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Mental Shock After Fox Attack

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi. I was wondering, when a chicken sees a predator attack, can they recover emotionally? I've seen birds die of mental shock after witnessing something terrible, and was wondering if there was any way or anything I could do to help them?

I ask because a fox attacked yesterday, during the day when we were out and the dogs were locked up in the house. Two were killed, a barred rooster and a previously injured (by roosters) rhode island red nicknamed Blair. She liked to stare at the wall. The one in mental shock is Aurora, one of my favorites, a pretty little Americauna girl. Her hatch mate and pen mate, Dawn, flew the pen during the attack and hid out in the woods. She's fine, both physically and emotionally. Aurora, who was found in the big girl's pen, must have seen the attack.
She doesn't really want to get down off the perch in the fenced off baby area of the coop, not even when I put some of her favorite snack, rose petals, on the ground. She pecked them off the egg box near the perch, tentatively, but didn't go down. Both of them don't want to go out into the baby's separate pen. So I closed their outside door, hoping it'd give them some feeling of safety. By the way, they're...more like teenagers, I them babies because I got them when they were very little and I like them a lot.
The red that died, Blair, had been put in with the babies to keep her safe from the roosters, and I know chickens can bond with each other. I'm really scared that Aurora might die. I don't want to risk stressing her out anymore, so I've just left her with Dawn at the moment. They're always very sweet to each other, cuddling even, so I hope Dawn'll be able to help her sister, she rarely strays away from Aurora and has been sitting next to her on the perch, but...I just really was hoping there was something else I could do. If she dies it'll break my heart, and I know it'll hurt Dawn a lot too.
So, can I help her or do I just have to...cross my fingers and really hope she'll be okay?

post #2 of 9

I would give her some time, I think she will pull through. Just make sure she is drinking water and add some electrolytes to it. I am sure she is scared after seeing something like that, I know I would be. I think putting a companion with her will help her pull through.

Duck... Duck... Goose!
Duck... Duck... Goose!
post #3 of 9

One of mine was like that after she got attacked by a dog. Found the poor thing in a corner of the coop. I put her in a towel went inside and held her. I don't know if that helped of not.  She recovered in about an hour. Just give her some time

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks, she does seem to be doing a bit better but she's still kinda nervous, timid. You're right about a companion doing her well, she barely goes anywhere without Dawn, her hatchmate (which is weird 'cause before the attack, it was the reverse). She's come out of the coop into the baby's run and seems to be eating and drinking. Snacked on some rose petals too. She's even coming again when I call her...though now she looks all over before coming down her little ramp.
I don't have any electrolytes, I'll definitely get a packet from the feed store next time though. If only to be prepared, better safe than sorry and all that. Thanks again. ^.^

post #5 of 9

Be sure that the scared one has not actually been injured physically in some way. Inspect her carefully under the wings, breast, back, vent, legs ect. Make sure she does not need more than time, warmth, company and food. A scared chicken should recover- but they do learn to avoid things/react when they see something similar. Naive chickens, after seeing a dog attack or a hawk attack- will learn to run for cover/scatter if they see a similar predator. After having hawk issues- our free range chickens are much more alert to the skies- and run for cover when anything flies over (hawk, buzzard, ultralight). They ignore the crows. They ignore our dogs, but run when bad dog comes around sniffing the fence line. Fox attacks usually are at times when the chickens are quiet/sleeping-  and really very defenseless, but daytime- they will be more wary in the future (but still no match for a fox).

post #6 of 9

We had a fox kill two of ours last week (all 30 were out and witnessed it). None of them seem any worse for the wear at this point and aren't at all hesitant to come out of the coop.

Eat today? Thank a farmer.....
Eat today? Thank a farmer.....
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Dawn is dead, the attack was hour ago, not even. Aurora, is not...quite in as deep a shock as she was last time but this time I picked her up and held her for a bit. She had, blood on her beak again, the top, we think it might be because she was running into the fence to try and get away. I held her and checked her out, so, I know she's not hurt.
It broke Dawn's neck...left her body near what we think might be it's den. It didn't kill anymore than just my little's what I get for trusting my father and my brother to set up the baby's outdoor was held in with staples. Fox ripped right through it, no problem.
dichotomymom, it's good your chickens weren't at all fazed by it. I think Aurora was just because all she had in her coop area and run were Blair and Dawn. Now they're both dead. I don't think I'm gonna let any of them out without direct supervision, maybe make the pen smaller and uh, Aurora isn't going out in that flimsy baby run.

BTW, if anyone knows anyone who kills or traps foxes in CT, hunter, maybe, anything uhm, please tell me. Or maybe a have a heart trap I could borrow to try and catch it. I dunno if I'd wanna release it somewhere though, it might go after someone else's pets or chickens (it's also taken two of the neighbor's cats...poor things.)

She was really pretty, huh?                                  This is her and Aurora, Aurora is the darker one, obviously.

Edited by LunarRyou - 11/5/09 at 2:22pm
post #8 of 9

I can't believe you want to trap foxes. Have you any idea how cruel that is? Why does a fox deserve less compassion that a chicken?

post #9 of 9

I am really sorry LunarRyou.  your chickens are very lovely and i ams sure they are kind as well giving how much you love them.  think about how lucky they are to have an owner like you! 


my chickens are going through a similar situation after the queen bee of our flock was attacked by a opposum.  i got catch and release traps.  caught the opposum this morning.  i was adviced not to release because it might come back.  so i killed it. i think its one of those things you have to be comfortable doing if you are going to raise chickens.  i never thought i could harm an animal but after seeing what this opposum did- i was suprised how easy it was.  i really love my chickens and want to keep them safe.  we got them for healthy eggs but they really are more like pets to us.  

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