Help! We Have Chickens in Our Backyard!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lehrrb, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. lehrrb

    lehrrb Hatching

    Jul 26, 2007
    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.
  2. JackieK318

    JackieK318 Songster

    Apr 29, 2007
    Try contacting your local humane society. They might know of a rescue in your area.
  3. rosyposyosy

    rosyposyosy Songster

    Jul 11, 2007
    cracked corn is a treat . there are no nutrients. you cant keep them in your back yard? maybe you could make a small little coop in the woods or maybe a run with chicken wire? a coop will only be needed at night time. it can be somewhat small, but you would have to put them in and out .... thats the only thing i can think of
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    You don't have to build anything extensive for them. Does your development allow dogs? Just put a dog house out there for them and put a kennel around it. That would work for them to keep them safe. Might want to add some chicken wire around the bottom though so things can't reach in if you decided to keep them. At that rate, all the chicks and hen are going to be eaten by something.
  5. Sharona

    Sharona Songster

    Jun 10, 2007
    where do you live? If you can't keep them there may be someone on there that can take them?
  6. Bubba

    Bubba Songster

    Jun 18, 2007
    Since they seem to be doing ok why not let mother nature run with it. Birds have lived in the wild alot longer then we like to admit. Feeding them is HELPING them ALOT. A source of food and maybe water is all they need. You could make somewhere for them to roost to. Make it at least 5 feet high with squirrel/raccoon protectors on the legs. Its not a fence or containment area so you shouldn't get in trouble. Its not a structure either, just tell people its a bird feeder. Just don't mention what kinda bird [​IMG]

  7. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    But they're not doing ok since she has lost 8 chicks, something is getting them. I would contact the humane society or animal control in your area and see if there is a rescue group around. If not, I would call feed stores and ask about local farmers who raise chickens, perhaps they could lead you to someone who would trap them and add them to their own flock. You could also put an add in the livestock section of your paper for free chickens, you catch. Just some ideas to try. I hope you can find a safe place for them. By the way, do you want chickens? If so, you might talk to your neighbors about how they would feel if you did make a small coop and kept them yourself.
  8. eggchel

    eggchel Crowing

    Dec 26, 2006
    Both Coasts
    What area are you located in? There may be members in your area that could help.

    Put out a bowl of water for them if it is hot. Although the the bird seed and corn are not the ideal diet, they will be okay since they are free ranging and presumably eating greens, bugs, and other seeds. You can also put out some kitchen scraps and leftovers such as fruit and veggie trimmings, etc., and see what they like. Just clean up what they dont eat each evening or you will attract other animals and bugs. [​IMG]

    If you want to catch them and arent quick enough with a net, lol, if you can find out where they roost at night then you can grab them then since they dont see well in the dark and tend to stay still.
    Building a trap where they come to eat could also work. Put a temporary framework of pvc pipe up over the spot where the bird seed is. The bigger you make it, the less it will worry them. Cover it with netting (cheap bird netting is available at garden centers), including over the top and zip-tie the netting to the pipe. Make a gate that is located where they usually approach from or they will be confused. You can just use zip-ties for hinges since the materials are lightweight. Put a cord on the door so that you can pull it closed from a distance. After catching them, you can transfer them to a cage or dog crate and put them in your garage or shed to keep them secure until they are given away or a real coop is built for them. Dont leave them in a pvc/netting trap overnight or they will be dinner for a raccoon, possum, skunk, etc.

    The local animal shelter may be able to direct you to a poultry rescue group that could help you or take them after you catch them. Some shelters even loan humane traps out to residents although those types of traps are usually designed for raccoons, etc.

    Please keep posting and let us know what happens.
    Welcome to BYC!

  9. lehrrb

    lehrrb Hatching

    Jul 26, 2007
    Thanks to all of you who responded to our plight concerning the chickens who showed up in our backyard. You are a great bunch of caring people and you were very generous with your advice. Thank you so much. We really can't build anything in our backyard (Condo rules) and we can't build anything in the woods beyond (private posted property). As far as we know, there is no one nearby to take them either. Well, here is what we did do: First, we tried to see where they go in the woods and where they might roost at night. We searched the area at dusk without any success. Next, we called a local animal rescue group. They were very kind, but they said they didn't have the manpower or the know-how to catch chickens and recommended that we call the Humane League in our county. We did, and they also were very nice, but it was pretty much the same story. They said they could provide shelter for them if we could catch them. Finally, we emailed Farm Sanctuary. Same story there too, but they said they would post our concern on their electronic bulletin board and they would try to get in touch with their members who live nearby. We are still waiting to hear about that. All the groups we contacted were very kind and understanding. Lately, the chickens have missed some days in coming and they are not as regular as before. Thanks again, for all your kind advice. We took it very much into consideration and it has been greatly appreciated.
  10. JackieK318

    JackieK318 Songster

    Apr 29, 2007
    Where are you located?

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