Devastated, heartbroken, and don't know what the next step is

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by swampcat, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. swampcat

    swampcat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 18, 2011
    Brooklyn, CT
    I came home from class tonight to find the family crying. DH left the chickens outside and let the dog inside (I never leave the chickens out w/o the dog right there). Sure enough, apparently a fox killed 5 of my 8. 3 bodies were recovered, 2 still missing, but it's quite unlikely they are alive.

    I never leave them outside alone.

    I am so devastated. Those were my children. Just today I posted about how proud I was of Rooie. And now he is gone. Along with Peanut, Thing One, Thing Two, and Pumpkin.

    But beyond my anguish, I am at a loss as to what to do for my last 3.

    The two older ones have each other. Big Guy/Girl and Nervous Nelly have always been their own flock, did their own thing. But now Leah is the sole survivor of her flock. I cry for her. IT would have been easier on me if the fox took that whole crew instead of leaving her behind. I can only imagine her peeping tomorrow while looking for her flock. It is going to kill me. What do I do about that? What if Big Guy and Nelly still treat her as an outsider? Or do chickens have compassion and maybe will they let her be part of their flock?

    And what do I do know about their free ranging? They have free ranged for the last 5 weeks. The thought of putting them in a run is as difficult as it is for me to think about putting my dog on a chain. But the fox knows there's some left. Now I wonder if I was even naive to think that the dog would deter any predators.

    I still think if she was out there this would not have happened, but I would never tell DH that. He feels awful about what happened. But he views them as chickens. I view them on an entirely different level, as I'm sure some of you understand.

    So what do I do?

    Do I run out and get more chickens so Leah may have a chance to have a flock? Do I keep them locked up in the coop until I convince DH we need to fence in all 3 acres of property?

    What do I do?

    And please don;t post just to share your condolences. I appreciate the gesture, but reading all those "I'm sorry"'s will send me off sobbing some more. It's bad enough I've been crying nonstop for the last 2 hours. And I know I won't be sleeping. And I know I will not heal for many months.
  2. easttxchick

    easttxchick Lone Star Call Ducks

    Aug 3, 2009
    Until you catch your predator, I would not risk free ranging. It'll be back now that it knows where you are.
    I would definitely set a trap for it and hopefully you can catch it and take it out.
  3. JulieNKC

    JulieNKC Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 25, 2010
    Kansas City
    How big an age difference is there between Leah and the other 2? By the time you get a new chicken and quarantine it and all she will probably be accepted by the other 2. As long as they don't pick at her too bad I would pen them all together. And get some traps. Maybe by the time you catch your predator they will be buddy buddy. And don't give up hope on the missing ones quite yet. My leghorns and EE were terrorized by a stray cat and went into hiding, it took me a few days to find them, but I did.
  4. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    So sorry for your loss. I would not get new ones for now as it would likely be even more stressful. I would focus on making their run secure and spoiling them a bit, let them readjust. When you lose some the heirarchy gets adjusted. Your loner may or may not be accepted by the others, time will tell. I have found that spending more time with them, give them special treats, etc. can help heal you and them.

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