Lonely hen after bobcat attack

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by bittyflock, Nov 22, 2019.

  1. bittyflock

    bittyflock In the Brooder

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    Apr 29, 2019
    San Rafael
    Hi,
    My tiny flock and I experienced a traumatic event yesterday and I’m seeking advice on next steps. I was in my yard while my chickens free ranged as they most always do, when chaos ensued and I saw that a large cat had my favorite, sweetest hen Sunny by the scruff of her neck. I ran up to scare the cat and grab Sunny from her but she was bouncing around hysterically and I knew the outcome would not be good. I held her and ran to get my things to see if I could get her to the emergency vet, but I was quite sure she would not make it and she died in my arms thereafter. My other hen Star was running for cover as the cat was still in the garden somewhere, so I went to scare the cat off and quickly realized it was no house cat but a bobcat. Star was well hidden and I couldn’t leave Sunny outside for fear of the bobcat, so brought her in my house and then secured Star in her coop. The bobcat visited a few more times but I have not seen it since.

    Now that Sunny is gone, I know that Star is not happy and is stuck in her coop while we figure out what to do. My instinct is to get a few more hens to keep her company, but we need to build a run so that they are not in danger. With the holidays, upcoming vacation plans, and inclement weather, this is not going to be super easy as their coop is in a tricky hilly location. So my question to you all is, am I torturing poor Star by keeping in her coop for days on end with no friends? It feels like cruelty to me, and I know I am feeling traumatized so can’t imagine how she is feeling. I think the other option would be to rehome her to another flock if I can find one. It’s hard to get into the psyche of a hen, so asking for advice here.

    Thanks.
     
  2. micstrachan

    micstrachan Free Ranging

    First, I’m sorry for your loss. No, it’s not cruel; it’s the lesser if two tough scenarios.

    Star does need chicken friends, but for now, can you spend as much time with her as possible so she isn’t lonely? Could you also maybe set up a temporary mini run and let her out while you hang out in the area with her? I hear electric netting is quick and easy to set up, yet effective against ground predators. Good luck and I hope you get more advice.
     
  3. FortCluck

    FortCluck Free Ranging

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    :hugs

    It's not cruel because it's that or she gets attacked. You're keeping her safe. As long as she has water and food, she is good. I would maybe sneak treats I'm like mealworms, just to let her scratch around in the coop.

    I would try to find a way to do a run that you can let her in that you can supervise for an hour or more a day just so she can get out and get some fresh air.

    I agree with the electric netting Premier1 has some pretty affordable ones that would work with a bully area.

    Good luck with everything
     
  4. glassdragonfly

    glassdragonfly Crowing

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    :hugsSorry for your loss. I agree with the others. You are keeping her safe. Chickens adapt to all different situations. A friend would be great but if you can't yet just give her some time every day. Maybe you could put up a small temporary run so she can get outside for a little while each day. Good luck.
     
  5. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    :hugs I'm sorry for your loss.
    Can you post some photos of the coop?
    Is there any way you can make a temporary run for Star until you are able to do something else.
    It's not really cruel to keep her "cooped up" but giving her some daily outside time would be beneficial to her - maybe stay outside with her for an hour or 2 each day if possible?
     
    Sequel, NHMountainMan and cavemanrich like this.
  6. bittyflock

    bittyflock In the Brooder

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    Apr 29, 2019
    San Rafael
    CA349694-F549-4E44-9B25-ED0E6BC19BC4.jpeg E13ECE2D-AD30-4D92-8D1C-6E77FD85BC7C.jpeg Thanks everyone that has responded so far. You have all made me feel much better and given me great ideas. I work most days and now that it is dark early I’ll have to find a way to hang out with her but I have 3 days off now and will make it happen for sure. Here are a few pics of their coop/run area. Hard to show the slope but it complicates fencing a bit. Thanks again for your ideas!
     
  7. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Enabler

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    Your coop/run does have an open are . I was just imagining a stand alone closed coop. Hen will be fine since able to scratch in run area ground. As time allows,, you can build a more secure run, and get another hen.
    WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, :highfive:
     
  8. Wyorp Rock

    Wyorp Rock Enabler

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    I agree. I was also thinking a stand alone closed coop. Even though not the same a being able to roam the yard, a single hen has enough space to get some sunshine and fresh air with that set-up. Hopefully she can be let out a few times a week. I know that can be difficult when one is working/has family, etc.
     
  9. bittyflock

    bittyflock In the Brooder

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    Apr 29, 2019
    San Rafael
    Thanks again everyone. The main problem with the run is that it’s not remotely predator proof. But we have been around all weekend and Star has had lots of time in her run and even all through the yard with our supervision. She doesn’t seem as traumatized as when Sunny’s original “sister” died and she was alone for a bit. She seemed truly hapless. We will see how it goes but so far better than expected. I already have my eyes on 2 hens Star’s age that are in need of rehoming due to an owner who has fallen ill. They are at our humane society. I know people don’t agree with getting chickens from unreputable sources but they are heirloom breeds and appear to be beautifully cared for and I like the idea of helping someone in need. Any feedback on this idea? Thank you again for everyone’s support and advice!!
     
  10. As long as you quarantine there is no reason not to take in these chickens.
     
    Sequel and NHMountainMan like this.

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