Do they know their flockmate is gone?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by swampcat, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. swampcat

    swampcat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Brooklyn, CT
    The fox struck again this morning. We have been pretty fortunate over the past 5 months, but this morning he got my first egg layer, Nelly. The kids and I are devastated, and I'm really considering halting this whole chicken raising thing because I cannot handle this much heartache.

    But that's not what I'm posting about.
    incubator buddies. Is Big Guy going to go through a depression or act differently now that Nelly is gone? There is still a total of 7 chickens in the flock, so its not like she will be alone. I just feel awful for her.
     
  2. Silkie Chick

    Silkie Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    We have had two chickens lose their best friend while we have had chickens. Each time, they went through a phase where they were mournful and wouldn't come out of the coop or if they did they would wander aimlessly looking for their friend. It seems though after two weeks they forget about it, and return to normal. I understand how sad it is to lose a favorite chicken, especially by predators, so I wish you all the best. Please do not halt the chicken raising though, but try and make your coop more predator proof. Do you have a dog? If so a walk around the coop at night or around your property might be enough to scare off the predator.
     
  3. swampcat

    swampcat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    No, the coop and pen is like fort knox, it happens when we free range. I just don't have it in my heart to keep them locked in a pen for their whole lives... I wouldn't do that to my dog or my cats, so why would I do it to my chickens? They are more than just livestock. And I can't convince the husband to allow us to just have house chickens....

    If it wasn't so cold the dog would be out there with them, but she has hip problems so we let her snooze on the couch inside. I even had the radio blaring NPR so that the voices would keep it away. I don't know if its worked these past 5 months or if the fox has just been MIA for the last 5 months. I guess it's back to only free ranging when we are outside which breaks my heart
     
  4. CarolJ

    CarolJ Dogwood Trace Farm

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    After a hawk got my beautiful araucana rooster, we stopped free-ranging unless we are outside with them. My husband built a much bigger pen - with welded wire skirting - and completely covered with welded wire. So I don't feel bad letting them out only in the pen. When the weather is warmer, I plan on letting them free range more since I can be outside with them longer.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2012
  5. swampcat

    swampcat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah, DH said he will increase the pen size, but it kills me. I love walking out the door and everyone comes running over to me because they think I have treats.
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    If run is expanded but not enough to satisfy your concerns about confinement conditions, then effort to enrich it. Place some structures in run like done with parrots. Structures can be large branches and posts. Setup miniature feeding stations with different types of treats to serve as food rewards. Encourage them to fly up onto structures and walk about. I do this with old game cocks held long-term (years) in fly pens. Helps maintain mental and physical health.

    You will find they enjoy searching about for eats.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

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    My Coop
    I'm so sorry for your loss. I know how you are feeling - we lost our beautiful Bandit today - no idead how. She was fine in the morning and dead under the coop when I got home. It's so heartbreaking to find them that way. This was our 2nd loss since Christmas. The other was a Silkie rooster who got pecked in the head.

    I guess I just don't have thick enough skin to be a true chicken farmer. I'm trying to not let it get to me and to help the kids understand this is life - but it still is saddening. They seem to have moved past it already - but I doubt it. They cried for a day when our 1st chicken died. Maybe as we have more losses it will get easier to not get so sad about the loss.
     
  8. swampcat

    swampcat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's a great idea, thank you for sharing! I know my concerns about the size of their enclosure is silly (16ftx15ft for 7 chickens) but I just want them to be happy. I will definitely make some mini feeding stations and hide some yummies for them.
     
  9. swampcat

    swampcat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    [​IMG]I know exactly how you feel. We had 6 EE babies (12 wks or so) that were taken by the fox last June. Our family was devastated. And then Nelly today. [​IMG]
    As much happiness as they bring me, I don't know if I can keep doing this.
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Hide some in elevated locations. If birds do not investigate at first, then place containers on ground and move them up slowly over a few days.
     

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