Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Terror in the Aviary
Shocking Attack on Chick
Yesterday, I discovered one of three two week old chicks in a breeder cage had been attacked. The other two chicks were totally unharmed. I quickly checked the underside of the hen and cock beaks for signs of blood.
As I suspected would be the case, the cock was the culprit with tell tale chick blood under his beak. Even though he had been single paired with the hen and he had helped feed chicks, now that the hen is ready to mate and lay their next clutch, he turned on the chick! Had I not discovered the chick, it would most likely have been killed!
This cock was removed from the breeding cage and is retired from breeding this season. I suspect he consumed too much egg food for himself instead of passing it on to his chicks!
Till they are weaned, the three chicks will remain with the hen. Today, the hen laid her first egg. Since the cock was in with her for several weeks, the hen does not need the cock to fertilize her clutch of eggs.
Once weaned, I will keep the wounded chick in a separate cage to prevent other birds from picking on its head. Housing in a separate cage is necessary whenever feathers have been picked down to bare skin on highly visible parts of the body. You can get by with feathers being plucked in the lower abdomen as it is not so visible.
Feathers will grow back in time and eventually you will not be able to identify which chick was damaged. The chick is even looking better today!