1 of 3 chickens killed by hawk... worried about the remaining two

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by swiftchickcoop, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. swiftchickcoop

    swiftchickcoop New Egg

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    Mar 26, 2015
    Our sweet barred rock was sadly killed by a hawk this evening. Terribly traumatic for my two other hens and myself but now trying to focus on how to keep the other two healthy and safe.

    One came running up to the door of our house when we ran out so I held her while my husband took care of the terrible thing that happened. She seemed absolutely terrified and cannot believe she came running up to me like that as the hen that was killed used to be the only one who would really run up to say hello every time I walked in the backyard. Now I am wondering though...

    1. Should I be concerned about the two hens (both barred rocks, about 25 weeks old) being traumatized by this and if so, what do I need to do about that?

    2. Will the two be okay just the two of them or should we start thining about getting another hen? If so, at this age and with this breed, does anyone have any advice about how to go about this? Do we get another barred rock or a different breed? What age? How do we introduce and when?

    3. I know that with free ranging things like this happen (still did not totally prepare me for how awful it was though!) and so now I am reconsidering free ranging them. We are thinking of constructing a very large run for them but is this horrible to do after letting them free range for so long?

    Really looking for any advice on how to keep the two remaining hens happy and healthy as we are heartbroken after losing our first one to the hawk tonight.

    Thanks so much.
     
  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    It is very sad that you lost your bird. Unfortunately, there are many predators, and chickens are not very good at avoiding them. Your hens would be much safer - and still perfectly content - to have a big, safe run to live in; they could still come out when you are there to watch them.

    While your birds should be fine, you certainly could add another few if you chose to.
     
  3. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With two I would think about getting another hen. If you get one the same age they should integrate fairly well, do be mindful of breed temperaments though (not good to mix aggressive breeds with very gentle layers).

    Yes they may be afraid for a while, and the hawk very well could come back for another meal.

    A large run is a very good idea. I used 6' tall welded wire (2' x 4') and put avian netting over the top. If you drive posts/pipes into the ground (no need for cement, just use a manual post driver tool) you can wire the fencing to it. It only took my lawn man about 2 hours to do a large 40 x 40 foot run.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
  4. swiftchickcoop

    swiftchickcoop New Egg

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    Mar 26, 2015
    Thank you so much for such quick responses and advice @1muttsfan and @Sonya9 . I think we will certainly create a large run area that will be covered for the remaining two.
    Do you thinking getting another hen is good just in case something were to happen again to one of the two remaining or because having three is better than two for the chickens socially etc.?
    And if we were to get a third, do you have any suggestions as to which breed would work best with barred rock?

    Thanks again all!
     
  5. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would definitely get one or two more hens, and get that fence up. If something happens to another one then you will have a lonely single hen which is not good.

    As far as breeds, personally I would avoid any production layers that have reputations for being aggressive. Heritage breeds are probably all fine.
     
  6. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    I would probably add 2 more it you have the room, or you may end up with a lonely bullied hen. I have had many breeds of chickens and enjoyed most of them, although I also prefer heritage birds. If you want some variety in your egg colors, you might look for a blue egg layer or two.
     
  7. Mutt Farm

    Mutt Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm so sorry that happened to you. How sweet your hen ran to you for comfort. I agree with all the great suggestions you have received. I find free-ranging far too dangerous. Like @1muttsfan I would introduce at least 2 new hens. Here's a link to the breeds page. If you scroll down, on the left in blue, you can check search boxes to find breeds that suit your climate, temperament, housing and egg laying. Best of luck to you.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/products/category/chicken-breeds
     
  8. swiftchickcoop

    swiftchickcoop New Egg

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    Thank you again all, I so appreciate the advice and feedback.

    I took a look at the breed list and when reading about our Barred Rocks it seems they can be a little bossy/less friendly to more docile chickens. So far the only option I have found to purchase chickens that are approx. the same age as our current two is through Murray McMurray Hatchery (which is actually where we got these girls from!) but they only have Buff Orpingtons (who seem to be that more docile breed that can get picked on) that would be available to order before the holidays begin and I would really like to get everyone settled and comfortable before that craziness begins!

    Do you all think Buff Orpingtons would be okay with our two barred rocks or am I asking for trouble? And if not, do you have another suggestion as to hatcheries/places to look for started pullets?

    Thank you again to all for your help!
     
  9. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    Buff Orpingtons maybe more docile,, but most can certainly stand up for themselves.
     
  10. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Buffs are sweet birds and usually great layers. Like Muttsfan said it might be best if you get two so they have each other for backup. Getting birds the same age or older is a very good idea especially with winter coming, the Barred Rocks would be far more likely to push around younger birds.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2015

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