Ahhhhhh no! My chicks have escaped :(

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Achelois, Nov 18, 2013.

  1. Achelois

    Achelois Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 22, 2013
    Some days ago we released our four week old chicks with their mother back into the main coop as we have a new brood of chicks in the woodshed and the older ones were flapping around and going nuts, wanting to stretch their wings. Well, it's all gone well up until now! They'd been scratching around, sitting under mum who was aggressively protecting them from the other hens. Until tonight. I heard peeping and went out to find no chicks under mum, who was sitting in the garden as she has been and not on the roost. When I woke her up and she realised there were no chicks under her she started calling and clucking an alarm call, but when I went looking and then came back I found her on the roost - although every time she hears a peep she starts calling and clucking to them.

    I found one roosting in a tree out the front and when I went to grab it it took off and flew up over the trees into the neighbours. Yes, FLEW. Not the turkey-style flight I'm used to with chickens, but with the grace of a dove. I never knew araucanas could fly like this [​IMG] I guess I should have wing clipped them, but I didn't want to leave them defenceless from predators. So now they are in my neighbours' place (or at least, one is, who knows if the other three are alive?) and it's 2am and I don't really feel like I can go fossicking in her yard with a torch. I can see cats around too. I don't know what I'm going to tell my daughter; this is such a tragedy after our poor hatch rate/deaths at hatch. Why the heck would this happen? Shouldn't the hen keep her mothering instinct for 6 weeks or so? And she WAS down on the ground, as she had been, so why did my chicks run away?!
  2. Achelois

    Achelois Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 22, 2013
    I guess this means they're not integrated and if they survive, are anyone's chickens? Are they ever likely to try to make it back home?
  3. spikennipper

    spikennipper Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 25, 2009
    Kent, UK.
    I'm sorry this has happened it is likely a predator went for the mother and chicks whilst she was brooding them causing them to scatter, I don't know if you'll get them back if they are not predated on beforehand, were they roosting out of the coop then not locked up? perhaps have a word with the neighbour and see if you can look over there for them, they may return to the mother if they see or hear her, she will still be broody and call them.
  4. Achelois

    Achelois Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 22, 2013
    It seems so strange that she would just be sitting there though and not trying to get them back :( She's the lead hen and has been protecting them very aggressively. I think she would peck a cat. She was brooding them in the run which is open-topped, not the coop (she's bolshy and stubborn and will brood where she wants). I'm going to go over there in the morning (neighbour will be at work anyway) and have a look. Not sure how I will catch them though. So upsetting!
  5. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

    Jan 17, 2013
    I'm sooo sorry this happened!
  6. Achelois

    Achelois Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 22, 2013
    They're back! I can't believe it, I got them all back! They survived a night out with cats on the prowl. I found mother hen this morning still flustered and without any chicks, but I heard peeping, went into the neighbour's and found two there that I put over the wire fence to her - and as I was doing it, the other two had somehow found her too! SO lucky!
  7. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    Apparently something disturbed them because once a hen beds down for the night chicks stay under her and don't normally leave to go roaming.
    You were lucky this time, better coop them up in the future!
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

    it is all perfectly normal and usual chicken behavior. Hens don't have fingers and thumbs on their hands and therefor are unable to count the number of chicks she has or to ever flip the pages of a calendar. Finding one chick on the roost makes me think that the others may be sleeping in trees, the preferred place for chickens to roost as long as we humans have not bred out the ability of our chickens to fly.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2013
  9. Katt66

    Katt66 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2013
    Barnesville, PA
    Wow! Glad you got all of your babies back safe and sound. I think you did well to NOT clip their wings actually. If you'd have clipped their wings they wouldn't have been able to fly to get away from whatever was after them let alone get into trees. But, yeah, I'd maybe look into a covered run for the little ones if they're going to be that energetic.

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