Worried about my girls...

Obsidian

Hatching
5 Years
Sep 11, 2014
1
0
7
Good morning everyone. Sadly, our babies (11 month old urban chickens) were attcked by an opposum 5 nights ago. The alpha femal was killed protecting her sisters and the, for lack of a better word, weakest chicken was maimed so badly that we had no choice but to put her down. We only had 4 chickens and two of the sisters were lost to the attack.
Now our other two girls are on high alert. They sit, ilke they are on patrol, and stare out of the hen house door. Also, they have stopped going into the actual house part (where the nest box is) at all.
I am worried about them because I don't want them to feel scared and I am not sure how to help them. I know that chickens may stop laying due to trauma so the fact that they are not laying makes me worry about how they are feeling. I want all of my animals to feel happy and safe.
Does anyone have some advice on how to comfort my girls? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 

BayBay Peepers

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 5, 2013
5,156
1,127
338
Wisconsin
Welcome to BYC!

Sorry to hear about your losses. What kind of set up do you have? Did the attack happen in the coop or outside? If it was inside the coop I would fort knox that place. If it happened outside you'll just have to give them some time. Maybe put some favorite treats in there or try to feed them yourself in there. You're right that this can cause them to stop laying as well as many other things. If it's only been five days I can understand why they feel wary of going in there. Things will settle eventually. Just make sure they have food, fresh water, and some quite company and they'll be alright.

Good luck.
 

Mountain Peeps

Jesus is my life
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Apr 23, 2014
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Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.

Aww I'm so sorry about your loss and your girls!
hugs.gif


Yes, chickens can take a long time to recover from a trauma attack especially if they lost one of their own in it. I had a hen get attacked by a hawk once and she refused to come outside for two days.

You may want to confine them to their house where they are safe. Give them some treats or boredom busters to help occupy them. Also, as weird as it may sound, playing calming music for them can help too. Make sure to spend time cuddling each one of them too. It is thought that using a red heat lamp in the coop helps reduce stress so this might be worth a try also.

The best way to calm your hens, though, is to use herbs. Herbs such as lavender, thyme, mint, marigolds, bee balm, chamomile, dill and ginger are all stress reliving and soothing herbs which will calm your birds. It literally can put them to sleep. So defiantly try some herbs.

Best of luck and glad you joined!
 
Last edited:

TwoCrows

🌻🐣🌻
Project Manager
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Mar 21, 2011
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New Mexico, USA
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Hello there and welcome to BYC!
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Oh, I am so sorry about the attack and your losses. I agree with Mountain Peeps here. Chickens can take months to get over attacks like this. So if this had happened to my flock, I would lock everybody in the coop for a while to let them settle down. They are going to be very nervous for a while, so give them some comfort in locking them inside.

There are a few things you can do however to help them heal. First, go sit with them often. Sit on the floor on their level and talk softly to them. Let them know it is ok. Bring some treats too.

Next you can play some quiet music on a radio during the day. This will help keep their nerves down. Make sure it is something like orchestra or some very quiet music.

And finally, use a ticking clock in the coop all the time, day and night. You will be surprised how this calms their nerves. I have used music and a ticking clock to calm down the house parrots for years. And it worked wonders to keep them from stressing and anxious. I leave a ticking clock in my chicken coop 24/7 365 days a year. And it helps them sleep so much better.

And when they finally feel a bit more brave, then let them out. But some quiet coop time might be in order for some time now.

Good luck and I hope they eventually relax and can go back to living a fun life.
hugs.gif
 

drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Aug 26, 2009
140,770
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Out to pasture
Do you know how the opossum got into your coop? When predators score an easy meal they will come back unless it is impossible for them to get inside. When things are just too rough for them, they will go to the next farm.
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
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Hello there and welcome to BYC!
frow.gif


Oh, I am so sorry about the attack and your losses. I agree with Mountain Peeps here. Chickens can take months to get over attacks like this. So if this had happened to my flock, I would lock everybody in the coop for a while to let them settle down. They are going to be very nervous for a while, so give them some comfort in locking them inside.

There are a few things you can do however to help them heal. First, go sit with them often. Sit on the floor on their level and talk softly to them. Let them know it is ok. Bring some treats too.

Next you can play some quiet music on a radio during the day. This will help keep their nerves down. Make sure it is something like orchestra or some very quiet music.

And finally, use a ticking clock in the coop all the time, day and night. You will be surprised how this calms their nerves. I have used music and a ticking clock to calm down the house parrots for years. And it worked wonders to keep them from stressing and anxious. I leave a ticking clock in my chicken coop 24/7 365 days a year. And it helps them sleep so much better.

And when they finally feel a bit more brave, then let them out. But some quiet coop time might be in order for some time now.

Good luck and I hope they eventually relax and can go back to living a fun life.
hugs.gif

Agreed - also, identifying how the predator accessed your birds and re-securing things so that your birds are more protected will help. If you would like you could post some photos of the setup you have the birds in and we can help identify ways that you can strengthen security so that you can (hopefully) avoid future heartache.
 

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