Help! I have 2 missing hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by shanon C, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. shanon C

    shanon C New Egg

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    I have 1 rooster and 5 chickens. Two days ago I noticed an eagle over my house. Three of my chickens disappeared. These 3 have often wandered off to lay eggs, which we find quickly! One chicken came back but the other 2 are still gone. I have read that they will go and lay eggs and 21 days later bring baby chicks back to the coop.
    I'm worried because it's cold out! A late frost here in Wa. I'm worried that the other chickens will attack the babies plus the big worry is, where are they!
    The rooster is calling but doesn't seem too worried. We did lose a chicken to something a month ago and all the chickens were freaking out!
    Where do I look? And if I find a nest, what do I do? Is it possible the chickens are close?
    We have a coop and lock them up at night but they free range on our wooded property.
     
  2. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you find a hen sitting on a nest get a box or small crate with some bedding and take the eggs and the hen back to the chicken coop. Lock her in with the eggs for a while to see if she continues to sit on them. Important -- MARK the eggs she is sitting on and prevent other hens from laying new eggs in her nest. Gather any new (unmarked) eggs.

    If the chicks are born in the coop with the mama then the flock accepts them, she will protect them from the others. Do plan to keep the hen a bit separated though, often it is good to pen off a section for her while she is sitting and for a couple of days after the babies are born.

    Not letting other hens mess with her nest is important too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    If they haven't been eaten, they'll be back....even if one has decided to set a nest she may come back to eat and drink once a day.

    It might be a good idea to train your hens to lay in the coop.

    Free range birds sometimes need to be 'trained'(or re-trained) to lay in the coop nests, especially new layers. Leaving them locked in the coop for 2-3 days can help 'home' them to lay in the coop nests. They can be confined to coop 24/7 for a few days to a week, or confine them at least until mid to late afternoon. You help them create a new habit and they will usually stick with it.
     
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  4. shanon C

    shanon C New Egg

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    I haven't seen them since Fri. 3 wandered off and only 1 came back. Is it possible that 2 are nesting somewhere close by?
    The rooster doesn't seem too worried.
     
  5. Spangled

    Spangled Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My roosters never seem too worried when a hen is missing. Never. They have all been outta-sight-outta-mind-types, I guess. [​IMG]

    Yes, it's possible that two are nesting somewhere, but ???? Who can know?

    aart gave you a good answer above.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I'm sorry to say that I doubt it, but it's possible that one might be.
     
  7. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Not long ago we had a member report all her flock of three had disappeared suddenly without a trace from her fenced yard. We urged her not to give up, but to take a flashlight out at dark and look in the trees. She discovered them quiet as little mice sitting together on a tree branch high up. They had probably been frightened badly by a predator and were waiting it out to make sure the coast was clear before they came down.

    A predator may get one when they are free ranging, but rarely more than that. If that's the reason for the disappearance of your chickens, the survivors will return soon.

    If you want to make sure the hens lay in the coop, you need to coop them up for several days to imprint the coop as nesting headquarters, not the bushes.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    That's a good point........I had a stray show up last summer with a bare back, figured it panicked in a predator event and got too far from home to find her way back.
     
  9. shanon C

    shanon C New Egg

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    Update, 21 days now and still no chickens[​IMG]
     
  10. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    well, that is not good, but there are lots of chicks to be had this time of year!
    [​IMG] New chicks always helps me get over losses
     

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