Unexpected Death and Remaining Hen

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by calebc311, Dec 9, 2014.

  1. calebc311

    calebc311 In the Brooder

    Dec 31, 2013
    East Bay California
    Hello BYC Community,

    My family and I have been raising two hens since February of this year. Unfortunately, our Comet was found dead this morning. There were no signs of predator attacks and just the day before she was active and running around. I do, however, believe this may have been a health issue as her crop sometimes inflated and she had watery waste. I buried her a couple hours ago and she is safe underneath the ground.

    I worry for my other hen (BPR) who only stayed next to her friend's body. Now, she's searching the backyard for her and she is flinching at every sound. I don't know if I should put her to someone else's care or raise her alone. I do know a few neighbors who raise chickens but I know that my hen will suffer under those new environments, especially after undergoing this. I have the resources to keep her but she will be all alone for the majority of her life. And for personal reasons, the rest of my family objects to getting any more chickens.

    Could anyone help me decide what to do?

    Thank you
  2. Free as a Bird

    Free as a Bird Chirping

    Aug 20, 2014
    New England
    Hens really do have a hard time living alone. They are very social creatures and really need a flock situation. It will be hard at first for your hen in a new flock, but I think she would be happier overall in a new home. I do recommend introducing her to a small flock if this is what you decide to do.

    I am so sorry about your comet.
    Good luck!
  3. calebc311

    calebc311 In the Brooder

    Dec 31, 2013
    East Bay California
    Yes, I have friend who is currently raising 2 chickens and another who has 4. I am thinking about asking if I could integrate my BPR into the flock of 2. She seems to be in a lot of trauma right now, and I can see that it's really hard for her :(
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    Do it quickly, it will shorten up the trauma. Chickens hate change, she already has had a big one, get her in another flock, and get all the change done at once.

    Mrs K
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Beware tho.... that integrating one chicken into an existing flock of any size can be fraught with peril.

    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.
    See if any of them, or the links provided, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens to flock.

    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

    If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

    The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
  6. calebc311

    calebc311 In the Brooder

    Dec 31, 2013
    East Bay California
    Hi everyone,

    Today, my friend took my remaining hen in. She has two Buff Orpingtons that free range under the safety of trees and shrubs. One was very aggressive towards my BPR, but my BPR's greater size didn't allow any infliction of physical harm (My BPR is very shy and traumatized ... she could have easily outwitted the BO). The other BO is nice and my hen seemed to integrate with her very well. Tonight, my hen is sleeping in their coop and she's not suffering too much. She's one of the greatest chickens ever and I will be visiting her every week as I only live 5 minutes away.

    Thanks for all the help

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