A hawk or depression?

yorklady

Songster
May 12, 2012
149
7
114
We have 14 hens. Some of our girls are five or six years old, maybe older. In the early summer our rooster had to be put down because he was quickly going downhill and could no longer stay on his roost at night. We buried our boy in our side yard and marked his resting place with rocks. He was the best rooster ever, he didn’t have a mean bone in his body and took care of the girls keeping them close to him.

Our girls seemed to be fine after our Buddy was gone but several weeks ago a hawk got one of our girls and now they won’t come out of their coop. We have lost other chickens once in a while but hubby usually walks on the property while they are out to deter an attack. To add to the confusion my hubby has dementia and I have to constantly remind him to clean the coop and get fresh water for them. He gets a lot of joy watching our girls when we leave them free range for an hour or so every evening. Before this hawk attack our girls spent all day in their large run and were so anxious to get out of their run for a treat of Cheerios and an hour of free range time. Now they won’t come out at all and none of the girls have laid an egg in a month or more. We don’t want to put them down just because they are no longer laying but we don’t want them unhappy either. Does anyone have any insight as to what may be going on? Is it possible that my hubby’s mental decline is affecting their behavior?
 

Aapomp831

Crowing
Oct 4, 2017
3,670
6,222
471
Lincolnton, NC
They are in shock - it’s traumatizing to see one of your own ripped to shreds by the mysterious sky demons. I would try offering treats in the run and little by little recondition their brains to not be afraid. Check your local Craigslist and see if anyone is rehoming a rooster. With proper integration, you could have another roo to protect your girls and help them feel safe again.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
100,597
143,509
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Now they won’t come out at all and none of the girls have laid an egg in a month or more. We don’t want to put them down just because they are no longer laying but we don’t want them unhappy either.
Surely you realize after 5-6 years that they will stop laying for ahwile in winter?

Does anyone have any insight as to what may be going on?
They are staying safe, best leave them in their run.

Is it possible that my hubby’s mental decline is affecting their behavior?
I doubt it.....nor does it have much to do with the cock/erel being gone since 6 months ago.
 

lovesfarms

Crowing
5 Years
Sep 6, 2016
878
3,893
336
We have 14 hens. Some of our girls are five or six years old, maybe older. In the early summer our rooster had to be put down because he was quickly going downhill and could no longer stay on his roost at night. We buried our boy in our side yard and marked his resting place with rocks. He was the best rooster ever, he didn’t have a mean bone in his body and took care of the girls keeping them close to him.

Our girls seemed to be fine after our Buddy was gone but several weeks ago a hawk got one of our girls and now they won’t come out of their coop. We have lost other chickens once in a while but hubby usually walks on the property while they are out to deter an attack. To add to the confusion my hubby has dementia and I have to constantly remind him to clean the coop and get fresh water for them. He gets a lot of joy watching our girls when we leave them free range for an hour or so every evening. Before this hawk attack our girls spent all day in their large run and were so anxious to get out of their run for a treat of Cheerios and an hour of free range time. Now they won’t come out at all and none of the girls have laid an egg in a month or more. We don’t want to put them down just because they are no longer laying but we don’t want them unhappy either. Does anyone have any insight as to what may be going on? Is it possible that my hubby’s mental decline is affecting their behavior?
My heart goes out to you and your chickens! I'm dealing with frightened chickens and daily hawk sightings as well. None of mine were killed but they were digging under their favorite tree when a small hawk swooped down, I don't think she touched any of them but was only inches away so now they became deathly scared. This time of year there's not much vegetation for them to hide under. Can you put some large boxes right outside their door so they can hide if they hear a noise or see a bird and your husband could stay right outside with some treats. Mine will come out but they stay right by my side. I walk them to the pine trees and stay with them. If I try to walk away, they follow me. That happened last week and none of mine were laying yet... The first one laid her first egg on Sunday.
A couple years ago I had 2 pullets. The neighbors dog killed one and the other one went into a molt, stopped laying eggs and lost her feathers even though she was under a year old. So they can go into a molt from stress.
You are Yorklady-is it York Pa? That's where I'm located
Best of luck!
Edit: be careful about adding a rooster when they are already stressed out. It may or may not add more stress to the confusion!
 

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