Help - My chickens are scared

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Mortis, Jul 16, 2010.

  1. Mortis

    Mortis Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2010
    Hello, I am a new member, so I'll give you a brief history. I got 15 Rhode Island pullets (1 turned out to be a rooster). I raised them in the garage in a wooden box until they were big enough to go outside. I have a large coop that I kept them in a few days, and then started letting them out every morning to Free-Range, and then would close them in every night. I gave them treats, and they would come to me whenever they saw me coming. Every day they would wander out into the yard and scratch, run around, and have a good time. This lasted for about a month.

    A few weeks ago, something attacked the chickens. They were all scattered about and hiding. Some under bushes, some back in the woods, some under the deck. As I walked around the yard, they eventually came out to follow me, and when I led them back up by the coop, I counted them, and 1 was missing. I never did find any feathers or signs of struggle, and I am guessing that a hawk got one.

    The problem now is that they chickens are scared. Every morning I open up the coop, and they will run out to see me, but they won't wander more than a few feet away from the coop. Every day after work I go to see them, and they are usually all inside the coop, or very near it. They will always come out to see me, but they will not follow me out into the yard anymore, even if I give them treats. There are 2 or 3 brave ones that will go out into the yard, but will run back to the coop within minutes after I leave them.

    I know they are scared from whatever attacked the flock, but is there some way to get them to roam again? Do I just need to give them time? Should I take the feed trough out of the coop and put it down in the yard during the daytime?

    Any suggestions? Thanks for your help.
  2. MaureenL128

    MaureenL128 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 24, 2010
    Long Island, NY
    Hi. This just happened to me last week. Iam just starting to let my girls out again. They are roaming but not too far and I am glad of that. I would rather they be a little scared to go far. Just give them time and they will resume their normal routine.
  3. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I have hawks that are in the sky nearby everyday. I gave in and put up some bird netting that I bought $35 for 70 ft x 14 ft. at the farm store. I ended up putting several of those up.

    One landed in the garden where they are, and all the girls scattered under the log piles (before I got the netting up).

    *I think if they are afraid it is for good reason*. I know my chickens are quite smart.
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    They may be seeing something that you aren't....maybe there is a hawk hanging out in your area that is looking for another chicken dinner.

    I have a tractor for daytime use, and my chickens seems to understand that they're safe from predators in there. They don't dive for cover when they're in the tractor like they do when they're out in the yard.

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