Lost a Flock: Lonely Rooster?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mo-diggity, Nov 24, 2014.

  1. mo-diggity

    mo-diggity Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    24
    Apr 22, 2014
    Hi, all -

    We lost our three hens to a predator last night. We feel guilty and are completely devastated, though we know that this happens frequently when living out near a rural area. They were the first chickens we've ever owned and it is really tough to not wake up and go spend time with them this morning. [​IMG] At least we know they died happy after a long day roaming around the yard now that the foot of snow we've had has melted (for the time being), and we buried them in a deep hole in the backyard.

    While we miss our three hens dearly...our larger concern at the moment is the lone rooster, Turner, who survived. Last night we were too distraught to really think about what to do with him, but he was sulking last night and very, very quiet (unusual behavior for him, as I'm sure it is with most roosters). It's too dark out right now for me to go and see him this morning, and though I've heard him crow a few times it's less frequent than normal, for sure.

    We know we will get new chickens eventually, but it likely won't be until springtime (March or April). My fear is what to do with Turner: do we keep him as a lone rooster until we are able to get more chicks, or will he forget about this flock once he is rehomed to a new flock ASAP with lots of lovely ladies? I know he feels that his purpose is to protect his flock, and part of me feels that without a flock he won't be happy...but it is wholly possible I am giving him too much credit, emotionally speaking. I just want to do the best thing for him at this point, since we let down our three hens already.

    Will he be fine as a single bird for 4-5 months until we get some new baby chicks, or should mom and dad do the best thing for him and find him a happy home?
     
  2. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

    5,291
    626
    318
    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    Have you checked around locally to see if you can find a few ladies? Have you checked Craigslist? I'm so very sorry for your losses, but I think the more important question right now is....how did this happen?

    I take it you free-range, and with free-ranging comes the definite possibility of loss of life. I'm not an advocate of free-ranging so I can't really help you with that. Do you know what got them? What type of injuries did they have?
     
  3. mo-diggity

    mo-diggity Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    24
    Apr 22, 2014
    It was definitely a free-range incident, which is why we feel so guilty about it. We knew they were our responsibility to care for them and we let them down. Not an easy lesson to learn, for sure.

    Another point of concern is the really cheap coop we bought on Craigslist: the whole bottom of it is broken, so whatever got in there really got rough. We bought the coop after seeing that it had everything we needed for a coop, but without noticing things that we've learned now: not an easy way to clean, roosting bars aren't high enough, flimsy uninsulated walls, etc. I'm already drawing up designs for the next coop!

    The hens were killed, but not eaten. Lots of feathers everywhere. I'm thinking it was a fox (I thought I read somewhere that they kill but don't eat?), or perhaps a neighborhood cat? Whatever it was, it struck at dusk as usual. Two of the birds were inside the pen, so I doubt it was a bird of prey, and there are very few coyotes around here. Maybe a raccoon, though I've seen more foxes in the area than coons.
     
  4. JanetMarie

    JanetMarie Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,081
    375
    186
    Oct 23, 2014
    Michiana
    I sympathize with you on your loss. Your loss isn't truly a free-range incident, but an issue of an inadequate chicken house, which needs addressing before you get more hens or chicks, which it seems that you realize now. I have had free-range deaths in my flock, and it's always the hens that are killed, always outside while they are foraging, and never in their house. They are always secure at night. Make sure when you get their new house that the chicken door locks from the inside, or a predator proof lock on the outside.

    For your lonely rooster, he may be able to wait for chicks to grow up, and maybe not. I had a Buff Orpington rooster who was in his own area by himself until his chicks grew into hens. He was so happy when they became his flock. There were even two that chose to be in his area before being full grown, and he was wonderful to them. This probably depends on breed of rooster also, as to if he can wait for hens or not. But he will be lonely until then.

    If you re-home him to a flock of hens, he would probably be happy just to have some hens again (and an owner who takes good care of him).
     
  5. JanetMarie

    JanetMarie Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,081
    375
    186
    Oct 23, 2014
    Michiana
    I have looked at chicken houses for sale, that I wouldn't accept for my birds, because there is always something that would need changing, or is not secure enough somewhere. For our chicken house we purchase a new outdoor shed, and my husband renovated it for a chicken house. It was expensive, but is sturdy, will last a long, long time, and has enough room inside to have it set up perfect for chickens.
     
  6. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

    5,291
    626
    318
    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    I totally agree with you! I looked at (even bought one!) those cheapo-built chicken coops...not for me! I, too, ended up buying a LifeTime Shed, 5' x 8' and I couldn't be happier, not to mention my girls! Here's a few pics to give the thread starter a few things to think about:

    [​IMG]
    I can't tell you how nice it is to be able to walk into the coop! Yay! My run is attached which is 9' x 16'. Everything (and I mean everything!) is 1/2" hardware cloth, aproned all around.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My girls are safe and sound...I wish the thread starter all the very best! [​IMG]
     
  7. mo-diggity

    mo-diggity Out Of The Brooder

    12
    0
    24
    Apr 22, 2014
    Wow, iwiw60, that is a BEAUTIFUL coop and run set-up! I agree, we do need a better housing situation.

    I've been scanning Craigslist for more lovely ladies (and a new, BETTER coop) because I can't bear the idea of little roo being sad and lonely. I'd also hate for him to end up on someone else's dinner plate because they changed their mind about keeping him [​IMG]

    Thanks for all the help and advice...we hope to have a new flock soon!
     
  8. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

    5,291
    626
    318
    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    I'm sure you already know this, but just in case........if you get a couple of new pullets/hens be SURE to isolate them from your rooster for 2 reasons: 1) There might be fighting, and 2) just in case your new birds have an illness or are carrying a disease.

    Same thing with buying a coop off Craigslist! If you get one be sure to give it a thorough (every nook and cranny!) cleaning!!! You just never know what might be lurking in them...i.e., lice, mites, etc.

    Let us know when you get some new birds!! [​IMG]
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    33,736
    6,861
    576
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Would probably be best for both rooster and keepers to send him off to another flock if possible....
    .......especially if you live in a harsh climate...
    and spend the winter planning your coop and run then start fresh with a batch of chicks in the spring.

    Planning/building a coop and run and getting it all set takes a sh!tload of time, not a job I'd want to do in the winter where I live.
     
  10. CrazyTalk

    CrazyTalk Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,384
    305
    148
    Jun 10, 2014
    I agree with this.

    Trying to rebuild a coop while you're on a time constraint (lonely rooster) just tends to lead to cutting corners and rushing things.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by