Chickens and wild grouse?


9 Years
Oct 13, 2010
What on earth is this grouse up to?? Has this happened to anyone else??

I have a rooster, a mama hen and four of her chicks that are about 10 weeks old or so. They free-range during the day and I lock them up at night. Every once in a while, there is a grouse hanging out with them. Watching it, it seems like the grouse may want to join the flock? But mama hen gets her feathers in a fluff and chases it away if it gets too close to her babies.

Originally, it showed up one day with the rooster. Now it waits outside the coop in the morning. This morning I scared it off by accident and the chickens wouldn't come out of the coop right away when I opened the door. Were they scared of the grouse?

So, what do you think the grouse is doing? Does it want in the flock? Is it a territorial thing - are my chickens invading it's space? Is it in love with my rooster?
I have a ruffed grouse that hung out with my chickens for half the summer. She even raised a sweet little baby in my front yard. We also have wood cocks and an occasional wild turkey that hang out with the chickens when they free-range. I think the wild birds see other birds hanging around- well fed and safe. I think they want in.

Here's a pic of the ruffed grouse baby shortly after it hatched. It was so tiny I almost stepped on it.
Seriously CUTE!!!

Makes sense. Now that I think about it, I've noticed quite an uptick in ALL wildlife I'm seeing around here, even squirrels. We have wild turkeys, too. They come through the yard every morning, there's 11 of them, but they never bother with the chickens.
Ruffed grouse can be real friendly and adopt people or other animals. There was one guy locally that used to have one that would fly up to him every time he went out with his tractor. One time my DW came running out of the car to tell me that one of my chickens was loose up the road. It turned to be a grouse that didn't appear to be afraid of her or cars--looked a lot like my EE hens. I guess that's why they used to call them "fool" hens and, supposedly, you could walk up to and club them.

ETA: In re to chickens and wildlife. I looked out the other night to see two doe feeding near the chickens. As I watched a couple of the chickens ran right underneath one deer's belly. Sometimes around here it is like a scene from Bambi--without the skunks but with chickens.
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