Free range chickens nesting outside of the coop!! Please help

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by secondtonone01, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. secondtonone01

    secondtonone01 New Egg

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    Jul 27, 2013
    South of Seattle, WA
    Hi all, we have 4 chickens that we allow to free range in our back yard (around 1AC). This has been no big deal until recently. We were a bit worried the other day when we noticed that one of our polish/wyandotte crosses was missing. Long story short, we found her in a secret nest with 12 eggs!! We have no roosters, and our ladies have been at our place since April, so there is no chance that they could actually hatch. My wife and I decided that we would get her out of the nest and remove the eggs. We got our nets ready, and approached the nest. As I got close enough to reach her, she squawked and took off like a shot. After a 15 minute chase, she ended up in the neighbors yard, burying herself in the sticker bushes. Hind sight has made it plain that I should not have chased her, but we wanted to get her back to the coop with the others. At any rate, we are hoping that she finds her way back to her nest. We put 5 of the 12 eggs back in the nest with the hope that she will see them and put herself back in the nest. So after my little story, I have several questions for anyone who may have experience:

    1. If our polish cross decides to return, what is best to get her to lay back in the nesting box in the coop?

    2. Should we eat the eggs that we found in the secret nest? The oldest one may have been there for 12 days.

    3. Is there any danger that the escaped chicken could show the others how to get out?

    4. Is a chicken smart enough to find its way back home?

    Thanks to anyone who has any help for me. My wife and I are fairly new to this, only having chickens since April.
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

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    Nov 23, 2010
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  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    23,592
    5,516
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    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    The next time you need to catch a wary chicken, wait till dark and you can just pick it up.
    It's best to break a broody from the habit if you aren't raising chicks.
     

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