And then there was one.....

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by HodappHomestead, Aug 1, 2013.

  1. HodappHomestead

    HodappHomestead New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Aug 1, 2013
    We adopted 5 hens from a friend about 2 months ago. They've been free ranging in our backyard just fine the whole time (roosting in a locked coop at night) Well, something came and snatched up 4 of them this morning.

    Wondering if it's okay to have just one hen? We definitely want more, one won't fill our egg needs. Not sure what to do. Get chicks right away and integrate them when the chicks are bigger? Just leave her by herself and get chicks/hens next summer? Are they harder to socialize the longer they've been alone? We have a friend with a lot of land and quite a few hens, would she be better off there?

    Thank you for your time and advice.
     
  2. Majd

    Majd Chillin' With My Peeps

    932
    45
    141
    Jun 22, 2012
    First of all... welcome to backyard chickens.... you first have to secure your coop... if you get more they're gonna be some predators meal.... this one is gonna die to if so secure coop... what got them?? Find evidence like fur, digging, anything.... see where the spots that aee accessible and secure them..... you might want to get your girl inside... to the garage or basement or something for the night before something gets it... were the other ones missing or killedin the coop??I
     
  3. HodappHomestead

    HodappHomestead New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Aug 1, 2013
    Nothing....it was like they just disappeared. No feathers, no digging. Just gone. Talking with some neighbors, they both said that they've seen foxes in the area lately. That's what we are assuming. They all had started flying, a few were roosting on top of our fence. We had clipped the wings on everyone but the one that survived (that might have saved her) so we know they couldn't have flown over our fence.

    They have access to their coop during the day and we lock the coop up at night. My husband farms and was letting them out before he went to work around 5 or so, just before the sun comes up...probably too early. We're not letting her out now until the sun is up and not at all if we don't think we'll be home before dusk.

    We know we want more hens. Right now I'm wondering if we should keep her and introduce chicks in another 3-4 months as they are big enough to "hold their own" or if we're better off integrating her with another flock and starting from scratch?

    Being part of a flock, I don't know how they do on their own. Do they need to socialize? If she is on her own for a few months, will introducing a new flock be traumatic for her? I just want to make sure she's a healthy, happy chicken before we get more.
     
  4. lalaland

    lalaland Overrun With Chickens

    3,628
    471
    281
    Sep 26, 2008
    Pine County MN
    Sounds like a fox to me, although usually a fox takes one a day and comes back for more.
    Yes, your hen needs a flock - so it might be best to give her to your friends with a flock, or perhaps get some grown up buddies.


    Since she is alone, she might not be as antagonistic to chicks, but you can't count on that - so if you got chicks and she was agressive with them (which would be normal), it might be ok if you were able to keep chicks in the same area as the hen but separated by chicken wire, so they would see each other all the time.

    good luck!
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    35,637
    9,119
    656
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    They were snatched while totally free ranging, not from the coop or a run or a fenced pasture? Just wanted to be sure.

    You could always try to integrate chicks now and if it doesn't work give the hen to your friends.

    I'd make sure you have a secure place to keep them as that predator will be back.
    How do your friends protect against predators?

    Good Luck!
     
  6. HodappHomestead

    HodappHomestead New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Aug 1, 2013
    They were totally free ranging, no run. She's just so lonely today....no squawking, just sitting. She is eating and drinking water, so at least she's doing that.

    Everyone in our neighborhood free ranges their chickens. The friend that we would give her to lives out of town on 30 acres and free ranges 250+ hens. She loses < 5 chickens a year, but she also has dogs.

    I think we're going to try and get some chicks this weekend and see how she takes to them. If we can we'd like to keep her, but also just want her to be a happy chicken. We also decided on a run, the husband said no to a dog [​IMG] We had already talked about a run...the chicken poop was getting a bit out of control!! This just sped up our plans.

    Thank you everyone for your advice and time. I'm sure I'll be posting questions about introducing a flock soon!!
     
  7. Majd

    Majd Chillin' With My Peeps

    932
    45
    141
    Jun 22, 2012
    Yeah they probably attacked at dawn.... predators become active at this period. ... it was a mistake to let them out before 7 at least... but lesson learned. .. and you should do what you already said... don't worry she'll do just fine on her own for a few months.... you can just buy grown hens or pullets like her... if you want to get chicks... their feed and supplies will be equal to the price of the grown hens... to you can save time by just getting pullets... and it's frustrating to give her away at this age after you took care of her since she was a chick... she will soon begin to lay... and she'll do just fine on her own. .. some people say nooo they are social animals and I don't know what like if she's gonna die if she doesn't have friends... I encourage a flock but it won't hurt her for a few months living alone...
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    35,637
    9,119
    656
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Good move on the run, you might still be able to free range for a few hours a day in the evening.

    Lots of info on flock integration here.You can probably find the info to answer the questions for your situation without even making a new thread.
    Up at the top of the pages here, next to the search field, it says 'advanced search'. Best way I've found to do searches.

    advanced search>titles only>integrating flocks

    Good Luck, Have Fun!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by