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Can Chickens Kill Each Other? (Why and What to Do)

Can Chickens Kill Each Other? (Why and What to Do)

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The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care. In addition, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Having chickens on your property has the potential to be a lot of fun. Some people like raising chickens so that they can have fresh eggs, but others just like keeping them as pets.

You might have chickens on a farm or you might just be keeping chickens somewhere in your backyard. Either way, you want to do your best to take care of the chickens so that they can stay healthy.

There might be some situations where you will notice two or more chickens not getting along. They might even fight each other and this could cause you to worry quite a bit.

Is it possible that the chickens could kill each other if you don’t step in? Would chickens really fight so much that it could lead to one of them getting killed?

Keep reading to learn more about chickens fighting one another. It’ll help you to determine what you should do to try to keep your chickens safe.

Chickens Can and Will Kill Each Other

Sadly, chickens will indeed kill each other in many situations. It wouldn’t be all that uncommon to see a chicken kill another chicken for one reason or another.

There could be many reasons why chickens will start fighting and one will wind up dead. If you’re going to keep your chickens safe, then you’ll need to learn to look out for certain things.

Of course, it’s going to be fairly obvious when chickens are fighting. Fighting can even be considered to be normal for chickens in some ways.

For example, chickens will fight each other when they’re trying to establish a pecking order. There’s going to be a sort of hierarchy in the chicken coop where one hen is the dominant hen.

It can be a bit more nuanced than that as well and everyone learns their place eventually. Some hens might wind up being more aggressive than others, and fights can occur.

Sometimes these fights might work themselves out without it being too big of a deal. Other times, you might find that a hen will kill another hen during a pecking order squabble.

This is certainly not ideal since you don’t want your flock to be reduced in size due to fighting. How do you stop this from happening, though?

Sometimes You Have to Remove Hens From the Flock

Flock of Chickens

Sometimes it’s going to be necessary to remove hens from the flock for a certain period of time. If you notice that a hen looks to be hurt in some way, then you’ll want to take it away and allow it to heal up.

Leaving a hen that has been bloodied in the pen could wind up being a bad idea. For whatever reason, the other chickens will be more aggressive toward members of the flock that appear to be hurt or weak.

This is just the type of stuff that animals do and you have to keep in mind that they’re wired for survival. Removing injured hens and allowing them to heal up will be a very good idea.

It might also be necessary to separate an aggressive hen from the rest of the flock. Isolating a hen that acts too aggressively might help the hen to calm down and act more normally around the other chickens at a later date.

You need to pay attention to what’s happening to keep incidents from occurring. Leaving the chickens alone and ignoring things could lead to one of them getting killed.

New Chickens Being Added to a Flock Often Causes Fights

You’ll find that one of the most common reasons why chickens will start fighting with each other has to do with a new chicken being added to a flock. Did you recently add a new hen to the mix?

Sometimes a new hen will trigger pecking order fights to occur. This new hen might wind up getting attacked and hurt.

It’s going to be important to avoid adding new hens to a flock until they’re big enough to defend themselves. Putting a hen that is a bit on the small side with hens that are larger will be a bad idea.

If you notice that a hen is getting bullied and hurt by the other hens, then you should separate the hen for its own safety. It might be able to do better once it has grown a bit more.

Chickens Will Sometimes Kill When They Sense Weakness

Wounded Chicken

Another thing that you should know is that chickens will sometimes kill when they sense weakness. If your hens see that a member of the flock is sick or weak, then they might attempt to kill that chicken.

That might sound very strange to you and also sort of cruel. However, it’s important to keep in mind that chickens are omnivores.

Yes, your chickens are mostly going to eat vegetables, grains, and other things like that when you’re feeding them. Chickens will absolutely eat meat, and you might have even seen your chickens eating things such as small snakes before.

A chicken will kill a weak chicken and eat it sometimes. Cannibalism is something that chickens will do when they’re hungry enough or even sometimes when they’re bored.

Sensing weakness in another chicken will make it apparent that the chicken could be killed with a little effort. A chicken might try to kill a weak chicken because it knows that it could get a meal out of it.

If you know that you have weak or sick members of the flock, then it’ll be wise to separate them to keep incidents from happening. You don’t want chickens getting hurt or killed for no reason.

Final Thoughts

You now know that chickens can indeed kill each other if the situation isn’t taken care of. It’s going to be necessary to keep an eye on your flock if you don’t want things like this happening.

Much of what has been discussed will make chickens sound very violent, but this isn’t something that should scare you away from raising chickens. Yes, chickens do have instincts that will make them fight each other and sometimes kill each other, but problems like this can be handled.

You can separate birds from the flock so that they can cool down when fights happen. It’s also going to be possible to help out weak members of the flock so that they don’t get picked on.

It’ll be necessary to be careful when adding new birds to the flock as well. A new hen might need to wait before being added to the flock if it isn’t large enough to hold its own.

Sometimes these issues will be a bit of an annoyance to deal with. You just have to ask yourself if you’re comfortable putting up with that or not.

For many people, raising chickens is something that they enjoy very much. The good times could far outweigh the bad and it probably isn’t something that you need to be overly concerned with.

So long as you’re a proactive chicken owner who pays attention to what’s going on, it’s not too likely that your chickens will kill each other. You’ll probably be able to keep that from happening, but it isn’t impossible that it could happen if you aren’t there.

Keep reading: Why Do My Chickens Keep Dying?

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