Need a reality check on chicken losses

KristinLLB

In the Brooder
7 Years
Jun 26, 2012
56
6
33
Atlanta
Hi y'all.

I keep a small flock (3 hens) in my backyard. They have free range of the backyard, which has sunny and shady areas and is well-fenced against predators like dogs. I have never seen a possum, raccoon, or anything like that. They also have access to scratch under our deck, which they love doing.

I feel like they have a pretty good life. They seem happy, are friendly. They lay regularly, almost every day.

I think they are about 2.5 years old. We got them as rescues from a battery farm about a year ago.

2 months ago, one hen was killed by a hawk. We found her mangled body in the yard. While this was traumatic (for us and the other girls), we still felt the trade-off for free-range quality of life was worth the risk (after a few more precautions taken and some time in the run to discourage Mr. Hawk from the daily buffet). We've had no hawk problems since then.

But yesterday one of the other hens -- my favorite, Mollie -- just dropped dead. No apparent trauma, and she seemed normal before that. My husband found her under her favorite bush.

So I'm wondering -- what should I realistically expect for the lifetime of a hen? I certainly don't want to replace a hen every 3 months. Were these just freak occurrences, or pretty normal? With a flock of 3, should I shift how I think about replacing birds and just accept that I'll need to get new hens a few times a year? Our main purpose is eggs for the family, but we also want them to be healthy, happy pets.

I have a knot in my stomach about Mollie.

Kristin
 

realsis

Crazy for Silkies
7 Years
Jan 17, 2013
3,968
375
263
California
because they are ex battery hens the life might have been shortened because of they way she had to live and was raised that's my guess. its a difficult life being a battery hen as you know.my guess is that had a LOT to do with why she passed so young. at least she got to experience love and freedom before she went. I'm so sorry for your loss! but that would be my best guesses. God bless and good luck.
 

KristinLLB

In the Brooder
7 Years
Jun 26, 2012
56
6
33
Atlanta
Thanks. I just found her last egg in the fridge (hers were always the largest) and I'm feeling weird about eating it. Funny, huh?
 

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