I need help with what to do with my baby

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ProjectChick, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. ProjectChick

    ProjectChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    107
    9
    81
    Aug 23, 2014
    Iowa
    My Coop
    We have had an influx of predators since spring. This is the first time we have had any issue in over two years of having chickens here. We have removed 8 raccoons and a possum in just a couple of weeks. We have been very careful making sure to only free range in the middle of the day and making sure they were all back in the run before dusk. We had recently moved our 2 EE babies, the were 15 weeks, in with the flock and they had been free ranging with them for a couple of weeks already and had been in a separate pen in the run for several before that.

    Wednesday of last week, they were all out in the yard, I went in the house for a break from working in the yard. It was later in the day and when we went out back out to put the chickens in the run and the 6 older hens were all up by the house. But the two EE babies and the rooster were no where in site. After searching everywhere we could think of. We headed down the path to the pond. About half way down we found our little Edna. She was scared to death and soaking wet. But didn't have a mark on her. She ran right to me to be picked up and buried herself in my chest. We continued searching down the path and as we rounded the pond found little Gladys' body. It appeared that her neck had been broken, but there were no other bite marks. We continued to search but found no sign of the rooster anywhere. What would kill a chicken and then just leave it there dead?


    Loosing the rooster was very hard as well. He was actually a young rescue EE rooster that we brought in a couple months a go. He had been beaten up pretty bad by the older roosters at the farm where he was. He was covered with scabs and was missing most of his feathers. He had started to heal up and his feathers were coming back in. He had really come into his own and was taking care of his hens. Which is what he was doing right to the end I am sure.


    What my concern now is for little Edna. She is really all alone. The older hens have not accepted her. The two bottom hens are really picking on her. So she spends most of her time running or hiding alone. I feel so bad for her. She is sleeping in the coop with them, but she is sleeping in the window seal instead of on the roost. I wish there was something I could do for her now. Any suggestions? Do you think the hens will accept her? How long will it be like this. Should I try to get another chicken or rooster? She flies to my shoulder or into my arms as soon as I go in the run.

     
  2. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,455
    359
    228
    Mar 31, 2014
    Ohio
    So sorry for your loses and predator struggles. I can certainly relate as this year has been extraordinary with the amount of racoons and opossums we have had. I have lost over 10 hens. We have revamped the coop and set hav-a-heart traps. Back to you....

    I think the older hens will eventually accept her. they just have to re establish their pecking order.

    Regards to the rooster question.....Do you have another rooster? I would have at least one.

    As far as your latest predator, could be fox, racoon, mink, opossum, ferel cat, dog, coyote. Can you get or borrow a trail cam?
     
  3. sawilliams

    sawilliams Chillin' With My Peeps

    617
    127
    131
    Nov 12, 2015
    Nor Cal
    The one will adjust over time. I still have pullets 20 weeks plus that don't roost with the older girls. I would think it might be a good idea to set up some hiding spots in the run so she can get away from the older hens if they are pecking to much. But overall she will just need to adjust. It would be better for the hens to figure the pecking order out on their own. I've noticed once pullets start laying eggs they also seem to earn their place in the flock. Maybe it's a hormone thing but they seem to mingle better once they start laying.

    I agree with above if you have a known predator issue tighten up the cooperation and run as much as possible and find a rooster to help protect the girls. From the sounds of it even though you lost 2 the predator didn't take the baby because after the rooster tried to save her the predator had a bigger dinner to deal with first. It's not that it left a good meal but that it picked the more appealing of the 2 maybe hoping to come back for the other later. Unfortunately with that in mind ib would be wary of letting any out for a bit...

    Back to flock acceptance though. I have a pair both 19 weeks one is laying one is not. The none laying will follow her partner around to no end but will avoid everyone if the laying is mingling with the rest of the flock. Last year I had 1 a late bloomer so to speak she was almost 9 months before her first egg always sat in the background, never came to the gate or to forget with the flock when I brought treats. Then suddenly a few days before her first egg she was standing in the middle of the run with the others (not hiding) and began being one of the first to the door for free ranging time. Your little one might be stressed right now but over time she will learn to stick up for herself and eventually the others will give her the space and respect she needs to be part of the flock.
     
  4. ProjectChick

    ProjectChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    107
    9
    81
    Aug 23, 2014
    Iowa
    My Coop
    Thank you for your replies. I really hope things settle down for her soon. Do you think I should let things settle for her before I add another rooster? I do miss the crowing. But I don't want to make life worse on her.

    I feel pretty confident in our coop and run enclosure. We have never had anything more than an occasional wild bird get in the coop or even run and that is only when it is open. And we check secure and re-enforce all the time. We did almost triple the size of the run this past weekend to allow more space there, since they will be spending most of their time there now. We have been adding drift wood and cut logs and putting up branches for roosts in the new area. The run is approximately 30' x 18' now.

    We have had the hav-a-hart trap out again for a couple of nights now and have caught nothing. So I am thinking that it must be something besides a raccoon this time. We caught them every time we set the trap for almost 8 nights in a row on the same bait we are using now (canned cat food). I may move it closer to the other side of the pond, but I have been trying to keep it away from the house and coop. I do have a trail cam, but forget to set it. I also have horses in the pasture there and I end up with a lot of pictures of them when I do. I can set next to the fence were I know predators are coming through to take the chickens and see if they are returning.

    I do know there are fox out there, that was our first near tragedy this spring. The chickens were all still very free range. And we had a very mean, nasty, don't turn your back on him, a**hole of a rooster and he would lead the hens around the whole 14 acres and then some during the day. (they stay very close to the coop and house now) One evening as I was heading outside I heard a ruckus out in front of the house and realized a fox was standing there with one of my hens in his mouth and was fighting off the rooster. Well I some how kicked into auto drive and chased down the fox in the farm field next door screaming the whole time, he was having trouble running with the he in his mouth. He eventually stopped and let go of the hen and she ran back home. And she was fine minus half the feathers on her backside. We actually have not seen any sign of a fox since then. A couple weeks later in when a raccoon came up from the pond side and took the rooster. I was not real sad for the loss of that rooster, but I hate to think of the way he died. We didn't actually see the raccoon, but we saw the tracks in the mud. That is when we started trapping. The possum was stealing our ripe tomatoes as soon as they were ripe. We still haven't had a tomato from our garden yet.
     
  5. BabyandCotton

    BabyandCotton Chillin' With My Peeps

    855
    69
    108
    Jun 14, 2016
    Florida
    You know what I think happened? The fox picked up Gladys and Edna, and Gladys's neck got broken. Your rooster chased the fox, and Edna was fighting. It dropped Edna but the rooster pursued. It finally dropped Gladys by the pond but the rooster chased and got lost. I would not be very surprised if your rooster limped his way home. Keep an eye out, ask around, etc.
    -Liv
     
  6. ProjectChick

    ProjectChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    107
    9
    81
    Aug 23, 2014
    Iowa
    My Coop
    Oh I would to love to find that rooster! I have walked pasture out there over and over and I can not even find any sign of his feathers. I have searched the old trees out there looking for possible dens. I haven't found anything. I will setup the trail cam today. I have heard trapping a fox can be a lot trickier.
     
  7. Outpost JWB

    Outpost JWB Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,455
    359
    228
    Mar 31, 2014
    Ohio
    It is possible he could be alive. We had a Golden Polish Hen (named Tina Turner) disappear one day-assuming a predator chased her away. We looked for hours. Told our neighbors to keep an eye out for her, because everyone loved her. It rained, icy rain, stormed, was very cold out. Then neighbor went for a walk one day a week later & happened to see her on another road about 1/2 mile away! She had took roost in trees & who knows where for a whole week. Neighbor told us, we drove over & as soon as DD called for her, she flew down and ran to her:D
     
  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

    4,700
    1,326
    356
    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Once the !#$%%^$& predators find you, they find you in a big way! Like 50% off the tasty coop! Ugh!

    A couple of points, pullets are a sub flock, and will be until laying, and your pullet should be within weeks of laying.

    On free-ranging, I love to let mine out but it costs and you loose some. These are some things that have really helped me, use what you want.
    • Don't free- range every day, or on the the same time schedule, let them out in the morning one day, not till late afternoon the next day, then don't let them out at all.
    • Don't let them out if it is very windy, or very cloudy, this gives big advantages to the predators, especially hawks.
    • Lock up back into the run before dark, training your birds to go into the set up is important, I use a long stick to round them up, others use a can of treats. This works great if you have to leave and know it will be past dark when you come in.
    • If you get hit, lock them up for a couple of weeks, so the predators move on to easier pickings somewhere else.
    • A mature year old rooster can help, he is a good one, if when you walk up to the flock, he is the first one that has his head up and notices you. If he is looking around while the hens peck at the ground, (and if he is nice and eye candy it helps too ;-)

    I have a lot of hide outs in my run, multiple levels with platforms that chickens can get under or on top of, and roosts for the early morning or late afternoon, may make the run look cluttered, but it does allow birds to get away from each other and actually gives more 3 dimensional space.

    If you can get a good rooster, about a year old, I would, if he is just a juvenile rooster, I would wait till the pullet is laying.

    MRs K
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
  9. ProjectChick

    ProjectChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    107
    9
    81
    Aug 23, 2014
    Iowa
    My Coop
    Thank you all for your posts. They are so helpful. I hope things get better for my little Edna soon. It breaks my heart every time I go out there. She tries so hard to come with me.

    Mrs K your free-range rules make a lot sense. It is close to what we have been trying to follow, but will get much stricter. It is definitely like the word it out there and all the predators are talking about our plump healthy chickens.

    I do have a bit of good news this morning. We found this in our trap! Say good bye. This is number 9. We have moved them all over 20 miles away a crossed an interstate and a river to an un-populated wooded area.Shh don't tell anyone. We will be resetting tonight.

    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. ProjectChick

    ProjectChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    107
    9
    81
    Aug 23, 2014
    Iowa
    My Coop
    My baby slept on the top roost last night! She is settling way faster than I dared to hope!
     
    1 person likes this.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by