My wife and I know nothing about "chickens in our backyard" or anywhere else, but we have some questions for you nice people at BYC. Let me explain.. About a month ago, a mother hen and her 11 chicks suddenly appeared in our backyard. They came out of a dense woods at the back of our house and began eating the birdseed that had fallen from our feeders. As far as we know, we have no chickens being raised in our residential area and the woods are quite extensive. When they finished eating, they all retreated back into the woods. This pattern has been repeated a couple of times everyday for the first two weeks. We began supplying additional birdseed, then some cracked-corn, and finally some chicken feed (for chicks) on the ground for them. Now, today, there are only 3 chicks and their momma, but they still come once a day. They come out of the woods, eat quickly, remain very alert for noises, and then disappear back in the woods. There is no water available and we have quite a few predators (feral cats, skunks, snakes, etc.) around. Now, the problem: We don't know what we can do to protect them. Development rules do not permit us to do anything in our backyard. We are very worried about the welfare of these chickens and my wife is very concerned about their safety, as well as the weather turning colder in a few weeks. Should we be feeding them cracked-corn? They don't eat the chicken feed. Is there any organization that could take care of them? What should we do with this situation? or isn't there anything we can do? Any advice anyone can give us would be greatly appreciated.