Help! Our chickens have abandoned us

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by luvlabs, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. luvlabs

    luvlabs Hatching

    Nov 8, 2011
    We got our chickens last April and have about 1/3 acre fenced in. We wanted them to range on that area and they have been content to do that, however once they found they could fly over the fence, they were going into the front yard constantly. I had read that they don't go very far from their coop, however they started crossing the road to get to our neighbor's yard who has a male guinea fowl and who feeds the birds quite a bit (which we do, too). Now in the morning they automatically go across the street as soon as they are let out of their coop. We have tried clipping their wings to no avail. We have not seen an egg in the nest boxes for over a week. They used to come back to the coop to lay, but now they aren't. I am not sure if they are not laying because they are molting or what. My question is, though, how do we get them to stop wandering across the street? Our neighbor does not mind having them, but she says that fox and coyote come down from the woods behind her field, and do so during the day when it's cold.
    Any suggestions?

  2. ChicKat

    ChicKat Crowing Premium Member

    Hi Dodi,

    Welcome to the forum.

    You sure don't want to loose any of your chickens to predators. Add to that the fact that most livestock, chickens included like routine-- I think you may want to try to reprogram their chicken brains. Do you have an enclosure that they cannot escape? Maybe you could assemble a run from something like cattle panels or PVC pipe..... If you had a 'roof' then they couldn't fly out. When they complain to you....have a heart-to-heart talk to tell them that it is for their own safety, and they aren't going to be supper for fox or coyote if you can help it. It will take some time, but the chickens will be adaptable. Once you start letting them out again, do it under supervision and 'herd' them where you want them.... they may get the hint. (some folks have 'trained' their chickens to keep off the deck or porch for example-- using various animal training methods.

    Eggs could be being laid elsewhere, or they could be molting, or egg production could be slowed down due to the shorter hours of daylight.

    If my choice were to loose a hen to a predator or confine them in a secure run, I would select keeping them in a run in a heartbeat.

    good luck with your wanderers.
  3. Marcymom3

    Marcymom3 Songster

  4. kcjones

    kcjones Songster

    May 2, 2011
    we have a similar problem,at first they were content to stay in backyard, They discovered they could fly over the fence, they have a 20 by 8 foot chain-link covered run, i cut it in half an made a holding cell for escapees.All except 3 decided they didn't like being locked up while the other chickens are in their yard.If they all stay in their yard i can leave the door open to rest of run. It hasn't cured the problem , but it did cut down on birds who fly over the fence.
  5. Marcymom3

    Marcymom3 Songster

    Our backyard, about 3/4 acre is fenced in. We let our chickens out of their run from about 3 pm till dark. For a while they would hop onto the fence, and when they did I put everyone back in the run. When they all started laying they stopped hopping on to the fence. That is until yesterday! I let them out much earlier than usual (after I got the last egg at around noon) and they were fine. But then I got distracted and stopped keeping an eye on them. My dog started acting agitated, running out her dog door and barking, then back in, barking at me and back out the dog door. It took me a minute, but I realized she was trying to tell me something. (I'm not usually so dense! [​IMG] ) I got outside and saw one was on the fence, one in the driveway and two were in the woods on the other side of the fence. It took me a while to round everybody up, especially the ones in the woods.

    They will be spending the day in their run for the next few days, I think. Maybe they just got bored, IDK.

  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Quote:Dodi, Unless you can improve the fencing, making the 1/3 acre area their "pen" or "run", you'll either have to build a small run off the coop or build a moveable tractor to keep them in, while rotating their pasturing.

    1/3 acre is far too small to contain a chicken. They get more bold until 5 or 10 acres doesn't contain them. Chicken dig, scratch and dust bath. The dig pot holes over time. Having them do this in your neighbor's yard is simply not kosher. Having them dig potholes in the neighbor's flower beds? Nah, cannot allow this. Eventually, bad feeling arise. Having chickens crossing roads and streets simply isn't a good thing. Having them lay eggs off site? No good either. Time to reign them in and keep them closer at hand. Your neighbors are too close, the street too close as well. Sorry.
  7. Cluckin'Crazy4them

    Cluckin'Crazy4them In the Brooder

    Oct 28, 2011
    NW Oregon
    Quote:I like those ideas. I live on several acres with coyotes at the edge of the fields, woods, and ponds so I worry they will travel too far. My trick is treats to keep them in close.
    In the morning, before I let them out, I will leave sprinkle-spots (as we call them) of various treats where I want them to hang out. (Ex. Cheerios, cheap frzn. veggies, or healthy table scraps). I try to change spots every couple days (under the bush, in the leaves, in the gravel, in the grass, in a dish- crazy, i know) They forage and munch throughout the day as the do their little scratch, peck, and twitch thing and they seem to stick around right in these general areas. Everyone has a different yard / chicken-ground, but get creative and work with what you have. Some people worry about leftovers attracting other critters but I have a dog that is more than willing to clean up the leavin's when I tell her to [​IMG] but you can tell after a while what your girls like and how much they will eat of it after a couple tries. Chickens dont get much credit for their little birdie brains but they are curious, adventurous, and active. They do learn quick when there is something stimulating or tasty involved. Some people dont want to put that much time into a couple o' featherbutts. But I think the best eggs come from spoiled chickens! They will go where the food is, even if its not regular. My hens stick to their area even though I only give them sprinkle spots every couple days.
    Anyways, it definitely sounds like your chickens need a reset. This is what has worked for me. I hope it helps! Good luck and have fun!
  8. Marcymom3

    Marcymom3 Songster

    Cluckin'... great suggestions! I'm gonna try your sprinkle-spot idea for mine instead of incarceration. [​IMG]
  9. goldeneggtees

    goldeneggtees Fluffy Butt Nut

    Mar 11, 2009
    Long Island, NY
    we had a similar problem so we barricaded the fence with chicken wire and whatever we had laying around and they couldn't get out anymore. The fence which was a picket fence built from pallets used to be adorable, and now it's just ugly but at least it's working to keep them in.

  10. Bunnieluvr

    Bunnieluvr Hatching

    Nov 26, 2011
    Mine were going over my fence too.
    I just clipped their wings, and haven't had any problems since.
    If you decide to go this route, there are plenty of videos on youtube explaining how to do it.
    It's easy, and since my chickens live in a fenced in backyard away from predators, its pretty safe.
    I also have two large dogs that keep an eye on them. [​IMG]

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