A newbie mom of a wayward hen

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Spydrworks, Mar 18, 2007.

  1. Spydrworks

    Spydrworks In the Brooder

    Mar 18, 2007
    So. California
    Yep...I rescued a chicken. She's a very friendly chicken...wings clipped, very clean. Anyone can walk right up to her and pick her up without any resistance. I came home from campus and saw the guys that were working on the plumbing outside had a new friend. They mentioned she's been hanging around all day. It was discovered she wouldn't flinch at even a dog trying to get at her, so I decided to put her in my back yard. This is coyote country and there is a resident coyote that visits the stream between the condo complexes here. Didn't want to see such a friendly critter become dinner. I made flyers and posted them around the immediate neighborhood and not a single call yet. It's been about 5 days I've had her. I'm starting to call her "Chickie", so I guess that's what her name will end up staying as.

    I'm feeding her chicken scratch mix with hi calcium grit, a seven grain dry cereal meal I found at the grocery store and she seems to like the grains and greens for parakeets...lol, so I add that in the mix too. She has access to a large Igloo dog house, but has taken a liking to the table to sleep on. However, she did spend most of the day yesterday in the dog house acting weird, so I layed out half a bale of timothy hay. A few hours later I saw she had laid a single egg [​IMG]

    The only predators that have access to her are hawks, owls and cats. Cats don't seem to be a problem. I've seen chickens hold their own against a too curious of a cat. Those beaks can deliver a nasty peck. Crows do a good job at keeping the hawks away during the day. Out of the six years I've lived at this residence I saw an owl once. Hopefully potential predation stays at the minimum it's been. She can't come inside. There are four cats...three are my roommate's and one is mine. Mine has taken a liking to her and sits near the back screen door watching her. The others I'm not so sure how they'd react to her, so I feel it's best to keep Chickie outside.

    Now for the list of questions...

    How can I get her to take cover at night? We are setting this place up to sell so a coop is out of the question until I move.

    Is the food I'm offering good enough or should I add anything to the mix?

    What foods are good to help her produce good eggs and help prevent her from becoming egg bound?

    How many eggs should I expect from her on a weekly basis?

    What breed is she? I don't have a picture. My camera was stolen a couple months ago. She is an ordinary brown hen. No markings...just a typical brown hen. As I was looking through a google search I did see she resembles the typical brown hens used in battery cage farming (which I really wish would be banned...that is so mean).

    Any other info. anyone here thinks I can benefit from, by all means, cram this thread with resources. I've dealt with all sorts of critters for 30 years. This is my first time having a chicken. I appreciate any help, advice and suggestions.

    Last edited: Mar 18, 2007
  2. Good on you Cheryl for taking her in and looking after her.
    Im no expert but I would keep her feed simple with what you are already doing, plus fresh water and shelter.
    Can you build a temporary run around the doghouse, place some wire on top for a roof as well,
    some people even house chickens in their kitchen cupboards, Yuk, but these people were flat dwellers with no backyard. Anyhow the coyote could be a problem, maybe she could sleep in an outhouse/laundry at night or car garage, anything coyote proof.
    Then when you resettle in your new abode, hopefully you can take her with you as she has found you so she is yours !!lol
    Im sure when the other nice forum members wake up today they will help with your questions.
    Im on the other side of the world here and Im about to go" ny- nyes"
    Best of luck
  3. Spydrworks

    Spydrworks In the Brooder

    Mar 18, 2007
    So. California
    Hi Helen. No worries with coyotes so long as she remains in the back yard. There's a five foot full (no spaces) wooden fence that encloses the entire yard. Garage is a mess with all sorts of plaster and paint, rollers, sanders, saws, etc. We're in full mode renovating, so unless the weather is bad, she stays outside. I'll probably get some simple chicken wire and make a large box enclosure and roof it with hay and make her go in it at night. If only she'd be willing to stay in the dog house over night. So far the only time I've seen her go in there on her own was when she laid her egg. I also hope I can keep her to where I end up moving to. It'll be in this town or a neighboring town and both places have several areas for farm critters.

    Thanks for your reply. I'm also looking forward to reading others [​IMG] Have a good night (or day)...lol...

  4. jimnjay

    jimnjay Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Bryant Alabama
    You are very special to take Chickie and care for her. I don't know about the breed but New Hampshire comes to mind. If she is a young bird she should lay 6 out of seven days a week. If she is older she may slow down to 4 eggs per week. If you can find a feed store near you, I would buy some Layer crumbles or Pellets and feed her that with plenty of water. Its hard to know if they will get all they need from food not formulated for chickens. She will probably do fine but to much scratch can make them fat and cause laying problems. Black Oil Sun Flower seeds are great for preventing them from being egg bound.

    If she goes into the Igloo to lay, you might place something inside for her to get up on. They naturally want to roost at night. A concrete block even would work. You could then place her inside at night and close the opening with a piece of wood or you can make a frame with wire and keep it in place with another block. My Silkies don't do real well getting up very high so I made a little roost that is just a piece of a 2x6" board on its side, I made braces on the bottom to keep it from tumbling over. You don't have lots of room in the doghouse so something like that should work.

    Again, You did good taking what appears to be a very special little girl into your home.
  5. Llysse

    Llysse Songster

    Mar 11, 2007
    You may be able to get her used to taking shelter at night be feeding her treats/scratch in the "coop" you've set up right before it's time to go to bed. Jimnjay had a good suggestion about the way to close the opening, as well as to provide a good place for her to roost at night. Make sure the coop has good ventilation, though. I'm not sure what the ventilation is like in a doghouse like that, but the way I'm picturing it is that it just gets its ventilation from the open doorway... so if you make a closeable door--which is a good idea--you'll want to make sure she can still get fresh air when it's closed. Maybe drill a hole or two...?

    I'd also recommend getting layer feed and just using the scratch for treats. Think of scratch as potato chips for birds (although it's probably a little better for them than THAT! [​IMG] ). If they have the choice, just like kids and chips, hens generally would LOVE to eat scratch all day, but won't get all the vitamins they need that way. Use the scratch as a treat, maybe to encourage her to come out in the morning, and to go in at night.

    It's so wonderful you've decided to help chickie!She sounds like a sweet bird who's very lucky to have a chicken mommy like you.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2007
  6. Spydrworks

    Spydrworks In the Brooder

    Mar 18, 2007
    So. California
    Thanks for the tips...and keep them coming.

    She did take to the dog house last night on her own. The Igloo dog houses (AKA dogloos) are good houses with ventilation slots on the top of the dome. The door persay is a plastic flap that I can flop over the top to open and is plenty big enough for her and maybe even one more chicken. It's sized for a large dog...Rottweiler size. They are constructed so they are cool in the summer and warm during the winter. At least now she'll be completely invisible to potential night time predators rather than sleep in the open on the table.

    Here's a curious question...

    Should I take her egg when she's not looking? I don't want her to associate me as the egg thief...lol....but not sure if it even matters to them.

    Also...should I wait for the egg to reach air temperature before removing the egg from the nest? The one I got out this morning was still very warm and obviously just laid. I waited till she was behind a bush to grab it.

    The so called chicken scratch I got is actually called Companion Bird by Kaytee Supreme. Chicken scratch is what I ordered, but that's what came in. I would imagine chicken scratch can be fattening due to the large corn content? Corn has that affect on a lot of different animals...makes them fat, because it's a slow burning protein, so it's only nutritionally sound as a staple for highly active animals. Rice is generally recommended as a substitute for the less active critters, including some of us lazy humans. I may go ahead and look for a home made recipe.

    Thanks again for the help [​IMG]

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