We live in the Belair Neighborhood, and a month ago two dogs scaled our 5 foot concrete walls and killed 2 of our chickens, and badly injured another, that a week later died. I was home when it happened, so was able to save the remaining 7 hens, but they were badly traumatized. They still are not laying, have reduced appetites, some still have very loose stool, and all remain nearly quiet (not at all like they were before!). They had just begun molting when this event occurred, and have continued to loose feathers. The hens are all between 20 and 16 months old, all were good, healthy, happy layers.
I have provided extra protein, fresh fruit and vegetables, warm oatmeal to their diet, and always have fed them high quality feed. My husband is ready to get rid of all of them and start over, and I continue trying to coax them back to normal.
Do you think they will recover, or is it best to call it quits and begin anew? We were on the Chicken Coop Tour the last 2 years, on Manzano-some maybe remember us. Any advice would be appreciated! Gayle
Gayle, Im so sorry for your loss. I've experienced this too frequently. They will recover. I had my first batch of 25 chickens (& 2 roos) almost completely slaughtered by a neighbor's dog. We had maybe 7 or 8 hens and 1 roo that survived.
I don't recall how long the recovery took for the remaining hens, but it wasn't that long (meaning, it wasn't months and months) before they were back to their old clucking selves.
It may have helped that there was still one rooster remaining who would have perhaps encouraged the hens to get out and forage since that's part of his job.
During a moult, I find that once they've grown their feathers back hens will typically start laying after winter solstice. I figure about a 3 month well-deserved vacation from laying when they go through a moult. Some will not take as long, but others may even take longer.
Sounds like you are taking very good care of them. Hopefully they will be back to their old selves soon.
Thank you so much for your encouraging and speedy replies. It's good to hear that recovery is likely. Do you have a local source for high quality lay feed, preferably organic? I was buying from Ranchway, but they must be out of business now.
But, I disagree that my hens are not traumatized by what happened a month ago. Their behavior is completely changed. Some even forget to go in to roost some evenings.
There is a psychiatrist in Corrales who specializes in poultry. I'm not sure about his expertise with canine induced trauma, but it might be worth checking into. My hens have been seeing him for years, and with his assistance they have finally come to grips with the trauma of having been separated from their mother at such an early age.
Tragically, they never did come to know their father, who was always a distant presence in their lives. They are working through that though.
Thanks, Doug, for the referral.
When you make your next appointment, consider accompanying your hens, Mr. Smarty Pants! ;)
Sorry to hear about the traumatic attack to your girls.
I have not had that happen as our Hens are in a coop.
We did have a problem with "not laying" so we cooked
up some soybeans and gave them a "push" to start laying
again. Which worked well. Good Luck.
I would keep them. They will start laying again. This time of year everyone is slowing down because of molting and light issues. I have 8 layers, I am getting 2 eggs a day right now. And they haven't had the shock yours had. I have 3 that are molting, and 2 that just finished. Give it a bit. Molting can last up to 8 weeks. My Leghorn took a 6 week hiatus from laying during her molt. She just laid again yesterday.
I am so sorry for what has happened. I agree with the others. Keep your lovelies. You have put so much care into them and they have gifted you in return thus far. In some ways, I guess you have to be the rooster. Encourage them to go out, stay with them as long as you can, encourage them to roost. They will get back into the swing, I am sure. Perhaps an enclosed coop would help you feel they are more secure.
We have 6 gals and only one, a leghorn, is laying, because her little body says it must, even during moult.
My hens are doing better. Not laying good yet, (about one egg every day or so) but behavior-wise are much more normal. I began feeding them scratch in addition to pellets, and adding electrolytes to their water, and feeding oyster shell. They look much happier, and have begun to make those sweet chicken sounds again. And boy how pretty they look now that the new feathers are coming in!
They have a totally enclosed coop, but we would allow them out in the yard when we were home. Now we only let them out when we are outside, remembering how quickly and easily the dogs scaled our walls and attacked.