Will Chickens Really Eat a Dead Chicken in Their Flock? The Disturbing Truth



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Buddy, let me lay it all out for ya about that crazy night.

It was pourin’ cats and dogs and the power was on the fritz.

I was cooped up inside with nothin’ to do but watch the chickens through the window.

Usually they just cluck around for grub, but this time something seemed off.

Old Henrietta was just standin’ in the back lookin’ ragged.

At first I thought maybe the storm had her spooked.

But when the lightning lit up the sky, I noticed somethin’ wasn’t right.

She wasn’t movin’ an inch while the others scrambled for shelter.

Grabbing my rain slicker, I braved the downpour to get a better look.

That’s when I saw it – she wasn’t breathing! Henrietta had bought the farm.

But I had no idea the chaos that would ensue once the others realized…

A Matter of Protein


The second them chooks spotted poor Henrietta kickin’ the bucket, they swarmed like flies on roadkill. Clucky, the lead hen, took charge barkin’ orders in chicken.

She strutted over for a peek and let out an ear-piercing squawk. The rest of the flock came runnin’, curious what all the fuss was about. That’s when the pecking began.

At first it was just nibbles, like they were sampling some expired KFC. But soon full-on bite marks decorated Henrietta’s carcass.

Feathers flew as they ripped flesh from bone, gobbling down breasts, legs and all. These girls meant business when it came to a free meal.

But I still couldn’t believe my eyes – chickens eating CHICKEN?

It had to be some sort of sick joke.

When the dust settled, there was barely a morsel left. I just stared, stunned speechless. Finally it hit me – as weird as it seemed, this was normal chicken behavior.

They saw an easy score and took it, simple as that. Turns out those fluffy pecking machines have some real gnashers underneath…

Protein is king in the coop, and chickens will do just about anything to stock up. Whether it’s worms, bugs or even each other – anything with nutrients goes straight down the hatch.

Survival of the fittest over here, folks! So while it was gross, I couldn’t really blame the ladies for defending their livelihood. They were just doing what chickens do.

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It’s the Circle of Life in the Coop!


The more I thought about it that night, the more it started to make sense. These birds live by pecking order just like any other flock.

And just like wolves or lions, when one of their own kicks it, the rest move in to reclaim the assets. Nothing goes to waste in the animal kingdom.

Nature has a way of recycling the remnants of the fallen back into the chain. So while it seemed gruesome, the chooks were just streamlining the lifecycle like any other creature. No use crying over spilled milk or feathers in this case. Circle of life, dude – it is what it is!

Sure it was discombobulating to see, but I had to respect the natural order. These girls play for keeps to survive another day in their hostile world. And if that means turning one of their own into last night’s leftovers, so be it. I may keep them, but they’re still wild at heart.

After that, I started looking at my flock differently. Beneath those pecking, clucking exteriors beat the hearts of savage survivalists.

You don’t stay top of the pecking order for long without an iron wing and razor-sharp beak. Even if that means turning on your own if the chips are down. Nature is relentless like that, bro!

So Should You Worry?


Admittedly, seeing your girls mow down like a pack of hyenas can leave you queasy. As their trusty human, you want to believe they play nice. But the next day I did some digging to ease my mind.

Turns out cannibalism is actually pretty rare with healthy, happy hens. A few key things tend to provoke pecking pandemonium:

Overcrowding their joint can stress birds out to the point of madness. Like prison but with more clucking. Poor nutrition will also make them desperate – protein-hungry panickers.

Injuries or illness that weaken a hen paint a target on their back fast. Then it’s everygirl for herself in a flurry of flesh-ripping fury. Harsh conditions like these override the normal girl code.

But as long as their coop is clean, spacious and well-stocked, they typically flock together in feathered fellowship. A little spritz of love and care keeps the pecking order peaceful for all.

The bottom line is unless you’re seriously slackin’ on their setup, don’t lose sleep! Tend to your ladies right and they’ll tend to each other with care rather than carnage. I rest easy knowin’ mine are living the good life.

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What Triggers Cannibalism?


There’s a few key factors that can push chooks to start chowing down on each other.

Stress is a big one – if hens are crammed in a coop too tight, they’ll freak right out. No personal space makes for dark places.

Nutrition is also clutch – without enough protein or vitamins, a hen will do whatever for a bite. Desperation is one hell of a drug in the coop.

Injury or illness leaves a bird vulnerable to pecking predators. Even a small limp paints you as lame prey.

Poor conditions like damp, dirty coops breed disease that can weaken a whole flock. When one falls, the rest see red.

Lack of lighting makes hens antsy and aggressive as they can’t see threats coming. Darkness turns everyone against everyone.

Hens in molt are less mobile while growing new feathers. Their pals might get impatient for a free snack during this time.

What Body Parts do they Target?


When the pecking panic starts, chooks don’t mess around with half measures.

The eyes are a prime target as blinding a bird leaves it totally defenseless against the flock.

Necks also catch a lot of bites since severing the spine is an instant kill shot.

Wings and legs get mauled fast to cripple victims and stop any escape attempts.

The back of the head is popular for driving the bird nuts before they literally lose theirs.

Vitals like the chest and guts soon become everybody’s chew toy once the hen is incapacitated.

Feathers get plucked swiftly to further strip the defenseless chook of protection against pecking punishment.

How Long Does it Take?

Once pecking panic sets in, a hen’s number is up pretty darn quick.

Initial blinding or crippling strikes happen lightning fast – we’re talking seconds here.

Within a couple minutes, all major feathers, eyes and limbs will be gone.

Five minutes tops and the hen is a bloody, mangled mess barely recognizable.

Ten minutes is usually when the deed is done and only bones remain.

During an all-out flock freakout, a bird can be fully devoured under fifteen minutes flat.

So when cannibalism kicks off, there’s no time to say your goodbyes! The chooks mean serious business.

Why do they stop eating?

With the frenzied feeding frenzy in full effect, what finally cools the chickens off?

Usually once the entire carcass is completely consumed, hunger is satisfied and order restores.

The proteins and nutrients replenish what was lacking to trigger the incident.

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Absence of an injured hen to target also helps diffuse the aggressive dynamic.

Sometimes a dominant hen will squawk a ceasefire once their needs are met.

Owners removing the leftovers promptly cuts off the food source and disperses the crowd.

Chickens also have short attention spans – once the thrill is gone, so are the flock’s murderous motives.

Can you prevent it with supplements?

Lots of folks wonder if certain additives can curb carnivorous chickens.

Calcium supplements strengthen eggshells to prevent problems that lead to pecking.

Probiotics support gut health and immunity against infections making birds less vulnerable.

Electrolytes especially during molts supply lost nutrition when stress and weakness peak.

Anti-caking agents in feed like oyster shell prevent picking caused by boredom from an empty crop.

Spice supplements thought to be medically beneficial like garlic can discourage the taste for flesh.

Amino acids balance protein levels reducing their drive to seek it from live/dead flockmates.

Constant access to plenty of scrambled eggs also satisfies protein cravings over cannibalism.

Signs it may be starting

Eagle-eyed owners can spot warning signs the murderous mood is brewing.

Aggressive pecking or bullying of specific hens suddenly increasing is a huge red flag.

Feather loss, wounds or blood all over a bird is a dire sign of target practice.

Cannibal hens will chomp at feathers ravenously desperate for protein.

Isolation or lack of interaction from the victimised hen means she’s losing the will to live.

The aggressor hens may have stained beaks/faces from initial test pecks of the vulnerable.

Flattened, huddled body language instead of their normal confident struts.

Lethargy or lack of movement in the prey bird makes her an easy target.

What Happens if a Chicken Dies in Your Coop? Will the Others Eat It?

Alright broski, time to wrap this up – I’m beat!

To sum it up crisply for ya:

Yes, chickens have an occasional taste for chicken if the mood strikes. But this isn’t because they’re psycho – it’s pure pragmatism. An easy protein score is hard for them feathery stomachs to pass up.

Under most normal circumstances though, they’re harmless herbivores that get along like siblings. Only when poor livin’ conditions or weak members stress the system does the pecking turn predatory.

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