Chicken is upset with new enclosure; any ideas?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Kneedles, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. Kneedles

    Kneedles Chirping

    Jul 22, 2014
    Wellington, New Zealand
    My only chicken has made a habit of escaping my backyard and going into the backyard of my neighbours, and she apparently likes to scratch in the dirt of their garden. My rabbits used to escape into the neighbouring backyard as well, which resulted in both complaints and the complete disappearances of two of my rabbits. To stop my hen from meeting a similar fate, I have decided to keep her in a small enclosure in my backyard.
    Unfortunately, she does not like this change at all. Previously, she was entirely free-ranging, even though she was supposed to stay in the same enclosure as my rabbits, and because she is now confined to a small area, she spends a lot of her time pacing back and forth, and is clearly unhappy. When I enter the enclosure to remove her eggs, she immediately tries to leave. I am concerned about whether or not her lack of freedom will effect her, and I would like to know if there is anything that I can do about it.
    On a different note, because my chicken can no longer feed from the same bowl as my rabbits, I have been feeding her canary seed in place of chicken feed for the time being. She does not appear to mind it, but I would like to know if feeding it to her is safe.
    Thanks in advance for any help.
  2. RueChardon

    RueChardon In the Brooder

    May 8, 2014
    Bluegrass Country
    She needs a buddy! They are flock birds, so much happier with other chickens.
    I'd get chicken feed and give the seed to wild birds.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Kneedles

    Kneedles Chirping

    Jul 22, 2014
    Wellington, New Zealand
    When she was free-ranging, the closest things that she had to friends were my rabbits, but she never had any actual close interaction with them (apart from when they were feeding). I have considered getting another hen, but I am worried that she might bully it, or vice versa.
  4. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master

    Jan 10, 2013
    Ditto. The minimal number recommended by the respected chicken raising textbooks suggest no less than 3. But there are always exceptions, a friend found a chicken abandoned, and it lived happily alone as a loved pet, but had a close relationship and contact with their human family…even allowed in their house!

    Chickens need food intended for them, so I would change to the appropriate for age/purpose.

    Some breeds do well in confinement, others don't. But once she had free - range experience, and OMG a garden of feasts, it will be quite an adjustment and a challenge to retrain. For now, try adding treats, flock block, things to keep her busy. Consider plans to give her an area to forage with enough security to contain her.

    Since you describe her current jail as small, it sounds difficult to introduce buddies. If you do, make sure there is adequate space for all and introduce new ones slowly…see threads on introducing new additions.

    Also, analyze how the chicken and rabbits were getting out and try to find a solution…they must either go below or over the fence. Someone in forums added height to their fence by adding bamboo poles to the top with success. Look low and fix any digging opportunities. She likely will be happier if she can get out to forage again. If your fence is see thru, consider adding something to keep her from seeing out, have heard that helps prevent the escapes.

    Hope this helps.
    1 person likes this.
  5. BayBay Peepers

    BayBay Peepers Crowing

    Apr 5, 2013
    I agree with the others that your chicken needs a friend. Could you let them free range supervised?

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