one hen left after coyote attack - what to do?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by craftychicken, Oct 29, 2010.

  1. craftychicken

    craftychicken Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 29, 2010
    San Diego, CA

    I've been a lurker here for a while. We had 3 hens (BPR, RIR, and Ameraucana) about 6 months old. We have a bi-level coop (6x4x6) but let the chickens roam the yard during the day. Last weekend, in broad daylight a coyote got our BPR and RIR. Our neighbor saved the Ameraucana ("Brownie") who had jumped to the top of the fence. We are not sure how the coyote got in. The fence on the street side is 6ft high, and the fence with the neighbor is 4ft. No signs of digging. It must have climbed over. We have since secured our coop with hardware cloth underneath and bricks around it. We keep Brownie in the coop full time now, and check on her all the time. We feel bad that she is all alone and cooped up. We're still pretty devastated by the whole event, but think we should get a companion hen for her. This is our first time having chickens. How should we introduce a new hen? Is there a particular breed for which this is easier? I don't know if it matters, but Brownie was at the bottom of the pecking order before. I was reading about quarantining - how can i do this practically without building another coop? Can you buy a bird that is already quarantined? How long is it OK to have a hen by herself? She doesn't seem too traumatized. She continues to eat and lay, but she seems to be looking for her friends sometimes.

    Any advice would be appreciated. I'm sure I'll have more questions later.

    This is Brownie:

  2. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2009
    Oakland, CA
    So sorry for your loss. It sounds like you did everything right, but there is always a risk when we let them free range.

    You should get some new chicken friends for brownie and quarantine them first. They should be kept far from the existing coop for about a month or month and a half. I've used a dog crate for this purpose. It is a pain in the butt. But you don't want to introduce a disease to Brownie OR your property.

    If I were dealing with the situation where you have a hungry coyote I would think of setting something up in my garage for the new girls so that I could use cheaper materials for the temporary housing. But indoor chickens are dusty/dirty! I think I could tolerate it for a month but it would be some work.

    As for breeds, I would avoid leghorns and Rhode Island Reds (some are territorial but some aren't) and Blue Andalusians. There are probably others to avoid but these are the ones I have direct experience with. I would look for breed characteristics on these sites, and cross reference each of the references because I don't find any of them to be complete:

    Look for a breed that is "docile", "does well in confinement" and "not territorial or aggressive".

    Until Brownie gets new friends you might want to give her a mirror and spend more time with her as she will be lonely.
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    First off, WELCOME TO BYC>

    So sorry about the loss of your hens.

    Coyotes can clear a 6 foot fence jumping without any trouble.

    Secure your coop and run and go on Craigs List and find two or three more hens to give Brownie company. She'll be miserable alone.
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Hens are happier if there are at least 3.
  5. craftychicken

    craftychicken Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 29, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Thanks so much for all your replies. I like the garage idea with a temporary pen. That would give us time to build a bigger enclosure outside.
  6. LittleHouseOnThePrairie

    LittleHouseOnThePrairie Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 18, 2010
    Central Iowa
    Brownie is a beautiful hen! I am so glad that she survived without too much trauma. We started with one hen and got her a friend after about a month. The dog crate approach worked really well for us. And we didn't have a problem integrating them...they both seemed very happy to have a companion!
  7. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    What a nice neighbor, you have, that saved Brownie, we hear so much on this forum about the BAD neighbors. Brownie is so pretty, The coyote will be back. Maybe it would be good to keep her in the garage until you find some friends, so she is safe.
  8. mrsbos

    mrsbos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 11, 2010
    Greenacres, WA
    That is AWFUL about the coyote! So sorry for your loss, espcially when you only had 3! We also have a large yard surrounded by a 5 ft fence street side, and 6 ft fence everywhere else. I thought we were pretty secure letting the girls free-range all-day, with the exception of a hawk ambush--though we have lots of cover for the chickens to run under if they saw one. The neighbor's dog dug under the fence once when my 3 EEs spent a lot of time along their fence line foraging. Thankfully they were safely locked in the coop at the time. I moved the coop to the other side of my yard (~80 yards away) and the girls rarely visit the side near the dogs now, so the dogs are less tempted and haven't attempted to dig under again. I've heard coyotes howling at night in our suburban neighborhood, but have never seen any during the daytime. Now it's just another predator I have to worry about!
  9. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 13, 2010
    Oh, Brownie is such a pretty hen!

    I hope you find her some girlfriends and that they get along great. Post a photo when you do - I'd love to see Brownie's story come to a happy ending. [​IMG]
  10. pkw

    pkw Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2010
    North Edwards, CA
    We had a coyote attack last week. They jump a 5 ft fence and took 11 of our hens and went behind the back fence and started their howling. 2 of our new hampshire hens came to our back door for safety. For the past week and a half here the coyotes has been running in packs and there are at least 2 seperate packs in vicinity to each other always howling. I have had to wait until after 8:30 am to let our chickens out and about a half hour before dark we lock them up.

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