Accidental Pet Chicken: What now??


In the Brooder
10 Years
May 14, 2009
Westerm Mass.
I have a mixed-breed flock of 9 hens and a (Ameracauna) rooster, made of up 4 hens and the rooster from 2009, and 5 hens from 2010. The formerly Alpha hen, a Golden Comet from 2009, has been ousted from her position by one of our big Black Stars from 2010. The Comet has always been the friendliest and most outgoing of the flock, but now that she's aging, and the Black Star is really SO much bigger, the Comet has been completely ostracised from the flock. When all the others are out in the run, she is pecked if she comes out. When all the others are in the coop, she is forced into a nest box. She has some plucking on her behind, and some more on her face, but no actual damage, and she seems healthy enough (though I don't think she's still laying).

This morning when I went out to get eggs and replenish their feed and water, the Coment came out of the coop (I made sure the rest stayed out in their run cos the rooster is mean and nasty!) and has been enjoying wandering around the yard with my kids, being hand-fed and petted. I put water out for her, and she's just the sweetest, nicest chicken in the whole flock.

So my question is, what do I do now??? I don't have another space for her to live, and can't afford to get one. I don't want chicken poo in the house (though she'd probably love to eat what the kids drop on the floor in the kitchen LOL) but I'm afraid that if I put her in the coop, she's going to continue to be picked on and shunned, possibly more now that the rooster has seen her interacting with the kids (he's going balistic out there right now, watching her with them). Does anyone keep a chicken in their house??? Do I dare put her back out there with her flock-mates? Do I risk leaving her out alone in the yard? I'm afraid to let the others out (which we usually do regularly) because I assume they'll just chase and pick on and generally stress her out.

What do you think?

Awww. I don't have enough chicken experience to really give any solid advice.

My gut would say to reconsider whether the rooster should stay or be re-homed. If he's nasty, he may hurt one of the children some day. Especially if he is jealous that they play with the left-out hen. Since I am absolutely tickled by the idea of a house chicken, I'd say bring her inside! Get her some diapers... She could spend time outside, when you are around to watch. But she could sleep safely inside. Maybe in a second-hand dog crate or something?
I have young to old hens and some stay with the rooster and some do not but mine are in a farm type living space so they can spread out if they want and free range all day. Sounds like your arrangement is more urban style with hen house and coop attached. I have what I call my junior / nursery pens for my broody hens. They live quietly away but within seeing range of the flock until they chicks are larger and momma hens wants to be part of the group again. My rooster is always very respectful of the hens and chicks. I don't tolerate aggressive behavior.

Do you have an area that you can setup maybe a dog x-pen? I have an X-pen and a dog kennel that has a plywood lid to keep out predetors or chicks from escaping and making momma crazy, inside is a dog crate for housing. It works very well, then during the day I can open the side/ door and they come and go. One hen does not need a lot of space. If on the other hand her isolation is due to the rooster not letting her be part of the group and he is the real reason for her exiting I would think long and hard about letting him stay or rehome him.
House chickens are more common than you think (I belong to a Yahoo group for them). They even make diapers for them to wear. Of course life is easier if you have hardwood floors.
We started with a house hen and eventually got more chickens and she lives with them now. But she would sleep on the couch (roost on the back) while we watched tv. I really miss having a chicken in the house. BUT, we made a small coop and run for her to be in during the day, no one wants to be cooped up in the house all the time (although some house chickens rarely go outside -- I don't think that's optimum), plus she'll still need to dust bathe once in a while. So yes, it's done all the time.

Hope you can find a way.
I added a rescued chicken to my flock of 10 RIR hens & 1 RIR roo. The rescued chicken is a Dominique. Talk about a hard integration it was rough. But the saving grace was my roo fell in love with her & protected her. It was amazing to watch him defending her.I have to agree with getting rid of your roo especially if you have children.
Chickens can give us more than eggs. They can teach us life lessons in kindness and empathy, too. If I were you, I'd do what I can to make the rest of this hen's life as pleasant as possible. Owners can affect the pecking order, in the same way a rooster can, by showing preference for a particular hen.

When ever I see one of our flock bullying one of our favorites (well, yeah, we have nine and they're all favorites...but, anyway), I point a finger at the offender and say "nyet!" The finger pointed at them seems to mesmerize them, like it was a beak or something.
Hmm.. thanks everyone for your input. That's a lot of food for thought. My rooster has harmed all of us at one point; in fact I have cuts on both hands right now just from his ambushing me when I collected eggs today and yesterday! We had considered rehoming him ( the crockpot; he was 1 of 4 roosters in our first straight-run batch...) but he does do a really good job of keeping the flock together when they are allowed out of their coop, and of getting all the ladies back into the coop at night after a day of free ranging. My children are not allowed outside to play when the chickens are out; the rooster will sneak up to attack my husband and me, but he chases and attacks the kids without any stealth at all. I am now thinking seriously of allowing that big Black Star to take over the roo's role, and introducing mr. rooster to the freezer.... our pet Comet will probably be better off in the long run, because I'm sure it's the rooster's behavior toward her that is driving the hens' reactions.

I guess I need to learn how to "process" a chicken.
With kids, roos get to be pissy once. I walk them backwards, they don't shape up, they go to Freezer Camp. Sent very typey roos to camp and kept ugly roos. Temperment wins, that's it for me.
I just read your last post. That's terrible get an Ax's. Your children should have access to their yard & you should not be attacked ever by your roo. My roo gets mad at me when I grab his girls but the day he attacks me will be his last & yes he protects the flock very well.
If you don't want to do the processing all you really need is an ad on Craig's List and he will be gone in a blink. I posted my young roosters ready for processing at 5.00 each and a family came and bought all 6. My phone was ringing off the hook so to speak.

Now if you really want to learn how to process I would recommend the book Storey's guide to raising chickens. There is a really good section on the process. Not just a paragraph or two...

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