Help..need advice, I've been adopted by a chicken!

Nichola Cage

In the Brooder
Jan 2, 2016
4
2
42
Herefordshire, England
Sorry, I wrote too much in an earlier thread! I've been adopted by a Sicilian Buttercup hen, and whilst I search for her real family, I want to make her as comfortable as possible. I know very little about chickens..but am being won over by her huge personality...I had no idea chickens were such characters! Any advice you can off would be gratefully received! Nichola, Herefordshire UK
 

boskelli1571

Crowing
10 Years
Mar 7, 2011
3,769
1,476
381
Finger Lakes, NY
You are special - she chose you!
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All she currently needs is a safe place to sleep/live, water and feed. I'm sure you don't have any idea how old she is, but here are some age pointers.
Comb - red, vibrant - young; worn looking - older. legs - scales smooth, good color - young; scales slightly raised, washed out color - old. feathers - good color, 'tight', shiny - young, looser, more 'fluffed' - older.
These are only general guidelines - each chicken/breed is different. If her comb and wattles are not yet fully developed, I would feed her with a grower feed, otherwise go with a layer feed.
If you allow her outside, you will need to watch her carefully - all predators love chicken dinner!
Good luck with her, please keep us posted!
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QueenMisha

Queen of the Coop
Jan 14, 2015
6,022
965
316
Placerville, California, USA
Your first move is to get her somewhere safe. Do you have a large dog crate or kennel? That will be perfect for right now. Pine shavings are an ideal bedding, but they usually come in a pretty large bag, unnecessary for only one chicken. Old towels work as a substitute and will need changing every 2-3 days. If you have somewhere like a garage or laundry room to keep her, that would be great; she can be outdoors as well provided that she has shelter from wind and rain and it isn't too cold (~30 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer would be best). Chickens can typically handle cold quite well, but since she is alone it is harder for her to keep warm.

She needs a commercial feed for now. Find your closest feed store, and ask for a grower feed (or, if they have no grower, a non-medicated chick start). If she is an adult she would typically be on a layer feed, but because she was on her own for some amount of time she can probably use some time on the extra protein of a grower. A grower should be around 18-20% protein, ~2% calcium. Most feed stores will offer some small bags of feed, usually around 5-10 pounds.

She can have most any scrap you want to feed her - but limit grains such as seed and corn to 10% of the diet, and greens about 25%. Don't feed raw potato, avocado, onions, very fat or sugary things, or anything with caffeine. Good luck!
 

Nichola Cage

In the Brooder
Jan 2, 2016
4
2
42
Herefordshire, England
Thank you so much, both of you! I'll go to the feed store tomorrow! How do I get her in to a safe place? I think my daughter's playhouse would be perfect and I'll rig up a roosting branch and a nest box to see her through..do I pick her up and plonk her in the house? At present she has the run of our garden and likes scratching around especially in the flower beds. It is really mild here at the moment..about 10 to 15 degrees Celsius maybe 45 fahrenheit and even 5 to 10 degrees C at night. I guess that's why she isn't too worried about a coop? Keep sending me advices I'm drinking it up! Nichola
 

boskelli1571

Crowing
10 Years
Mar 7, 2011
3,769
1,476
381
Finger Lakes, NY
Thank you so much, both of you! I'll go to the feed store tomorrow! How do I get her in to a safe place? I think my daughter's playhouse would be perfect and I'll rig up a roosting branch and a nest box to see her through..do I pick her up and plonk her in the house? At present she has the run of our garden and likes scratching around especially in the flower beds. It is really mild here at the moment..about 10 to 15 degrees Celsius maybe 45 fahrenheit and even 5 to 10 degrees C at night. I guess that's why she isn't too worried about a coop? Keep sending me advices I'm drinking it up! Nichola

The temp is not the problem, predators are, esp. at night. Whatever you decide to move her into, needs to be pred. proof. A raccoon can open anything a 3 yr old can - just so you know. She will be loud about it at first, but once she gets the hang of it, she'll do fine I'm sure - just pick her up and plop her in. Shut the door quick or she will be back out and then very difficult to get back in! Remember, she's learning too!
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drumstick diva

Still crazy after all these years.
Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Aug 26, 2009
138,804
272,749
2,027
Out to pasture
Welcome to Backyard chickens. You might like to visit the Learning center - you will likely find answers to all your questions there. If not, give us a try.
 

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