How do I help my surviving chickens?

Advertisement Purina Flock Layer


5 Years
Oct 1, 2014
Well, the unthinkable happened. We had 6 lovely ladies for a year and a half. They were asleep in their coop which was secured with a gate latch and carabiner. Raccoons managed to bend and remove the carabiner, take it off the latch, open the latch and attack our chickens (we were away that night or we might have at least heard the assumed ruckus that ensued). I still can't believe they actually figured all that out and physically were able to do it. They killed 2 outright and badly injured two others who didn't survive either. We lost two Rhode Island Reds, one Leghorn and one Bard Rock. We have one Bard Rock and one Leghorn left. We've pad locked their coop and will be constructing a roof over their run so this can't ever happen again.

So we think we have the physical changes pretty well covered. That said, we want our two remaining birds to be "happy". We're not sure if they should have company at some point since they've lost 4 sisters. Can anyone chime in on whether or not we should introduce more chickens and when? We would prefer to wait till the spring and get baby chicks but I've heard that introducing younger birds into an established "flock" sometimes doesn't work out well. They just look lonely and we don't want them to be. We also want them to feel that they are protected and we figure there is safety in numbers.

Thanks all!
:welcome! I am so sorry for your loss. You can get new birds if you like, but as you said, introduction will take some work. I do it every year, though, so it can be done! There are two methods to do it. The first is to wait till nighttime, then sneak the new birds onto the roost. When they wake up they'll be focussed on food and fighting will be reduced, but there definitely will be fighting to establish the pecking order. The second method is the one I prefer. You introduce the new birds by putting them where they can all see each other, but not get at each other, like in a separate area in the run, etc. You leave them there for a few weeks so everyone gets used to each other and they can posture through the fence without being able to fight, which can get the new pecking order at least partially sorted. Then you put everyone together and there will still be some scuffling, but it will be reduced. This will actually probably work really well for you, since you could put the chicks in a grow out pen in the adult bird's run, and give everyone lots of time to get used to each other before the new birds are old enough to be released with your two survivors.

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