the crisis is over.

Craig Dobbelyu


Joined: Dec 22, 2011
Posts: 928
Location: Maine (zone 5)
    
  30
It seems now that everything is OK. I'll be adding a small divider for the Cornies. Hopefully the injured birds will be ok. They are eating, drinking and pooping. They are preening the injured areas and seem to be on the road to recovery.

I'm going to wait til they are fully healed before attempting to return them to the flock. What are the chances that they'll be well received by the others?
John Polk
steward

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6440
Location: Moving to: NE Washington USDA zone 5 Western steppes to the Rockies
    
133
In a flock, chickens that get separated will be remembered by the others. if returned within a couple of weeks. Due to their young age, they may not remember them well. Regardless, they may need to reestablish the pecking order.

Never reintroduce a bird that has bloody parts showing.
Hens see this as a weakness, and feel compelled to eliminate "it" from their flock.
Survival instincts are not always pretty to see as an outsider.

 
 
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