Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CHICKENS! HELP!

I don't have any pictures today. I am so glad that I wasn't even home to see the eviscerated hen. We don't know why she died, so we don't know if the other hens killed and ate her or she died first and they ate her. Alex went out to feed the girls and get eggs. She found a hen shell. There were only bones and wings. The chickens are well fed. The get all they can eat of layer pellets. We give them cracked corn at night. I have noticed that they are not eating their layer pellets lately. The will eat all of the corn given. We try to give them fresh veggies but that is limited due to cost. I called the feed store and they recommended that we switch to a different texture layer pellet and a block of compressed feed/seed. I'm heading there first thing after I get off work in the morning. I went out before I left for work and gave them a whole box of Chex Rice cereal, a whole loaf of stale bread and 2 whole acorn squash. Maybe it was overkill, no pun intended, but I really can't stand it when they do things like this. Does anyone have any other ideas?

3 comments:

~~~~~~Tonia said...

Was looking around at blogs and came across yours.. I have had similar experience and I knew the hen was acting funny and she died in the night and they ate her.. But I am pretty sure she was dead first.. SO sorry about it though..
I switched to Gamebird starter crumbles and poultry grains.. I have 45 hens and they go thru 1 bag of each a week in th eiwnter and less in the summer. It has no meds added to it either like chick starter They also free range too.. Good Luck

Peggy said...

When a hen dies the instinct of the others is to peck at it and get rid of it. They don't usually kill another hen though if one is down or really sick they will start pecking on it to get rid of it.

farm mom said...

Ugh! How horrible! I am so sorry, guys! Do as much as you can to up the protein. I know corn, scrath grains and carbs help keep the chickens warm, but chickens need their protein, and often times if they don't have enough, they will eat their own eggs, poop, feathers, pick eachother and if a wound presents itself, cannibalize.

You need to be very vigilant now. Go out and observe. See anyone following other hens around? See any feather eating or vent picking going on? Even the smallest bloody spot on a comb or wattle can spell disaster.

You may be right, in that she was dead before the act happened. But it does not take chickens long to completely disembowel another hen, particularly if she has had an issue laying or a prolapsed vent.

I hear that some people feed dry cat food to their hens to help increase the protein. I also like to hang cabbages and other produce just at their face level to help with boredom (which leads to picking). I also put a whole straw bale in their coop so they can scratch it all up themselves.

Good luck, and if there's anything else I can do to help, please let me know!