We are complete newbies at this. We live in Los Angeles, but dream about living in a more rural area.
About 5 days ago, my girlfriend received 4 hens from her friend who owns a farm. I believe these chickens are used to being free range.
In anticipation of their arrival, we built a coop with info from these forums. However, on the day we got the hens, they hopped onto fence and flew into our neighbors' trees! 2 hens went into one tree on the street behind us. The other 2 went into our next door neighbor's tree. The day after they escaped, we saw 2 of them return to our yard, but they haven't come back since.
We've been checking on them every day. But since the hens don't recognize us and are completely new to the area, they just flee whenever anybody approaches. I watched helplessly, as 2 of them flew at least 20 feet up into a tree after I tried to corner them yesterday!
We can't get within 10 feet from these chickens. When they're in the trees, they're completely out of reach. We've left racoon/cat traps out with no luck.
We are feeling like terrible chicken owners and we're starting to worry that our neighbors see the hens as a nuisance now. Nobody is used to seeing chickens walking around our neighborhood and these chickens have been digging in our neighbors' yards.
Does anyone have any advice for us? Thanks in advance!