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Lonely injured hen

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by DanceswChicken, Sep 14, 2014.

  1. DanceswChicken

    DanceswChicken New Egg

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    Sep 14, 2014
    I'm a first time Chicken raiser. This May, I at last bought the farm and have started my forever home(stead).

    I raised 40 chicks (mailed ordered from this site, could not be more please with BYC). 1 day after putting them outside in what we thought was a predator proof coop and covered fenced yard, tragedy struck. The neighbor's dog, a Pitbull mix with those jaws of steel, tore the fence from the wall and went on a killing spree. We lost 18 of our darlings including all three roos (I wonder if at 2 months old the boys tried to protect the flock?)

    6 more hens were injured, but lived. 5 of those we were able to return to the flock. (The coop has been reinforced and the neighbor gave the dog away). One sweet Barred Rock hen is still in my living room, keeping company with my angora bunnies. What we thought was a badly sprained leg, proved to be a really bad break just above the knee joint. A vet friend specializing in small animals and birds, took a look at her and said that even with costly surgery there no hope of re-gaining function. She's a happy bird, by the 2nd day of recovery she was singing and chatting to anyone who came near, so we named her Sunshine.

    She get around on one leg reasonably well. I take her out to the yard several times a day for forging and exercise. When panicked she has developed a flying/hop that covers ground pretty quickly, but of course she would be helpless against any predator. We hope to let the rest of the flock "free-range" in a fence acre or so around the coop, as such we know she can't go back in with the flock, and of course there are concerns of her being badly pick on, or killed by the flock.

    I would like to find her a friend. Does any one have any advice? Should I put out a lonely hearts ad on craiglist for another injured chicken? Is there another breed of chicken or bird that is less likely to pick on her? I have the room and time to build another coop just for Sunshine and friend(s) next to the house where I can keep an eye on them.

    I also have concerns about her laying eggs. She has just this week laid her first 2 eggs. Both were tiny, smaller than the other first eggs of the flock. I've read about eggs getting stuck in the hen. I'm concerned that some of her muscle might be weak on the limp leg side. Could that make egg laying harder for her? She put no weight on the leg at all, though she does seem able to move a bit from the hip.

    Sorry the long winded post. I'm as chatty as my hens.

    Thanks for reading, I look forward to any and all advice. Please share any similar stories, hopefully with happy endings.
     
  2. Yorkshire Coop

    Yorkshire Coop Moderator Staff Member

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    My Coop
    Hi :welcome Glad you joined the flock. Sorry to read about the dog attack on your flock must have been very upsetting. Lovely to read you put the time into sunshine and that she seems a happy bird. I have polish that are reasonably quiet birds that are easily tamed and are at the bottom of the pecking order in a flock. They also do well being confined seems to suit them better than free ranging as they can sometimes be easily spooked and often need a guide around the garden. As to her egg laying I would just keep an eye on her for now to see how she gets on as her eggs get bigger. Hope you find sunshine a friend soon and that she continues to be a happy bird :frow
     
  3. DanceswChicken

    DanceswChicken New Egg

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    Sep 14, 2014
    Greeting Yorkshire Coop,
    Thanks for the input. I like the idea of the smaller birds. I did wonder if it would be safe to let Sunshine hatch a couple of eggs and just start her own tiny flock. I just can't decide if there is a danger of her hurting the chicks as her hopping is a bit clumsy at times. I like the idea of getting a couple newly hatch Polish and perhaps if I hand raise them to a couple weeks they will be sturdy enough to hang with her. Any opinions? Adult vs Chick?

    Thanks again. She really is just such a sweet bird. If I spent more time in the house, I won't mind keeping her as a lap chicken. My "city friends" are amazed to see her stretched out on my lap snoozing. But she alone too much many hours so a feather friend she will have.

    Best wishes to you and yours.
     
  4. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi! I had a black sex link hen who had a broken leg that mended. She could not use it, but did a little hop skip and she ranged with the flock, and she lived a good, long time and produced many eggs. You will be amazed at how well you hen will learn to get around if you'll allow her to. I would not let her free range unsupervised, of course, but she'll learn to get around just as fast as the others with some practice. Mine could outrun the rooster, believe it or not!
     
  5. DanceswChicken

    DanceswChicken New Egg

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    Howdy Peeps61,

    What a reassuring story. I'm so glad to hear that your hen had no issues with egg laying.

    I considered putting her back with the flock, but I do still hope to let the flock range in a fenced acre. We"ve done what we can to patch fencing in hopes of keeping stray dogs out, but with 46 acres, it will take time and lots of money. I have hopes of adopting a couple of donkeys in the spring to act as guards for the property. And luck was with us when we found someone with 2 monster RIR Roos to replace our lost boys. Fingers crossed that they are as brave and macho as their strut suggests. The area we're fencing has so many towering trees I doubt a hawk can even see the girls, much less a clear path to swoop. I wish my main house was so perfectly shaded. Even in 95 degree last week, the girls were cool and happy under the canopy.

    It's encouraging to hear your hen lived a long and happy life. I know I'll have to accept a loss now and then, the dog taught us that :( But with so much one on one time with Sunshine, it will even sadder to lose her.

    Aren't animals amazing!?! No human I know could made the adjustment to a crippling injury so quickly. I think as long as the sun shines and there are fresh greens to nibble Sunshine will always sing.

    Thanks again for the reply.
     
  6. Peeps61

    Peeps61 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You're welcome and good luck!
     

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