Grieving and depressed chicken

Redlabel

Hatching
Aug 14, 2020
4
1
3
Not sure this is the right place, but asking for advice. Margeaux, our black sex linked hen of 6 years, has just become an only child in a pretty horrific manner. Her three other coop mates were slaughtered by a raccoon that dug under the fence. Its not her first loss. Over that 6 years she has lost "friends" to bobcats and coyotes, hawks and dogs, but we always had other mates for her.

Last night, she would not go back to the coop. She followed my wife around and wouldn't go back there. My wife went inside to give her a little more time and within a few minutes, she was pecking at the door, then slammed her chest into it. She is not a little chicken!

Anyway, when my wife opened the door she ran inside the house, jumped up on a coffee table, and settled down. In a few minutes, she was asleep. We couldn't put her out, so compromised and took her into the garage to sleep. She is back outside today so we'll see how it goes.

She has always been a loving hen. Would run to the car with the dog when I would come home and would come to our call and loves to be picked up and cuddled, but not sure what to do with her now. Can't let her run around the house which she would be perfectly happy to do.

Any suggestions?
 

Eggcessive

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Apr 3, 2011
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Chickens are used to other chickens. I would look for someone locally who wanted to rehome a couple of hens. Then I would make sure the raccoon could not dig under the fence, by making an apron around your fence. For the time being, she could be placed in a large wire dog crate with food and water in your garage just a night, and let her free range in the yard during the days. Sorry for your loss.
 
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Redlabel

Hatching
Aug 14, 2020
4
1
3
We moved from Frisco Texas a little over a year ago to a lake house in Oklahoma. the girls loved their big acre yard. We knew there would be some attrition as even in the suburbs, we lost a few to bobcats. Only lost one in the first 12 months and that was to my sister's dog who was just trying to play. But in the last 2 months, 1 to a hawk, 2 to a coyote (no longer a problem) and this last 3 in what I thought was a secure pen. (I had chicken wire 12 inches deep in every part but the door.
My sister has 6 leghorns she keeps cooped up but they are wild and not backyard raised. Might see if I can borrow a couple to see if they will accept her. She is almost twice their size so I don't think they would henpeck her.
 

Redlabel

Hatching
Aug 14, 2020
4
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Thanks, I should have thought of this. I moved from hard clay soil to sand, dumb me!
 

NatJ

Crowing
Mar 20, 2017
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Her three other coop mates were slaughtered by a raccoon that dug under the fence...Last night, she would not go back to the coop.
If the raccoon attack happened in the coop, then she probably does not think the coop is a safe place to sleep. (And she has good reason for thinking that!)

Of course, she also doesn't want to be alone.

Letting her sleep in a dog crate in the garage, or a similar solution, could work for now.

If you want to get her some new companions: you could try to get adult hens, or you could get chicks and divide the pen in two with wire fencing. Chicks on one side, your hen on the other. Then, once they're two or three weeks old, give her a chance to interact with the chicks while you supervise. If it doesn't work, keep them divided for another week or two, and try again. Because you only have one older hen, you may be able to integrate her with the chicks much younger that you would otherwise expect.

Of course, you also need to make the chicken housing more predator proof.

Did the raccoon get in at night or during the day? If it was at night, then locking chickens in a secure coop at night could work. (Solid floor, solid roof, walls made of either hardware cloth or solid material depending on climate/season.) If it was a daytime attack, then you'll have to improve the run as well.
 

Redlabel

Hatching
Aug 14, 2020
4
1
3
It was nighttime. We lock up the run, which has wire covering everywhere (except the floor), but have never locked the wooden door to the house itself. That will change.
 

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