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Chickens channelling Houdini?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mike-g2, Nov 25, 2007.

  1. mike-g2

    mike-g2 New Egg

    Nov 25, 2007

    I recently acquired two almost full grown english game hens. They are cute and get along well. I made a nice coop for them with a nesting box and two perches (2in in diameter rounded wood -- is this too big?). I have clipped both wings on both chickens with the idea that they could have the run of the fenced in yard (privacy fence, ~8ft tall). I've got a feeder full of scratch and a watering can in the yard as well.

    It should be the ideal life for a chicken. Unfortunately, they seem to have a knack for escaping and hanging out in the trees at the edge of my neighbor's place two houses over. They roost in the bushes there and so I'm continually having to go over with a stepladder and grab 'em at night. My neighbors are great, but I don't want to test their patience and am getting a bit tired of doing these every day.

    Any suggestions for keeping them them from wanting to fly the coop would be greatly appreciated.


  2. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Hi Mike-
    First off, scratch is not a good feed for them. Scratch is like candy for chickens. That may be one reason why they are taking off... they are looking for "good for you" food.
    Also, I think the only way you'll get your girls to really stay (now that they've figured out they like the neighbor's yard) is to secure the top of their run. That will also keep everything else out. As we all know, chicken tastes good!
    As far as feed, they need to be on layer food. There are lay pellets and lay mash. I like the pellets because there is less waste. You'll also see that they love to eat leftovers like veggies, fruit (no citrus or avocado), rice, noodles, meat (yes, they eat chicken!), etc. They also love grass and any landscaping you may have. They know exactly which plants cost the most and are the hardest to grow. They love it even more if you have nice, expensive soil in your garden. If you have a veggie garden, kiss it goodbye unless it or your hens are fenced off.
    Hope that answered your questions!
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Oh, in addition, by clipping two wings, it as if you didn't clip them at all. Next time clip just one to throw them off balance.
  4. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Quote:Yep, good point. Those little game hens can get going pretty well, especially with a tail wind!
  5. mike-g2

    mike-g2 New Egg

    Nov 25, 2007
    Hi Folks,

    Thanks for the notes. They started this mischevious behavior long before I started giving them scratch . I started by giving them a layer/chick mix but they just ignored it. I also put out some regular ol' bird seed, which they seemed to like more. The idea was scratch would be a treat and encourage them to stick around. Since they have the run of the yard, my local farm supplier said that giving them scratch should be fine.

    I also started off with just one wing clipped, but that didn't seem to keep 'em confined so I gave the second wing a clip in hopes of that doing something.

    I suspect they like perching amongst the bushes more than in the coop (I spent a whole weekend on the sucker). Perhaps I need to supply them with some taller brush within the yard.

    Again, thanks for the advice. If anyone else has some ideas, I'd love to hear 'em.

  6. picklespickles

    picklespickles Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2007
    i have old branches, a large pile of them, in my yard. mine love to hide in there.

    i let mine run around as they want, but they stay here, though. could you try cooping them for a while to more get the idea of home? or, how long have you had them and how attached are you? start over with new ones?

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