Chickens gone missing


In the Brooder
Jun 10, 2021
Southern Tier of NY State
I thought for a bit to post this in the 'Emergencies' forum but since everything worked out fine, I figured here is a better place. We're new to chickens, so if this sort of thing is commonplace, please ignore.

Yesterday, the chickens had been free-ranging the yard (as they usually do) and the door to the run blew shut, so they couldn't get back to the coop. When went out to shut things up, a little after dark, they weren't in the coop. So we went on a search of the yard, with flashlights, in all their usual hangouts and couldn't find them.

This morning after it got light, I went outside, and found them in the very top branches of a tall shrub we have (maybe 8 feet up). They'd gotten deep into it and pretty high (and clearly, hard to spot). They had trouble getting down, They really are quite good at taking care of themselves.

Because it is kind of cute, I'll post the picture of them in the tree.


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Thank goodness this had a happy ending! Your girls were smart enough to seek the safest shelter they could think of.

I've heard of other people's chickens heading into trees. However, my coops are surrounded by trees, none of my birds has clipped wings, and none have ever attempted roosting in trees.

On the three occasions when my hens missed curfew and stayed out overnight, two hid under the deck -- clearly smarter than the one who wandered into the neighbor's corn field. Predators galore, including coyotes -- one of which was singing just this morning -- like to travel through the fields.

Again, I'm glad your chickens are safe!
My chooks get put to bed at 5pm, when I bring the horses in for the night. Last night I left them to roam around the barn as it was very hot and humid, when I went out to do evening feed with the horses at 8pm they were all in their 'Hen House' room in the barn - they put themselves to bed!

Chickens like kids and horses get used to a routine and like to stick to it I am finding.
Another chapter to this 'missing chickens' saga. They'd been good again about going to bed in the coop, so yesterday we didn't check until after dark. Well, they weren't in the coop, but a skunk was! And they had returned to the tree.

That can't be a coincidence - I wonder if they had gone to bed and then the skunk came in and they fled for the tree. And I'm hoping the skunk got in through the open door and not through some crack somewhere that I overlooked.

But anyway, I'm impressed again at how well they can take care of themselves. But I don't know what do to about the skunk, long-term.
Can you have it trapped? DNR came when I called and they relocated a juvenile owl; maybe yours can do the same with the skunk? Definitely not a DIY project in my book.

Thank goodness your chickens got themselves to safety, but it's not a foolproof, long-term solution, as I'm sure you know.
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