My girls are too scared to leave the coop

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by LorenMcHugh, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. LorenMcHugh

    LorenMcHugh Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 1, 2013
    My juvenile rooster and 1 bantam hen were killed by a hawk a week ago and my 3 surviving hens have not left the coop since. We have an enclosed pen off of our coop and they will not even go out there. I forced them out the other day while I was changing their bedding and water and they all hid under the coop. They seem traumatized by what happened and it's breaking my heart. I want to let them free range because I know that makes them happy but I can't take having another one of my feathery children killed. Will they ever want to leave the coop again? I hate to keep them "cooped" up so long but I'm nervous the hawk will come back again. Pretty sure it was the same bird that killed my hen in the fall. I'm getting way too attached to these chickens...
     
  2. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    Well, thankfully, chickens have tiny brains, short memories, and work mostly off of instinct and habit. If i were you, i would try to help them establish a new habit of going out by associating something fun with it. Maybe next time you put them out of the coop, you couple that experience with some yummy treats. Then do the same thing several days in a row. Pretty soon, they will get past their trauma and remember again, that going outside is fun. :)

    I'm really sorry for your loss. I have lost way too many chickens to hawks, and have had to confine my girls to a small run for a while now because of them.
     
  3. LorenMcHugh

    LorenMcHugh Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 1, 2013
    I have been giving them their favorite treat (sunflower seeds) and as soon as they have gobbled them up...it's back in the coop. It is very hard to see these chicks you've raised turn into something's lunch. Sorry to hear you've lost so many. I'm struggling with keeping them alive vs. letting them live happy little lives. We went pretty much all summer with them free ranging and no issues. I think my poor rooster was killed trying to protect my little bantam too...soo sad. My kids get attached to them too which makes it even harder. I thought about not getting any more cause its just too hard to lose them but I'm already thinking about which breed I want to get in the spring. I'm hooked on these silly chickens.
     
  4. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    Without being in your situation, i can think of a couple of things i might try. One, is there something you can do to block their access to the area under the coop? Can you block them from being able to retreat back into the coop, even for a few hours each day?

    Is the area in any way protected above (for your peace of mind and theirs)?

    I have noticed that the fall is the worst time of year for hawks, at least in my area. In the spring and summer, i don't usually have the same problems.
     

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