Advice needed on introducing neighborhood stray to flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by LRG, Jan 19, 2010.

  1. LRG

    LRG Out Of The Brooder

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    Several questions on this. Background: a week 1/2 ago a stray from somewhere began appearing in our yard. My hens have been mostly cooped during the snow, which has now melted. Stray hen (named Miracle by my daughters) seems to be missing her flock since she hangs out right outside our coop/run all of the time. If I let my hens out to free range though she keeps her distance. The stray (barred rock) is slightly bigger than my hens (speckled sussex, black australorp, EE). I've read the sections on introducing a new bird into a flock, but

    1. Should I consider keeping the stray? Pros and cons. (The likelihood of finding the owner seems slim. I live in a village surrounded by farms. She does not seem to be people friendly -- doesn't let anyone near, won't even come for scratch, but yet hangs out clucking to my hens). She can probably survive on her own in the neighborhood, but I am likely to be blamed for this stray when it wanders into other neighbors' yards and wrecks their gardens. Next door neighbors have free range banties, but I'm the only one with standards (mine free range only when I am out in the yard due to rock wielding neighbor kids).

    2. If I do, how best to place in with my flock when I don't have separate facilities for her. Will her hanging around for a set period of time be enough to get her familiarized with my birds? Or is this a lost cause?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Yard full o' rocks

    Yard full o' rocks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cartersville, Georgia
    Do you have a place where you can keep her separated from the rest of your flock? I have always been advised to "quarantine" a new bird for 30 days prior to introducing it to your flock.

    That way you can be somewhat certain that you are not introducing any diseases, etc to your other birds
     
  3. 19Dawn76

    19Dawn76 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 26, 2009
    Toadsuck, AR
    Yard full o' rocks :

    Do you have a place where you can keep her separated from the rest of your flock? I have always been advised to "quarantine" a new bird for 30 days prior to introducing it to your flock.

    That way you can be somewhat certain that you are not introducing any diseases, etc to your other birds

    Very good advice! The fact that she is a stray and hanging out so close to my flock would make me very nervous. I would either adopt her and make sure she is healthy or make sure she does not have access to your birds.​
     
  4. LRG

    LRG Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 17, 2009
    Lancaster county, PA
    That's the problem. I don't really have anywhere to put her. Right now she is completely free-range and appears to be nesting down under the pine trees for the night. Since I don't know where she came from I have no idea what diseases she might have or have been exposed to. Or, for that matter, what antibiotics, hormones, etc. she's been given. That said, she's in my yard (3/4 acre) and so are my hens. If she continues hanging out at the run, won't she be passing germs anyway? That is a concern. Of course my neighbors banty flock often comes into my yard and while our flocks don't ever intermix (is that common?), they are sharing the range. I've thought of posting a FOUND sign at the post office, too, but my one neighbor thinks that is a waste of time as most of the farmers won't bother with just retrieving one bird.

    Edited to add: aside from ragged tail feathers she seems to be healthy. What should I look for specifically?
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2010
  5. nature nut

    nature nut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Someone may have "given" her to you since you seem to have barred rocks already.
     
  6. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Those don't look like Barred Rocks to me... they look like Speckled Sussex. [​IMG]
     
  7. LRG

    LRG Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 17, 2009
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    Yep, those are my two speckled sussex. Now for my update on my adventures this morning with this stray...

    So I go out as usual this frosty 20 degree morning with fresh water and a handful of treats (stale crackers and some apple cores). I open the pop door and open the run door to throw in the treats and let my girls out to free range while I take care of chores. My girls go running out of the run and hit the grass completely ignoring the treats -- they'll be there later. I change the water, check for eggs, etc. and then realize, oh no!, Miracle the stray has gone into the run and is devouring the crackers. Where are my girls? Outside the run! Maggie, my hyperactive chicken-herding border collie is perturbed by this and is now running back and forth between chicken in the run and chickens in the grass trying to no avail to get all together. Now how do I get her out? I have a tractor so the run is only 3 foot high and fully enclosed and she has now scooted to the rear under the coop where it is only about 2 foot high. My hens now go into the coop (because while I've been contemplating Miracle, Maggie has been herding them there) and all but the bottom-of-the-pecking-order sussex ignore the intruder. However, Sweetheart (who is apparently misnamed) starts in on Miracle. Just a couple of pecks and squawks, but enough for me to decide I definitely need to get them all out. So I grab my overly excited dog and haul her up to the house. Back down to the tractor. Rats! All are still inside. So I lure mine out with scratch. Have to wait until all crackers in the run have been eaten by Miracle )(she completely ignored the apples) and then lure her out with another handful all the while keeping mine out by throwing scratch. (Several unproductive lunge and grabs during this period which only prolonged the whole thing!)

    Current status. My chickens are in the run and the stray is outside looking in. The whole issue of quarantine for health issues seems moot at this point since I can't keep her away from coop/run and any time I check she is out there looking in. Wondering if she is probably getting pretty hungry by now (shouldn't be thirsty since there is still some snow she can eat) and if I should be putting some pellets out for her. I thought maybe she was foraging enough to keep well-fed, but maybe not this time of year? Should I just leave her wandering my yard for about a month and then try letting her in with mine? Of course, after this morning it seems she may not care how pecked she gets if she just wants in.
     
  8. cobrien

    cobrien Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quarantine is definitely not a moot point! Think of it this way - just by being near someone with a cold, AIDS, pick any transmissable disease, does not mean you were exposed, and by limiting further exposure you greatly reduce risk.

    My chickens were somehow exposed to the lymphoid leukosis virus, I speak from experience, you do not want to go through the agony of exposing your chickens to a transmissable disease.

    Do you have a dog crate? Can you borrow one? the hen was smart enough to go into the tractor to get food, you could probably get her to go in to a dog crate if there is food in there. Perhaps even a large cardboard box?
     
  9. nature nut

    nature nut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ooops! [​IMG] (we need a blushing smiley don't we [​IMG] ) Shows how close I was looking. Sounds like your having quite the adventure with Miracle. I'd quarantine her because she has evidently decided she is yours now.
     
  10. danschicks

    danschicks Out Of The Brooder

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    I captured a ferral rooster with the help of a friend. he was about 18 months old. My friend bought him as a chick and he escaped at a young age. Always hung around the property and roosted in the trees at night. When i got him to my land he escaped from me as well. That is a whole other story. He hung around my gals for a good 3 months or more roosting in trees at night and flying into the very large run by day. Then one day he went in their coop. Now he is their rooster and has produced some excellent hatches. He is in the coop every night. No ill effects to any of my birds that I am aware of. We call him Reckless.

    I would make every attempt to catch the wandering hen and transition her into the flock. or offer her up on Craig's list. A dog crate can work as a quarantine coop for a month or so. She will soften with time as she gets used to you.
     

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