Dealing with traumatized chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chicks Galore3, Mar 4, 2016.

  1. Chicks Galore3

    Chicks Galore3 Artistic Bird Nut

    Dec 16, 2011
    BACKSTORY - I got a call from a friend yesterday asking if I could take their chickens. Apparently, something has been getting into their coop repeatedly and slowly killing off their chickens. They started the winter with 33 chickens and they were down to 6 when they called. After I thought about it and asked if they had had any health problems, (I trusted them to tell me the truth) I decided to pick them up this afternoon. (By then they were down to 4.) All in all, they look healthy - shiny, full plumage, healthy combs/wattles, clear eyes/nose, clean feet, good weight. (2 EEs and 2 gold stars.) So I'm not worried about any health issues. (They are still in quarantine.)

    PROBLEM - These 4 are scared of EVERYTHING. I imagine having a predator attacking me every night would traumatize me too. :( They all run away and freak out when I try to catch them, (which I did only to load and unload them), but they freeze once you catch them. One EE in particular is very bad. Whenever you touch her she just screams, like nothing I've ever heard before. :( They are currently in a small pen in the barn. They really do not like the cats, that's for sure! The cats wouldn't harm a feather on their body, but they don't know that.

    So, long story short, is there anything in particular I should be doing to help these poor girls through this? Do you think they'll be able to get over it, given time?
  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich True BYC Addict

    Apr 6, 2014
    Melrose Park Illinois
    They will. It would be good to handle and caress them as often as you are able to. I am a realist and know you have a life as well. So do it when you can. They will turn docile in time. Reason they fear cats, is they see them as a predator. That does not mean that the predator was a cat. It is just that anything different is suspect as DANGEROUS from the experiences encountered.
    Sorry to hear of your friends losses. It would be good to determine what the predator was. How far away does your friend live from you??? Is there a danger of that predator arriving in your area???
    Here is a link that may help you identify that predator. The more informed you are,,,,, the better precautions you will be able to take.

  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    I agree with caveman rich - they need a bit of TLC and time. They will come round slowly. I'd consider adding vitamin supplements / electrolytes to their drinking water as the stress of being moved, along with the predator could leave them more susceptible to illness and the vitamins will help give their immune system a boost.

    All the best

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