Death of a hen and change in habits of rest


Nov 8, 2018
hi! Our hens are 1 yr old
And a couple weeks ago one got out of run and was killed by unknown source the scene was pretty violent looking but that aside the remaining 4 hens have changed considerably
1. Laying patterns all over the place
2. Started eating eggs
3. No longer roost
4. Like clockwork they used to go up “to bed” on their own and now they would stay out all night we have to now physically put them to bed
5. They used to bust out the door in the morning but now we need to coax them down

I am assuming that perhaps the one who died was the lead hen and now they just seem lost and confused!
1. Is this normal
2. How long should it last?
3. Is there anything we can do to help them



Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
Wow. That's a lot of changes. Perhaps you have multiple things going on here.
Sounds like they were traumatized by the attack and no longer feel secure. That would explain the reluctance to leave the coop. They sound like they are unsure of where they will be safe. Was it the top hen that was killed?
You said they are 1 yr old. Are they molting? That would explain the egg laying going erratic and the egg eating for additional protein to support feather growth. What are you feeding them?
Chickens hate change. Try to keep to a tight schedule and routine and hopefully they will come back around.
On a side note, welcome to BYC! :frow Glad you joined.


BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Mar 9, 2014
Northern Colorado
Gosh they sure went all out of sorts.

Did you resecure your run?

Mine stayed shook up after a close call with a hawk for a few months. I have just 2 that were there when it happened. One never returned to normal.

My bantam cochin that is lead of her coop wont let anyone out until 8 am and herds everyone in by 4 pm. It's been 6 YEARS and she is still freaked out.
My big coop is all newer hens so weren't there to see it.


Jul 31, 2018
Catalonia, Spain & UK
My Coop
My Coop
Hello PTJOM.
Welcome to BYC.
Yep, I think it's normal. The more cynical call it shock but I beleive chickens grieve.
When Mora, one of the Maran hens here lost her rooster (Mora was this roosters favorite) she called for him from her perch at night for almost a month. It was heartbreaking.
You can spend as much time as you can with them.
Last edited:

Folly's place

10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
southern Michigan
Chickens do remember and learn from experiences, both good and bad. That was terrible for the survivors, and it will take some time for them to feel safe where it happened. I'd keep them in for a week or two, keep things calm, and let them process what happened, and do better.

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