Traumatized chickens?

SistaChick

Songster
7 Years
Jun 17, 2012
129
7
104
Niota, TN
Hello Peeps!

It's been a while since I have been here, busy with life and still having chickens.

I built what my neighbors call a "chicken fort knox" with a small run and coop a few years back to keep them dry and safe at night. I do allow them to have a nice size fenced in backyard to run in and sometimes I allow them out of that also to go into the woods behind my home. That is a favorite place for them.

Two days ago I let them out to roam the woods and a couple stray dogs got after them, one of the chickens had all her feathers ripped off her back but thankfully all five of my hens survived. That was after I shot at one of the dogs with my Mama hen in it's mouth. I didn't hit the dog, but it dropped my hens and she is ok but traumatized. It took all evening to find them all and back to the coop where they were finally safe.

Four of my hens are coming 5 years old this spring, the other one is coming six.

Today, 2 days after this event they are still hovering inside the coop house, aren't eating like they need to and won't even pay any attention to some of their favorite things. I am concerned about them.

Will they ever feel safe again, when will they want to venture out. I know there are no "solid" answers for these questions but maybe someone has a story to tell that will help me to know if there is anything I can do. Today I left the lights on in the coop since it's rainy to make them aware of daylight to try to encourage them not to go into the dark coop to roost all day. My heart hurts for them.
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
18,618
22,730
912
Colorado Rockies
They may seem fine, but they could be suffering from lingering shock, especially the hen that had a close encounter with dog teeth.

To be on the safe side, I suggest pouring out a bottle of Gatoraid into a bowl and letting them boost their electrolytes and glucose.

My chickens have had numerous run-ins with predators. Thankfully, I've only lost three chickens in thirteen years to being eaten. Each time, the flock hides as a group of trembling victims under the coop or inside. The most recent encounter was indirect when they saw a predator outside their large glass slider to their coop. All twenty chickens were crammed into four feet of roost space in the darkest corner. They usually return to normal after I talk to them, reassure them, and distract them with some meal worms.
 

Sequel

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Feb 17, 2015
1,897
9,022
787
Kitsap County, Western Washington
:hugs I’m so sorry for you and your poor hens! Mine were traumatized when a hawk killed one of my hens several years ago. I put up netting and they eventually got back to being happy chickens. It took a while though and the lead hen looked for and called for the hen who was killed for a long time. That was heartbreaking for me.
Maybe offer them a little scrambled egg or wet some of their feed till it’s like oatmeal to perk up their appetites!
 

Jowsi002

In the Brooder
Feb 6, 2020
26
83
46
Eastern Connecticut
I’m so sorry this happened to you and your chickens! You’re a good guardian to be there and able to react before things got worse 😰. I definitely agree they’re having some lingering shock, and when birds go through shock, they try to find dark and quiet for a bit first before returning to their lives. Is it possible to get them into a dark, warm, quiet place for a day? And definitely, whatever you think they will try to eat/drink, offer.
 

SistaChick

Songster
7 Years
Jun 17, 2012
129
7
104
Niota, TN
Thank you so so much for your responses. Sequel, your idea about making their food soft like oatmeal gave me an idea, they actually love oatmeal a lot! So I made them some and mashed up banana's in it which is something else they love. When I went out to check on them they were up on some roosting branches in the coop run instead of the coop house, so baby steps. Two of them came to eat the oatmeal and the other three were busy drinking water, so I left them to enjoy their meal.
 

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