Only One Left

JLR

Chirping
Oct 1, 2018
31
60
54
Back in September my wife got three chickens from a friend to butcher. They were so lovable I talked her in to keeping them. We bought a small coop on Amazon, some feed and prepared an area for them. I would let them out in the morning and they would forage in our big yard all day. At night they would go back in their coop.
We live on a lake and one day last month I saw a fox down by the lake. I freaked out and ran out the door. One chicken was by the door squawking wildly and the other two were no where to be found. The fox bolted as soon as he saw me. There was a pile of feathers in the yard so I figured they were lost. I looked around and went over to where the fox was spotted. There was a carcass about 15 feet out in the lake. I started taking my shoes off to wade out and get it. I called out it's name....Lola. Her head popped up and she swam to me. I didn't know chickens could swim. I picked her up and put her in the coop. She was fine. The other one was missing. I think the fox scared her off because it did not have her in it's mouth and did not have time to eat her since I had just been out with the chickens ten minutes earlier. After an exhaustive search we did not find her and she never came back.
The two survivors were extremely cautious after that. For weeks they would stay close to their coop, the house, under the deck or use the cover of hydraenga bushes. They would not go out in the middle of the yard unless I was with them. They started getting bolder and bolder as the memory of the fox faded and this morning, either an eagle or a hawk took one in the middle of the yard. The last two months I have had an eagle perch in an big oak tree in the yard right over the coop almost every day. I looked on the internet and learned that Bald Eagles usually don't bother chickens and it had been ignoring my chickens since we got them. There are Cooper hawks in the woods next to my yard and I figure it was one of those, unless the Eagle got hungry enough to take a chicken.
We got pretty attached to the chickens and may have to give up trying to keep them as pets since there are just too many predators in the area. The surviving Chicken always seemed to be the smartest, so maybe she will make it through the winter.
 
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Lemon88

Songster
Nov 25, 2018
156
184
111
Aw thats terrible! A friend of mine spent $300 on surgery/treatment for her favorite chicken after it was attacked by her dog, only for it to be taken by a hawk. She turned an old swingset/playhouse into a coop and large run to keep the rest of her chickies safe, rather than free range.
 

50-45-1

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Feb 25, 2008
2,692
8,537
626
Northern Michigan (tip of the little finger area)
My Coop
My Coop
Sorry for your losses!
Once you get chickens the preditors start showing up. You soon find out that EVERYTHING eats chicken. Other things just enjoy killing them for the fun of it.
I started out with an old garage for a coop, which lost me many good birds. Built a very preditor proof coop about 10 years ago.
I also free range and loose some but not many during the day i believe due to our 4 guardian dogs and the small flock of (alarm clock) guineas.
Chickens are about the most defenseless critters on the planet.
They are alot of work, but i enjoy them enough that its worth the trouble for me.
You have to decide that for yourself.
 

JLR

Chirping
Oct 1, 2018
31
60
54
Sorry for your losses!
Once you get chickens the preditors start showing up. You soon find out that EVERYTHING eats chicken. Other things just enjoy killing them for the fun of it.
I started out with an old garage for a coop, which lost me many good birds. Built a very preditor proof coop about 10 years ago.
I also free range and loose some but not many during the day i believe due to our 4 guardian dogs and the small flock of (alarm clock) guineas.
Chickens are about the most defenseless critters on the planet.
They are alot of work, but i enjoy them enough that its worth the trouble for me.
You have to decide that for yourself.
Yes, they are pretty helpless and they put their trust in us to protect them. I feel like I let them down, but I really can't watch them all the time and they love their freedom to roam. If Lola survives the winter we might get two more in the spring. We will see how it goes. They are so lovable.
 

ChickNanny13

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Jun 23, 2013
9,078
12,878
967
The Big Island/Hawaii
:hugs Get a couple more & secure them .... See if you can get one of those chain link kennels to fit your coop in, then put a roofing or at least bird netting to the top. You could also get one of those canopy top things, wrap it in hardware cloth or welded wire & put your coop in there. You you may want to update your profile with your location, no clue as to your weather conditions nor time zone.

Free ranging sounds great, I live in a residential area, backyard is fenced (wire), no predators like you all have, an occasional hawk family but I stopped letting my girls grub the backyard when the neighbor added more dogs that would sit at the fence line drooling. Since then they stay confined in their Chicken House (8x12x7) rather they be safe than sorry.
 

Perris

Still learning
Jan 28, 2018
4,185
18,650
777
Gower, Wales
Sorry to hear this; I had a similar experience, as I think most free-rangers do. But if you are going to replace them, it would be better for the survivor to do it sooner than later. They are flock animals, and she will be lonely.
 

L1sa

Songster
Jan 25, 2017
432
1,001
211
South Australia
it would be better for the survivor to do it sooner than later. They are flock animals, and she will be lonely.
X2

They just don't do well as solitary animals, they need to be in a flock. You may not have been considering getting anymore, but even if you get just one more it would be much kinder to the lonely one.

Chickens can also get by quite happily in a run, they don't have to free range. Make an area for them that is predator proof and they will be much more relaxed and so will you. And before you know it, chicken maths will have kicked in and you'll have 20!! :lau
 

JLR

Chirping
Oct 1, 2018
31
60
54
:hugs Get a couple more & secure them .... See if you can get one of those chain link kennels to fit your coop in, then put a roofing or at least bird netting to the top. You could also get one of those canopy top things, wrap it in hardware cloth or welded wire & put your coop in there. You you may want to update your profile with your location, no clue as to your weather conditions nor time zone.

Free ranging sounds great, I live in a residential area, backyard is fenced (wire), no predators like you all have, an occasional hawk family but I stopped letting my girls grub the backyard when the neighbor added more dogs that would sit at the fence line drooling. Since then they stay confined in their Chicken House (8x12x7) rather they be safe than sorry.

No, if they can't run free during the day, I'm not going to have them. Kids play with them and they follow me around when I'm doing yard work. Keeping me company. They were really friendly. I had two roosters for a year a while back and gave them to a friend that owned a farm, because they were too noisy for the neighbors. I thought the hens would work out, but maybe not. The neighbors have dogs and invisible fences so that should help keep fox and coyotes away. Not much can be done about hawks and eagles. They got to eat, too.
 

JLR

Chirping
Oct 1, 2018
31
60
54
X2

They just don't do well as solitary animals, they need to be in a flock. You may not have been considering getting anymore, but even if you get just one more it would be much kinder to the lonely one.

Chickens can also get by quite happily in a run, they don't have to free range. Make an area for them that is predator proof and they will be much more relaxed and so will you. And before you know it, chicken maths will have kicked in and you'll have 20!! :lau
Three is the most we can have. If one becomes available we will get another. Otherwise I will spend more time with it and not let it out for such a long period of time.
 

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