Caught a stray hen with 7 chicks, questions about behavior

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chido, Mar 24, 2012.

  1. Chido

    Chido Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2011
    El Monte
    There were 2 stray hens that would come to eat and hang out in our fenced backyard, and our rooster mated with them. Today we finally caught one of the hens , but she had 7 chicks with her. we can't keep that many chicks so we separated them from their mom and some friends of my sister had mentioned they wanted to get into chicken keeping, so we gave them the chicks. I'm not worried about the chicks since these people take great care of their pets, my concern is the momma hen.

    This is a stray hen that has not had any human contact in probably a year, so she's pretty wild. right now we have her in a large rabbit cage since she's really aggressive (specially since we took away her chicks), but we're going to eventually get her to join our flock once we trim her wing feathers and I set up a crate inside the coop to lock her inside when it's time to go to sleep, until she learn the coop is home. I did this with another stray hen we caught last year, and it worked. Now, what can I expect from this hen? she just hatched the chicks, they were pretty young, probably 1-2 days old. She is ******, but will she get depressed for having lost her chicks? How do hens behave when their chicks are removed, and what else can I do to make her transition from stray into a pet less stressful?

    Eit: corrected the age of the chicks, meant 1-2 days, not 1-2 years...
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012
  2. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    First, to answer your question about whether the hen will be depressed over losing her chicks. No. She will quickly adjust to no longer needing to care for them.

    But the rest of your post is confusing. Not that it really matters, but you state the age of the chicks as 1-2 years old. Is that one to two years or half a year? Either way, that makes them adult and no longer "just hatched" or "pretty young. Chickens are mature at six months.
  3. kizanne

    kizanne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2011
    Tallahassee, FL
    Are you sure she is a stray or perhaps someone else's free range that went to far?
  4. Chido

    Chido Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2011
    El Monte
    omg sorry, I was so tired hat I typed years instead of days :(. I meant to say they were probably 1-2 days old. The chicks still had that tiny thing on top of their beak they use to break the eggshell when they hatch. And we are sure the hen is a stray because she and another a couple other hens were left behind when a neighbor moved away. This guy would let his chickens just "freerange" out in the street, and he was reported more than once to animal control for letting his chickens in the street in a residential area. When he moved away he took most of his flock with him, but he left behind a few he couldn't catch. We caught one last year, then this one, and there's still one more hen still roaming around.

    Anyways, these are the chicks.

    This is the mom. she was really angry so I couldn't take a better picture of her.

  5. Mum

    Mum Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 23, 2011
    Gorgeous looking Mamma!

    Pity you couldn't have kept at least one or two of the chicks with her though. I'm not a hen psychologist, but, she must be pretty disconcerted to a) lose all her chicks she took great pains to hatch and b) now be in a cage instead of free-ranging.

    Good luck with integrating her into your flock.
  6. Tripp16

    Tripp16 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 26, 2011
    North Carolina
    x2 poor girl sat on those eggs for 21 days and you said they still had their egg tooth. She didnt even get a week with them. :( Good luck with her....
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Hen looks like a game. Best to check and see if neighbors more than a few doors down do not have them.
  8. Chido

    Chido Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2011
    El Monte
    I do feel bad for taking away her chicks, but I already have 7 chickens, the mamma makes 8, and there's one more hen I'm trying to catch. I wouldn't be able to support 14 chickens and also there's the risk of my nieces getting too attach to the chicks, and since we already have a rooster, I wouldn't be able to keep more roosters with my small flock. My nieces would not let go of the cockerels easily, and I'd rather give the chicks away to people we know and that will take great care of them, than keeping them just because my nieces want them, but it could be detrimental to all the birds :(. That's why I rehomed the chicks asap, so my nieces wouldn't have time to get too attached to them, and we kept the momma, since the other family doesn't have any experience with "wild" chickens, and there could be problems dealing with one angry untamed mamma.

    Edit: a lot of my neighbors have chickens, but I know this hen doesn't belong to them. She was part of a flock a neighbor would let roam free in the street across from my house, and when he moved away, he left some chickens behind. So this hen has been a stray for almost a year, and she would sleep on a pine tree on our frond yard along with other 2 strays. We've been feeding them because we want to catch them and keep them (she's not the first stray hen we caught). There's only one hen left, and hopefully I'll be able to catch her too before stray dogs make a meal out of her :(.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2012

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