All of my chickens disappeared, vanished

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by beachylivin, Dec 27, 2014.

  1. beachylivin

    beachylivin In the Brooder

    Mar 26, 2013
    I live in "rural" eastern San Diego, have a little over a half acre and three chickens. All three are 4.5 months (none are laying). I got home from work today about 15 minutes before dark, usually like clockwork the chickens come running from wherever they are to say hi. Today (an hour ago), nothing. I am so broken hearted! They are not in their coop, I walked the whole yard shaking their favorite treat jar and calling for them. Still nothing. There is not a single feather anywhere.

    I figure even if a hawk got them there would be at least a trace of a scuffle somewhere. I have one buff orpington, one black sex link and one ameraucana. They free range all day, and it hasn't been an issue so far. They were free ranging at about half their current size and have survived thus far, even though that's not saying much i suppose.... I will be asking all the neighbors tomorrow... all of the surrounding neighbors have dogs that would kill a chicken in a heart beat. My chickens all grew up comfortably around our two very chicken-friendly dogs, which help keep the coyotes away. However, the dogs were inside all day while I was at work...but even then, if it was a coyote or fox there should be feathers around...

    Is there anyyyy way, they just walked off for the day? I tried soooo hard to not get attached, but they are just so darn fun it's hard not to love them.

    Any advice will be much appreciated
  2. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

    May 11, 2010
    How sad! Hopefully you will find them I'd be calling neighbors NOW. Good luck!
  3. beachylivin

    beachylivin In the Brooder

    Mar 26, 2013
    I know:( unfortunately we haven't lived here very long, we are only familiar with our neighbor across the street and everyone is gated so I can't knock on doors. Tomorrow I'll be getting to know some neighbors :(
  4. krista74

    krista74 Songster

    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    Oh, I'm so sorry! I would be beside myself too.

    I agree with @theoldchick . Wake up the neighbours now.

    It's entirely possible that the girls got a fright from something (a hawk, for example) and blindly ran somewhere they wouldn't normally go to hide. You know the phrase "Paralysed with fear?" Your girls could have had such a fright they are scared to come out to anyone except Momma.

    Get the neighbours to check their backyard sheds and garages, and under any dense shrubbery.

    I agree with you that had there been a predator attack there would be something left behind, even if it was just a few feathers.

    Please keep looking, and don't give up hope yet.

    I am sending all the positive thoughts I can to you.

    - Krista
  5. LittleRedCoop53

    LittleRedCoop53 Songster

    Oct 20, 2012
    Southern Oregon
    Did you look in the trees? they will roost up high if they got caught out in the dark. However..i have had my chickens for over three years(free ranging in my yard) and it wasn't until this fall that i started losing my birds to hawks....2 so far. Hawks leave feather unless they just take off with them...but not all three of your chickens at once. I bet they are up in a tree... :) good luck and i hope you find them...go get your flash light.... :)
  6. chicksurreal

    chicksurreal Songster

    Dec 3, 2013
    The trees are the first place I look if I can't find a chicken. That's where they are most often. :)
  7. beachylivin

    beachylivin In the Brooder

    Mar 26, 2013
    You all are giving me a little hope! My chickens LOVE my avocado tree but I didn't see them up in there or in my fruit trees. One of my neighbors does have a really old wooden shed/barn thing in their yard that would be a great place for chickens to hide, but geez:( seems awfully weird since their coop is only 50 feet from it. I will be up at the crack of dawn looking for them. I feel like they all three walked off together, just because of the fact that there is no trace. I'm dreading finding a pile of feathers in the neighbors yards . My Buff is super brave and will leave the other two girls and hang out with my dogs, but the other two for sure are always right by each other's side.
    Thanks for the words
  8. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    There's every reason for hope. Do not give up on them yet!

    I had a bobcat break into my run a few years back, and the entire flock escaped and vanished for a good while, with the exception of course, of the one who was unlucky enough to be the victim of the attack. All the rest were okay, and eventually returned.

    More recently, a hawk swooped down on the flock while they were free-ranging two years ago on New Year's Day. Again, the flock vanished in all directions. When I returned from shoveling snow, I couldn't find any of them. Wouldn't you know it? Most of them had fled back into the run and were all but invisible jammed in a tight bunch in a far corner under the coop!

    But four were still missing! I searched everywhere! Finally, I got the phone, went out onto the front porch, and dialed my neighbors up the mountain above my house. Just as I was asking her to go out and look around her house to see if she could see any of my chickens, I heard a noise behind one of the barrels of firewood I had sitting on the porch.

    I looked down, not twelve inches from where I was standing, there were the four missing pullets huddled together, not uttering a peep, jammed behind the wood barrel!

    I'm not promising you'll find all three, but something awful must have frightened them. They ran off and are hiding somewhere. They will turn up when they get over their trauma, or you'll stumble onto them hiding someplace you would least expect!
    1 person likes this.
  9. ivan3

    ivan3 spurredon

    Jan 27, 2007

    Read all your previous posts in other threads to see if you described limits of "range", but didn't find it (fenced/walled/no barriers/etc). Assuming they were ranging "fenceless", I'd guess Red Fox or human (if your searches of local yards/checks with neighbors turn up nothing at all).

    Though, as azygous observed, when they "hide" they're nearly invisible. Hoping for the best :fl
  10. LittleRedCoop53

    LittleRedCoop53 Songster

    Oct 20, 2012
    Southern Oregon
    So true...they are so good at hiding... :)

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