The Danger of Cinder Blocks in the Coop

Reader Contribution by Wendy E. N. Thomas
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If you’re a follower of my blog or Facebook page then you already know about this but I want to make sure that the word gets out to as many chicken owners as possible.

One less death is one less death. 

This week, we had a mishap when we introduced a new chick into our existing flock. As it turned out she was a solitary chick and although I had done what had worked for me in the past – she was caged in the hen house for a week, had supervised interaction with the flock, entered the flock unsupervised at night when they were getting ready to roost – she died the next day.

The reason for her death is that when she tried to get away from the other flock members, she scooted into the side hole of the cinder block upon which we keep our water bucket. She got stuck and with only her bum exposed, the other chickens went to town and literally pecked her to death. By the time I found her she was horrifically wounded.

We’ve had cinder blocks in our coop for years and we’ve never had this happen. We even have some tiny bantams who have never tried to get inside the blocks. But this chick managed to not only get inside but also get stuck in one.

When I posted the story on my blog, one commenter put up this reply:

“Shoot, yeah, we never get to quit learning and improving in this life. Even after 50+ years of chickens, I just found out about the cinderblock thing. I flood irrigate so my coop is on blocks, and recently some of my girls decided that laying eggs underneath it was better than the nests. I had boarded it up, but they knocked one down and for several days we kept wondering where all the eggs were. By the time we figured it out and re-secured the boards solidly, they were so fixated on that being the place to lay that the next day I found one stuck in a cinderblock hole! So stuck, in fact, that it took me a while to get her out… but that ain’t gonna ever happen again.”

It’s one of those things that you don’t know about until you know.

This is the time of year for new chicks to be put into existing flocks. If you have cinder blocks, please be careful and make sure you fill the holes up before you put your chicks in the coop.

Because one less death is one less death.  


I write about lessons learned living with children and chickens in New Hampshire. You can follow our family’s stories at my blog: Lessons Learned From the Flock. 

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