A little chicken psychology?


9 Years
Feb 24, 2012
Earlier this week our dogs managed to pull one of our 9-week old pullets out of the coop through a small gap under the gate. My hubby is doing some major reinforcement to the coop to prevent a repeat occurrence, and we would like to replace little Abigail. Usually, if we separate one chick from the rest, they all sound distressed as if they're calling to her, so I imagine they may be missing her. Do you think the remaining chicks need some time to recover from losing their friend before we introduce a new chick/adult hen? Is it too much change all at once if we replace her too soon? When it is finally time to introduce the new addition, is it better to add only one new chick/hen? Or should we get a pair? I can see how two might be better for the newbies because they'll have a partner, but only adding one might be less threatening to the four we already have. Also do you think the age of the newbies affects the ease of their integration?

I'm really new at all of this, so thank you for any help!

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i would give them some time...my hen was in the coop were my roo got killed by an owl and like 3 days later we put 5 chicks with her and she stopped setting and not she has stopped laying and it has been about 6 days and she don't look very happy and she beats up on the other chicks but they don't take nothing from her though they fight back :) not to kill or nothing...she run's from them now...so i would wait a lil while....at least a week or so
You should buy a pair of chickens the same size of your current ones. The chicks are probably emotionally scared by the dog, so being so young they won't like dogs ever again if you can't break their fear. A death can be just as traumatic for a chicken as a human. So maybe give it a bit until your dog is under control.
I thought I would post an update since my question from May....in case anyone is interested, or has experienced a similar situation.

I looked around for some pullets around the same age as the 4 "survivors", but couldn't find any, so I ended up getting two chicks a couple weeks old, instead of just hatched. When they were old enough to be outside, I kept them in a wire dog crate inside the chicken run for a couple weeks. After one week or so, I let the younger ones run around the yard with the older ones for their daily "free-range" time. They were chased around a little, but never injured, or kept away from the food, or anything like that. Normal pecking-order stuff, I imagine. The two young ones, are definitely bonded buddies. One of them turned out to be a little bantam mystery breed, and the other is a B.O. like the one we lost to the dogs. The B.O. is now bigger than all of them, so the older ones don't pick on her anymore. The little banty is almost always near her, so the older ones leave her alone too.

Miraculously, none of them are afraid of the dogs. We have three basset hounds: 1 just wants to follow around behind the hens cleaning up their poop, and grazing with them in the grass; the 2nd is scared of them because he got pecked on the nose a couple times, so he sticks close to me if he's in the yard with them, or he keeps a good distance if I'm not there; the 3rd is the chicken killer, and will always try to be, so she's not allowed in the yard unless the hens are all safely locked away in their coop/run.
That's all from me, just thought I'd share!


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