Remember the tragedy of all the chickens dying? Well apparently we are living in an Alfred Hitchcock movie, because now they are all eating each other.
There are times when animals become so stressed or so bored that they begin to consume their fellow barn companions. But we live on planet sunshine and walk through a rose meadow each morning while drinking in the sweet honeydew…
Yeah… That’s not farming. And if you think it is, you may be in for a rude awakening.
This first batch of chickens just feel like a crap shoot in a hand basket. First they all died, now the replacements are eating each other.
We have tried what feels like everything!
We pulled the injured, got them cleaned up and then put them back.
We pulled the aggressive ones.
Then we separated the big ones from the little. Then the little from the “devils”. That’s what I have come to call the ones who eating the others, “devils”.
We even sprayed everyone down with vinegar!! An old trick to show them they all smell the same.
I believe I have them isolated enough where only the “devils” are cannibalizing. But that is still about 60 birds!
I’m starting to wonder how hard we need to think about euthanizing the group of “devils”. As much loss and pain as this farm has seen in the last 3 weeks I absolutely hate to have to think that.
But, what’s the alternative?! We just let them eat each other?! Then that group will be so stressed from fear of trauma or aggressive behavior.
From a welfare standpoint, I do not want our animals to be in a high stress environment. That is the main reason we raise them on pasture!!
And from a meat quality standpoint also, stress releases cortisol which causes the meat to be tough and low quality.
I’m still thinking about what we need to do.. if you have ever had this happen or have advise, please share you thoughts!! We will take all the help we can get!