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#66409 - 08/22/08 01:34 PM Sad and not sure what to do
Rosie Rose Offline
Bantam

Registered: 10/24/06
Posts: 60
Loc: Colorado
For the very first time, I lost one of my pet hens last week by a fox grabbing her head through the fence. I felt so shocked and traumatized to find her like that, that I thought the best thing is to give my other three hens to someone else down in the city since I live in the mountains. My avian vet said she would take them as her own. Now I feel so heart broken about my decision. She is supposed to take them on Sunday. My husband and I put so much of our heart and money into these hens. I panicked at the loss and decided that maybe the montains were too rough of a place for chickens, but I know there are foxes in the city as well. I am so depressed and confused as to what to do. I never lost a chicken before and I know so many of you all out there have experieced this. I have been crying over this, these are my pets, that is why it is so hard. I just want the best for them. Right now I hardly have them out for fear of the same thing happening. I have to make some changes in order to ensure their saftey. Please someone if you can relate to me, please share your thoughts before I make a mistake. confused

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#66410 - 08/22/08 02:58 PM Re: Sad and not sure what to do
Rhea Dean Carter Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/24/03
Posts: 1379
Loc: Tennessee
The only time my chickens get to free range is when I'm outside with them. Otherwise they stay in their pens in the barn. I know some think this isn't "fair," but at least they're safe; and that's what's most important to me.

Instead of giving them away, you could keep the confined in a large pen and let them out when you're home to keep an eye on them.
_________________________
Rhea Dean

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#66411 - 08/22/08 03:01 PM Re: Sad and not sure what to do
Henry the First Offline
Bantam

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 61
Loc: Ohio
I am so sorry for your loss - it can be heart breaking.
I think that if you can secure your fence, make it impossible for heads to go through your pen and nothing can get in, keep your pets. Make your poultry area like Fort Knox....It is not that hard to do.

Bury fence about 18" to 2 feet below ground - and cover your fenced in area so nothing can get in from the top. Also re-fence your whole area with wire fence that nothing can reach in and a hen cannot stick her head out. Make sure you lock them up at dusk and do not let them out until light in the morning...if you are gone lock them up! You can also use electric fence at the top and bottom to help deter critters getting your pets. Make sure your coop is secure too!

Good luck!

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#66412 - 08/22/08 09:27 PM Re: Sad and not sure what to do
LA Chick Offline
New Egg

Registered: 08/01/08
Posts: 9
Loc: California
Rosierrose, I can truly relate to what you are going through. My hens are pets too and I keep the flock under 14 total.
A coyota managed to open the latch to the coop about three weeks ago and grabbed the sweetest hen from the flock. I cried and felt depressed and she will be missed. I try to focus on the other's and know in my heart that they have a good home here. Hope this comforts you, keep you other hens, for they give us such joy.

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#66413 - 08/22/08 10:42 PM Re: Sad and not sure what to do
Uno Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 08/26/05
Posts: 1280
Loc: Canada
Rosierose:

So sorry to hear about this. In my opinion, chickens are among the most fragile pets. They have no teeth to bite, like a dog, or claws to scratch, like a cat. Chickens (and rabbits) are very vulnerable having no means of self defense. Even our other beloved pets, cats and dogs, often consider chickens and bunnies to be food. It is not a secure thing to be a chicken.

So how do you find your balance between what you consider quality of life and safety? Some people are able to build very sturdy coops that give the chickens lots of room to move even while they are confined. But not everyone has the means to do this.

If you were at my kitchen table, and I was pouring you a cup of coffe, here is what I would tell you. Keep your pets. Keep them and do what you can to make them safe. But understand that a chicken is vulnerable to everything above it on the food chain. A chicken is also a creature of fiercely persistant natural urges. The urge to peck at things, scratch in the dirt, roll in the dust, lay eggs in the quiet and dark. And locking a chicken up in a tiny cage, secure from all threats will most certainly remove what makes a chicken a chicken.

Most people have found a balance of providing the most security they are able, allowing the most freedom they are able, and accepting that losses are almost inevitable UNLESS your birds are confined constantly. My own birds are confined to their run almost 75% of the time. I let them out for one day, next day I have hawks overhead and must keep them in until the hawks move along. And sometimes when I let them out, something gets one. I find a puff of feathers, missing bird. That's the way I keep my hens, safe as possible, a controlled amount of risk and freedom with the knowledge that I may lose a few.

This is a sad loss of a pet, but I hope you find a way to keep the rest.

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#66414 - 08/23/08 06:16 AM Re: Sad and not sure what to do
Rosie Rose Offline
Bantam

Registered: 10/24/06
Posts: 60
Loc: Colorado
Thank you all for the encouraging replies. I have decided to keep them! I spoke to my avian vet and she said that if I were to ever change my mind, she would still take them. My husband and I are going to work on securing our chicken run this weekend. I can't believe how heartbroken I was over this whole mess, you all out there are so kind and a comfort to me. I had no one else to ask this type of question that I knew would understand.

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#66415 - 08/23/08 01:44 PM Re: Sad and not sure what to do
Kbaiko Offline
Chicken

Registered: 05/24/08
Posts: 98
Loc: Arizona
Rosierose,
I know how you feel. My chickens are not pets in the traditional sense of the word. They don't let me touch or hold them. Other than knowing who provides the leftovers, they could care less if I'm around. None-the-less, I'm devistated when I loose one.I lost 13 of the 14 chicks I purchased. Some to illness, some to culling due to defects and the most to my own dog. I cried for several days. I didn't go onto this site and I didn't even want to have anything to do with my original flock. It took time to greive. I also fixed the dog issue. After two and a half months I'm ready to try chicks again. We all do our best to provide a good life for our chickens whether they are true pets, egg producers or designated for the dinner table. Things happen and if we learn from them we can go on and try to do better the next time. I agree with uno. Chickens are very low on the food chain and though we do our best to protect them, things do happen. I'm glad you decided to keep your chickens. Though tragedy can happen, they also provide a lot of joy.
Kate

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#66416 - 08/25/08 05:33 PM Re: Sad and not sure what to do
Rosie Rose Offline
Bantam

Registered: 10/24/06
Posts: 60
Loc: Colorado
Well, I have since cleaned out my entire hen house, scrubbing and vacuming the inside. working on securing the run, which is the scene of the crime. I feel excited all over again about my hens. Maybe the thought of loosing them made me realize what I had. I since ordered 3 Araucana pullets to join my existing 3 Black Australorp hens. Kbaiko(Kate), thank you for the encouragement. wink

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