Chickens were Hurricane Victims too!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by La.Mad-House, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. La.Mad-House

    La.Mad-House Out Of The Brooder

    26
    0
    22
    Nov 21, 2009
    Hello [​IMG],
    I am a newbie to chicken raising! So new I don't even have chickens yet! So here is my story:

    After hurricane Katrina, someones flock (of maybe 6-8 birds) ended up seeking refuge in a wooded area on my aunts property. Four and a half years later, there are now about 20-25 birds in that area. I mentioned to my aunt that I wanted to raise chickens for egg laying starting this spring...and she suggested I come to her place and get as many hens as I want. I really want to start out with pullets but since I'm so excited about this new adventure I thought I might try these "wild" birds first.

    What shoud my concerns be? Health; as I don't want to contaminate my coop (if that's even possible). Chickens that are very mean won't be much fun. I just thought I might "try before I buy" and see how things go. Any advice?[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2009
  2. thechickenchick

    thechickenchick Born city, Living country

    Mar 8, 2008
    Eaton, Colorado
    First off Welcome!! Free chicken, sounds fantastic. I am afraid they won't be very friendly though. They are wild birds and unless your Aunt has been feeding them and they are use to humans, they probably will be very anti social. That of course depends on the personality of the bird, but it is more likely you will have friendly birds if you raise them that way.

    As far as health concerns they may have mites or something like that. You could treat them for this and a few other things. Wait a while before adding any new birds to this flock. Always quarantine new birds for 30 days before adding to your existing flock.

    Good luck!! Keep us posted!
     
  3. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,169
    93
    231
    Aug 30, 2009
    Goshen, OH
    If you don't have any chickens right now, your coop won't be "contaminated" until you add birds from elsewhere. If you manage to catch any of the wild ones, you'll be able to monitor their health and treat anything accordingly. I'd be worried about mites, worms, and/or bacterial, viruses from being wild. If you catch enough of them, you won't need to buy any.

    Without a solid structure to corner them up against, you can hope that they're the type to panic and hide. I had an anti-social hen who acted wild her first couple of weeks here, and I would "herd" her towards vines, where she would hide in. Then I'd sneak closer, and grab her, pretending I didn't see her until it was too late and I had a hold of her.

    Chickens don't herd well, they scatter more than anything. You'll need nets, or some sort of creative trapping method to catch them.

    When I was a teenager, I decided I wanted chickens while on a trip to visit family in Tennessee. They had 3rd generation "wild" chickens from original stock that escaped the coop due to predators. The chickens decided they were safer in the rafters of the barn and up in the trees, so that's where they moved to. One of my great uncles said "If you can catch it, you can keep it".

    I spent 6 hours chasing those birds around, and I had experience in moving/herding animals where I wanted them. I caught one hen, at the end of those 6 hours. I had worked her towards the barn, then up against the side of it, and as I moved closer, I kept her running side to side, until I was close enough to put a hand on either side of her (and up a little, since they fly!) and grabbed her.

    She turned out to be a great pet, named her Princess. She took less than 2 days to decide captive life was easier than wild. Some birds will do that, some won't. She even finished raising the two chicks my parents bought me the next day, since my uncle said "What are going to do with just one chicken?"... Well, get more of course!

    Coop contamination occurs when you start adding birds from other flocks. They develop immunities to certain things, or they've never been exposed to stuff... and when you start mixing them without a proper quarentine that's when a single seemingly healthy bird can kill off your home flock. If you use these wild birds as your source, they're out of the same flock. In theory anyways.

    Beware of any too easy to catch... the healthiest (but also flightiest.. so really it's hit or miss) are going to be the most difficult to catch.

    You may spend a week out there and not catch any though... so don't have your heart set on these birds. Bring help, 3 people who can move fast, but also be able to move slow and "stalk"... you'll be hunting, not making friends! Try throwing bread too, but chances are they'll be too suspicious.

    If you really wanted to, go out there every other day for about 2 weeks, and feed them. Gain their trust, once you have it, bring some friends and nets. Quite the time investment that way, but you'll catch more. They'll be suspicious of the friends with nets though, so you'll still be hunting, just on slightly less wild birds.

    Sounds fun, wish I could help! Reminds me of sheep shearing day on less than friendly sheep. DAYS spent getting them all brought in for their haircut. Good times though, I enjoy hunting with the goal of capture instead of killing.
     
  4. thechickenchick

    thechickenchick Born city, Living country

    Mar 8, 2008
    Eaton, Colorado
    If you know about where they might roost. You could go at night with flash lights. Chickens sleep pretty sound. Grab them by the legs/feet. Once a chicken is upside down it doesn't move. Be careful though so you don't injure one. Of course if they are roosting high up in a tree, this won't work!
     
  5. La.Mad-House

    La.Mad-House Out Of The Brooder

    26
    0
    22
    Nov 21, 2009
    Thanks so much Chick and Mandelyn for your quick replies...

    So catching these hens should be an adventure in itself! My DH and Uncle have decided to get together on thier first attempt at dusk when they are roosting...IDK?
    Let's say I manage to get 2 or three...After I get them in the coop, how will they most likely act when I have to go in? Will they attack me when I enter or scatter from me? I understand the personality thing...but what about the natural behavior of a wild chicken?
     
  6. La.Mad-House

    La.Mad-House Out Of The Brooder

    26
    0
    22
    Nov 21, 2009
    Trying to find the forum for quarantining new flock...can someone pleas paste a link?
     
  7. urban dreamer

    urban dreamer Chillin' With My Peeps

    593
    0
    129
    Sep 28, 2009
    Sherwood, AR
    Ooo this sounds like fun! If I'd lived any closer to you I go chicken hunting with you. Keep us updated on how it goes and the condition of the flock! [​IMG]
     
  8. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,169
    93
    231
    Aug 30, 2009
    Goshen, OH
    They're going to be flighty, and will run away to the corners, run along the wall, screaming their heads off. Chickens don't have "fight or flight"... they opt for flight. If you hold one, it will go panicy rather than peck at you.

    The first couple of days, go in the coop and sit with them, talk with them, feed them food. Start by throwing it to them after they calm down a bit, then throw it closer to you, and closer still, until you're dropping it right in front of you and they're taking it. Slow and steady, spending as much time with them as you can.

    Once they trust you a little bit and "work for food" you can start by catching and holding them, then releasing them when they go calm and still. Repeat.... repeat again.

    Chickens aren't vicious animals... sometimes a territorial rooster will be, but if you're fast, you can catch him before he does any damage. The worse thing anyone can do is run, stand there and freak out, or otherwise be taken advantage of by the chicken. Just grab it, problem solved, attack diverted. So don't worry about these blood thirsty killer wild chickens... they're harmless. Catching them though... that's the hard part.

    Can't believe I didn't think of the night time snatch and run!! Duh. Course they'll most likely be over 10 feet into the trees depending on the tree/scrub type in your area. Wild chickens follow the theory of "higher is safer". The ones on my family's property would either be in the tip-top rafters of the old barn (30 feet up) or in the old growth trees 40+ feet up. Anyone that stayed low was a bobcat snack.
     
  9. La.Mad-House

    La.Mad-House Out Of The Brooder

    26
    0
    22
    Nov 21, 2009
    Thanks again Mandelyn.... the wooded area at my Aunts house is mostly shrub oak and tall pine trees. Gonna be fun trying any way![​IMG]

    So let's see if I have this right....IF I manage to capture a few of these hens, and I later wish to introduce new members to the "flock", I must first quarantine the new members for 30-45 days. Making sure EVERYONE is healthy before "gently" introducing to one another.

    The confusion comes into play when I think of some birds being "carriers". Even though all birds seem healthy could losses result? Could the wild hens show no signs of illness and still pass something down to the newbies? And vice-versa?[​IMG]
     
  10. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    4,654
    30
    251
    Jun 15, 2008
    You will probably have little chicken explosions every time you open the coop door for a week or so. Chickens will scatter and bounce off walls trying to get away. Make sure they don't slip out the door unless you have a pen or you will have to catch them all over again. Eventually you should be able to tame an adult chicken just as well as a chick. In my experience it depends more on the personality of the bird than how they are raised. If they have survived and multiplied running about on the property then they are actually probably pretty healthy. When not kept alive by humans animals carrying illness or susceptible to anything will die off quickly. They will either lack the energy to find food and water or to escape predators. Wild populations of animals tend not to suffer from much once they are established and I'd only be worried about a slight parasite load. I'd deworm them when you can and otherwise just watch them to make sure you didn't grab a sick one that couldn't escape well. When you start mixing chickens from different sources you start running more risk. I only buy eggs and the occasional chick from the feedstore. Chicks are unlikely to be carrying anything and will develop immunity to whatever is on the place already as they grow.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by