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 Post subject: Henpecked to death
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:34 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:34 pm
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Location: Woodbridge, Tasmania
Yesterday my light sussex hens pecked their rooster to death. I was horrified, blood up the walls of the henhouse looked like a slaughterhouse, he must've seriously fought back. There is no sign of blood on any of the hens, but no way anything else could have got into the run, it is very secure. All the hens laid eggs as usual yesterday and behaved normally. When I found him he was cowering in the space under the henhouse with his head and neck pecked and covered in blood. He is twice their size and why they suddenly turned on him I have no idea. I pulled him out and made him comfortable in another shed on straw in the warm but he died overnight.
This is one rooster with 7 hens and I've had the rooster and 3 of the hens for 4 years with the other 4 hens hatched last year, all got on very well, been laying since July. They are fed premium feed and live in a huge grass run and are let out every other day to free range.
One of the older hens got picked on a bit by the rooster, she's a bit of whimp and at the bottom of the pecking order, but I never saw evidence of blood or serious injury.
Luckily I've just put eggs in the incubator so will be able to replace him with one of his offspring but I've been keeping hens with roosters for over 40 years and never had this happen before.

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Christine

Wyandottes, Light Sussex, Barnevelders and ducks.


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 Post subject: Re: Henpecked to death
PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:12 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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Could it have been an aerial attack by a bird of prey?

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I observe in fascination a worm move by peristaltic action through the freshly turned earth as I plant out my chilies. Grasping the Annelid I toss it to the waiting pack of beady-eyed vultures and watch the ensuing mayhem while laughing like a chook!


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 Post subject: Re: Henpecked to death
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 12:24 am 
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Golden Phoenix
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Location: Tarago, near Goulburn
What can happen, too, is that a bird gets a small injury, and then the other chooks get the smell/taste of blood and can have a bit of an ... um ... "feeding frenzy".

Although if the attacked him to the extent that there was blood on the walls, it seems strange there was no blood on any other birds' feathers. They don't tend to preen that sort of stuff out really quickly.

Could it have been an attack by a rat or similar? Or could he have got his head stuck in some wire and effectively scalped himself trying to extricate him from the situation?


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 Post subject: Re: Henpecked to death
PostPosted: Tue Aug 20, 2019 11:08 am 
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Joined: Fri Mar 26, 2010 6:34 pm
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Location: Woodbridge, Tasmania
Thanks for the replies, the pen is fully netted so no bird of prey could have access - I had problems with goshawks in the past which is why it is now so secure.

His wounds were obvious peck marks, I suppose a rat might've inflicted similar wounds but it was during the day time and from my experience rats hunt more at night. If it had happened at night I would have suspected quolls and we have those around, but they also usually take off the heads.

It hasn't put the hens off laying.

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Wyandottes, Light Sussex, Barnevelders and ducks.


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