Losing the Top Hen---what now?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by FromChictoChick, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. FromChictoChick

    FromChictoChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 13, 2012
    MA
    My Coop
    My PBR hen was the top hen/alpha hen. Definitely the leader of the flock type, lead them around, kept everyone in line and kept the crew safe

    Last week I lost her to a particularly aggressive hawk :( I was really sad to lose her, but the other hens all seem off too
    I'm seeing a drop off in egg production (not sure if it's stress related or seasonal (all hens under 1yo) Had eight hens, was getting 3-4eggs/day now only 2eggs/day

    The surviving hens seem skittish and shy and quiet now, sort of loss

    My questions, how long does it take for things to go back to normal, for them to get back to egg production and out around the yard again? Will another hen step up? Would introducing a new hen help to shake up the pecking order? Is there anything I can do??
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Sorry for your loss. The pecking order may shift some, but hopefully there will not be major problems. Shortened daylength compounded by the hawk attack have combined to lower their egg production. The hawk may still be 'visiting' making them reluctant to venture out. I would only free range under supervised conditions. Adding a new hen/hens would just add to their stress. Things will settle down, but I am concerned that the hawk will return.
     
  3. FromChictoChick

    FromChictoChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    196
    1
    91
    Apr 13, 2012
    MA
    My Coop
    I've restricted their free ranging and put netting over the run/coop

    I feel bad, they've always enjoyed free ranging and I've always enjoyed having them in the yard, but no more risks

    They are now only free ranging when I am either home and in the yard or within earshot
     

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