Please help! Orphaned pullets.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by 5ChicksinDixie, Sep 24, 2016.

  1. 5ChicksinDixie

    5ChicksinDixie Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 18, 2015
    Alabama
    Hey folks. I had a Golden Sebright hen, with 4 Golden Sebright/Brown Leghorn crossed pullets who are just over a month old. Today, a hawk killed the mother and possibly one of the pullets and another Sebright hen. Our neighbor called when they found her body, but I can't find the body of the missing pullet or hen. I'm still looking. The three pullets I have left are in a coop now. I want to move them to the fenced yard where my other chickens are so my two dogs and the rooster will protect them from the hawks, but I'm not sure how to, or even if it's a good idea. We had the mother chicken and the pullets in a separate yard because one of my dogs is young and killed a baby chick in the spring. He has never bothered my other chickens (I had 4 Sebrights, a RIR, and a wonderful Brown Leghorn rooster.) These chicks are about the size of Seremas. I'm not sure if my other chickens will end up protecting the pullets or killing them. I've never had a hawk kill a chicken in the back yard, but I don't want the other chickens or my dog to kill the pullets. I don't want to leave them in the front yard because I'm afraid the hawk will kill them. And I'm afraid to leave them in the coop because they're getting so big... I'm really upset. If there is any advice you can give me, PLEASE comment. I'm at a complete loss right now.
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I'm so sorry you lost your chickens to a hawk. I know how it feels. I had it happen to me, too.

    As for the orphaned chicks, I recommend you treat them as new introductions to the flock and set up a secure pen for them where the flock can get acquainted with them but not hurt them. Likewise, the chicks will be able to observe and learn about the personalities of the rest of the flock.

    After a week of this, open several 5 x 7 inch holes in the chick pen so the chicks can mingle with the rest, but still have their secure pen to run back to if the going gets rough. Keep their food and water in this "panic room", and they won't need to compete with the rest of the flock and they'll be assured of plenty to eat.

    You don't mention having a run for your chickens. If hawks are a big problem, a covered run is a real benefit. You will still be able to free-range your flock, but they will have a shelter in which to retreat if they spot a hawk. This is what my flock does. They have keen eyes, and if one spots a hawk, all of them race like the devil back to the covered run where the hawk is powerless to hurt them.

    If it's not feasible to build a covered run, then several small "hawk shelters" will suffice. These can be simple small ramadas that the chickens can run underneath where a hawk won't be able to drop down on them from above. This is a good idea for people who free-range their flocks in large, open fields where trees and shrubs are lacking. Free-range chickens need cover of some kind for safety.
     
  3. 5ChicksinDixie

    5ChicksinDixie Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 18, 2015
    Alabama
    @azygous Thank you so much for your help. I'll put the pullets in the little coop I have in the back. About 1/4 acre of our back yard is pretty wooded, and we have a shed that my adult chicken like to get in when the hawks come, but a few of them got out and were in the front yard which is where the hawk got them. I'll start feeding them extra to keep them in the back yard, but I hope now that there aren't any chickens over there to socialize with they'll stay put. I guess I shouldn't have panicked like that but I've never lost a hen that way before... It was pretty gruesome. Thank you so much again. I think now I'll be able to sleep tonight. God Bless!
     
  4. 5ChicksinDixie

    5ChicksinDixie Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 18, 2015
    Alabama
    Thank you again for your [email protected]! The pullets are doing great in their coop today. We found the fourth pullet hiding in the bushes this morning completely unharmed so we put her in with the other ones. The adult chickens are curious. They're still not hanging out around the coop as much as I would like, but I'm sure that will come in time. I did feed them close to the coop. The hawk has been stalking but he hasn't tried to swoop down yet. Last year a hawk flew into the yard after my chickens and my dog attacked him, literally grabbed his tail and pulled feathers out! They haven't tried since. ;)
     

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