Chicken in mourning or what?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by destinyslanding, Nov 26, 2017.

  1. destinyslanding

    destinyslanding In the Brooder

    Feb 21, 2017
    Hi- thanks for this group. I had 2 chickens but lost one 3 weeks ago. I have 1 RR left. I know chickens don't like change, but she will not leave the coop. Just stays up in the rafters for most of the day. I am new to chickens so I thought she was mourning the death. She won't come down to eat or drink and thinking she will starve to death - I have left her a small bowl of food and water up in the coop.

    Today - I thoroughly cleaned the coop from top to bottom. Thinking that would take away the smell of her buddy dying. I put in top soil and sand for a new floor. I brought the food dish and water back down where it belongs. She spent 5 minutes walking around the floor and then up in the rafters!! No eggs since Gracie died. That's 3 weeks now. Penny - the one left-is also molting. I don't know if this is normal behavior or what. How much longer will this go on? I really don't want to get another chicken. I feel very sad about this. 3 weeks of wondering if I'm going to lose her too.

    Thanks for all your help.
    Brahma Chicken5000 likes this.
  2. Ruralhideaway

    Ruralhideaway Crowing

    Sep 21, 2017
    Upstate NY
    While I'm not sure how to help her I am curious. Why don't you want to get some more chickens? I think that a friend is the obvious solution. Flock and herd animals rarely do well alone.
  3. kaylee's poultry place

    kaylee's poultry place In the Brooder

    Nov 26, 2017
    I think she is lonely I know you don't want another one but sounds like she is lonely.
    destinyslanding likes this.
  4. Chickens are flock creatures. They really aren't meant to be by themselves, which is why I always recommend that people get a minimum of three - that way if you lose one, you can hopefully get a replacement soon and you never have just one sad chicken. You really should get another chicken (or two would be better) or find a new home for your remaining hen.
    FrankieDoodle and Ruralhideaway like this.
  5. diamondsilkies

    diamondsilkies Songster

    Oct 23, 2017
    Southern Arizona
    I have to agree with everyone else, getting a buddy for her will probably be the best solution. She is probably stressed and lonely, and could be mourning her friend. I've had chickens who were really close and when one died the other one got very stressed and upset. Why don't you want to get another one?
  6. destinyslanding

    destinyslanding In the Brooder

    Feb 21, 2017
    Yes you are all probably right. She needs a friend. Any one here in Orlando area and has a 5month old or older? I don't care what breed.
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Sorry for your loss.
    What did the other bird die of....disease or predator or....?
    If disease, the remaining bird may also be ill.
    If predation she would be leery, but not for 3 weeks.
    If remaining bird is molting, that could account for her isolation,
    growing new feathers can be uncomfortable.
    Offer her some high protein treats.
    Is she eating and drinking at all?
    How old is she?

    When a flock loses a member there is a change in the pecking order,
    but with only 2 birds and now 1 it's hard to say.
    Mourning might be a stretch, but loss of companion and guidance definitely.

    Getting another or a couple new birds might be the way you want to go,
    but keep in mind that integration can be tricky.
    Not sure if you've been down that road before so....
    Integration Basics:
    It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
    Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.

    This used to be a better search, new format has reduced it's efficacy, but still:
    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading, BUT some info is outdated IMO:
  8. chicken4prez

    chicken4prez Crowing

    Jun 14, 2015
    Ontario, Canada
  9. Jajika

    Jajika Songster

    Dec 24, 2007
    Northern California
    I agree with the other comments about getting another hen. My vet told me that an "only" chicken may stop eating. They are a flock animal and really need other chickens around. Get a friend right now.

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