Next Steps After Losing a Flock

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Redschickens, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. Redschickens

    Redschickens Chirping

    Jul 21, 2017

    We lost 5 of our 8 chickens last night/early this morning to a predator. We have 3 accounted for by feathers piles/"leftovers" and 2 still missing. 3 of our girls are currently corraled in their run.

    We let our chickens free range - have for a year. This is the first time this has happened. what are next steps? Obviously we will monitor for the predator and take care of it if we can. Do you have to wait until you catch the predator before getting new chickens? do you wait until their shock wears off before introducing new ones? at least the 3 of them still have each other and we will be taking more precautions. I am happy to take any ADVISE (not scolding please, this ahs been a hard day) about best times to lock them up/let them out if you free range, etc.

    Thanks in advance. I know only chicken people will understand. our yard was a massacre this morning and our 5 and 8 year old, who have raised these girls since they were chicks, saw. Been a tough day.
  2. Chloe+chickens=LOVE

    Chloe+chickens=LOVE Chirping

    Jun 14, 2018
    Rip. Wait a little bit till the chickens calm down then get some more.
  3. biophiliac

    biophiliac Traveler in BYCLand

    Apr 22, 2016
    DeForest, WI
    Try calling for the 2 unaccounted for... they may be hiding somewhere nearby. Sorry for your loss and the shock for your children.
    sourland likes this.
  4. Chickensrforus1234

    Chickensrforus1234 Chirping

    Jun 7, 2018

    I'm a free Ranger too. regardless of Predator attack I will always be a free Ranger. It just makes for happier birds!!! Only thing anybody could tell you is maybe just have where they sleep a little more secure.

    You can always use other livestock to protect your flock but that is an added expense and might not be something you're interested in.

    Nothing you could have done it's just life as a farmer. I would definitely get a few chicks sooner than later depending on where you live because not only are most Hatchery going to stop soon but you don't want them to be outside when it's really cold. But that just depends where you live.

    I would suggest take the family out for dinner get out the house get your mind off of it. If you're worried about the birds bring them in the house put them in the garage or somewhere tonight.
  5. biophiliac

    biophiliac Traveler in BYCLand

    Apr 22, 2016
    DeForest, WI
  6. Altfrizzle

    Altfrizzle Songster

    Sep 1, 2017
    Ridgefield, CT
    I lost my whole flock but one rooster, one night everybody thought somebody else had closed the coop.

    That one rooster was miserable until he had company. Cried/crowed nonstop.

    Now, I don't let them range free while I'm out of the house all day but I still let them range. We've lost a few here and there (one morning we had a simultaneous hawk AND fox attack! Wild kingdom!) but they seem to love free ranging so much, and to me, it's not just length but quality of life.
  7. RWise

    RWise Songster

    Dec 25, 2012
    Oakhurst Oklahoma
    I too free range my birds, and I must lock up the coop each and every night, else cats (also possums, coons, owls etc.) will come in and take a hen off the roost.
    All I can really say is make the coop predator proof, and lock it up every night! Even one night with the door open can be ,,, well, not good.
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I free range a lot. When predator not controlled, then birds are penned. Then I effort to ID predator is not already known. Then make adjustments before resumption of free range keeping. Killing predator sometimes used, but most of time owing to economics repelling is used to deny predator access to area. First line approach is timing of when birds free ranged when that is an option and I can also be out with birds during that interval. Second line is fencing, especially electrical. I have small kids so do not respect the theory such is dangerous. Then I have dogs that are the most expensive part, and most flexible.

    Losses to predator is not a once in a lifetime deal, so be on your toes.
  9. April’s Zoo

    April’s Zoo Songster

    May 31, 2018
    Puget Sound area
    Also, encourage your girls to talk about the experience....Not just to you, but also to each other. Sometimes, siblings are the best “therapists” for one another. Ask them what they saw— it may have been less than you think, because they might not have really understood what they were seeing.

    You will need to help them label the feelings they’re having— especially the 5 y.o. Kids have the same feelings of shock and trauma that we do, but they lack the ability to put words to their feelings. Help them compare their sadness or anger or fear to other times when they might have felt those things. Let them know that you are sad or angry or afraid, too. Tell them how you felt when you saw what happened. Tell them if you have a bad dream.

    Know that they may show their feelings in ways that are different than you might expect. They may get clingy, or they might not want to be involved with the remaining chickens. Or they might become overly involved. Any behavior that is out of the ordinary for them might be a reaction to the incident.

    Don’t just give them a blanket reassurance that “everything will be alright” — especially if you are still afraid for the rest of your birds. Tell them you are going to do all you can to keep the others safe.... but don’t just say that it won’t happen ever again, because that’s not true. Kids usually know when we are lying— and if they don’t, they figure it out in a hurry when what we say doesn’t match what happens.... and then they end up feeling even less secure, because they won’t know when they can really believe you.

    Kids are resilient. They usually get over things quickly. They just need an emotionally safe space to process whatever feelings they have about the incident.

    Good luck.
  10. happyfrenchman

    happyfrenchman Crowing

    Dec 20, 2008
    Central Ga.
    From what you wrote, I am thinking this happened overnight? Is that correct? What kind of security do you employ? Coop door closed? Run covered? Automatic Chicken door and the birds never made it in? Most people who start with chickens later realize they have to increase their security. Did something get in your coop and pull them out? Did you just find them in the field like they never went in? Sorry this happened to you and your kids. I hope they will be resilient.
    True Patriot, aart and biophiliac like this.

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