Buff Orphington not getting over her grief, what should I do?


7 Years
May 29, 2012
We have a backyard flock that consisted of 3 Easter Eggers, 2 Bards, and 3 Buff Orphingtons. They all stayed in their own breed groupings, and all was well.

A hawk killed one of the Easter Eggers, and we showed her body to the flock, and all was fine.

But then our neighbor's Alaskan Malamute killed two of the Buffs, who, btw, were the friendliest birds I've ever owned. I was not home when it happened, and the neighbor threw the bodies away, not knowing to show them to the other Buff first.

Now that Buff has been grieving for over a month. She won't come out of the egg box, and heads back every time we take her out. While she is out, she walks around the yard crying and squawking, evidently looking for the other 2 sisters. She is losing weight. She sharpens her beak like a nervous tic. Occasionally she will be with the Easter Eggers, who readily accept her, but I see no progress and worry her weight loss and brooding are going on too long.

Any advice?

Your remaining Buff may be traumatised by what happened. I know this may sound silly, but I've seen it happen with predator attacks. Could you possibly replace your two lost hens with two mature Buff hens? That might help.
Also give her lots of attention, cuddles etc. I'm sure she'll appreciate it.
Unless she's broody she probably won't adopt chicks.
I completely think she is traumatized. It is so obvious. They may not have superior intellects, but they have a real sisterhood. It's just so sad!
Were your birds attacked while they were in their coops? If they were, you have more work than just finding her new friends. There is no reason why a coop can't stop all predators short of a bear. But I've heard of bears foregoing live chickens for a good, steaming kitchen compost pile.

Your coop should prevent anyone from coming in from the top, going through the wire (don't use chicken wire, it's like tinfoil to dogs and racoons) or from digging underneath.

I wouldn't be surprised if aside from missing her mates, your hen is terrified of meeting the same end.

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