Darn.... one of my girls is AWOL

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Nifty-Chicken, Jan 22, 2007.

  1. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator

    I went out to lockup my girls and counted 5... not 7! I found one of my Delaware hens on the other side of the chain link fence. She must have found a way out of the yard but couldn't find her way back in. I brought her back to the coop and went looking for my RIR hen whom I'm assuming also got through the fence but couldn't find her way back... nowhere to be found.

    I'm hoping she's up in a tree or somewhere else safe until morning. I'm crossing my fingers since I've not seen as much raccoon activity this winter as I've seen in the past.
  2. eggchel

    eggchel Crowing

    Dec 26, 2006
    Both Coasts
    I sure hope she shows up, Rob. Hopefully she is just a little lost and will be home in the morning.

  3. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Have you tried calling her? Or rattling some food in a tin can? I've been known to yell "TREATS!!!" across the yard when I can't find mine.
    I hope she shows up.
  4. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator

    I went out this morning and looked around... nothing. I whistled... nothing. I let all the other girls out and waited... nothing.

    I was going to go back inside to finish getting ready for work and thought, "I'll try one more time." I gave a whistle and PHEW... there she was on the other side of the fence. She must have locked herself on the other side as I thought. What's crazy is that I think she had slept under our playhouse which just happens to be the #1 hangout for raccoons.

    Whenever this happens I start thinking about not letting them free range every day for two reasons:

    1) I'm afraid that one night we'll forget to lock up the coop and a raccoon will have a 7 course meal.
    2) They keep finding ways out of our yard during the day.
  5. Chickens are escape artists for sure. They will find or create a way through fencing or the dirt under it. I just can't keep mine cooped though, it is such a pleasure to watch them, there is nothing more content and peaceful than a hen pecking her way across your yard. They delight in each bugfound and take full escape in a dusty spot to bath. I have had to pen chickens and watching them walk the fence breaks my heart. I have a LGD on order so mine free ranging will be more safe, but in the mean time I think it's still worth the risk.

    Now if I had raccoons under my shed right there I would be live trapping them and moving them out of town. That's a bit close to take the risk, and if they get truely interested not much in the way of fencing is going to stop them.
  6. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator


    Your reasons are exactly why I've always ended up letting them free range. I think what's been happening is that at night the coons are pushing through the chicken wire portions of my fence and creating an opening for my girls to go through once I let them out in the morning.

    The "playhouse" is what our family calls it, but it is really a beat up old shed. We (my family and our neighbors) have trapped as many as we can, but it seems like their relatives just keep coming back. I really hate raccoons.
  7. ginasmarans

    ginasmarans Songster

    Jan 15, 2007
    West Tn
    I'm glad your girl came home. I know how it is to have one go missing.
  8. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    That's awesome news!!!
  9. I'm glad your chicken is back but did you know that if you don't relocate critters like coons at least 20 miles away they will be back too? I kid you not, we had issues with tree rats (as I call them) in our attic and we trapped them and took them to a local Provincial park. Perfect place for them. A week later we hear 'more' in our attic. Look up and sure enough chewed through the very same board that we had replaced was the very same hole the previous one had in it. Soooo, back to trapping. Well they are not so easy to catch these 'new' ones (I thought) but we got both of them, it was the second one that tipped me off. She had a scar on her hip, a bald spot with some white fur round it. It was the same pair! So I called the local experts and they told me the 10 miles I took them was not far enough, to be sure you have to go at least 20! He told me 40 was best! So I crossed the Fraser River with that gal, her mate I had taken out the day before never came back from the park the second time. Too tired I guess.

    I'd trap again and make sure they are out of range. Then fix up the shed so it's not a place to live under. Your can't win them all that's for sure, but you can reduce the risk, or so it seems to me.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: