Hey Everyone! Sooo glad I found this site!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by landscraper82, Dec 15, 2014.

  1. landscraper82

    landscraper82 Hatching

    Dec 15, 2014
    Well, long story short, I honestly never really entertained the idea of raising chickens. Now, rewind to friday (12/12) morning, when I woke up to find a hen pretty much just hanging out in my back yard. I thought that was unusual, and while I live in a smaller town in North Dakota, I wasn't aware of anyone in the immediate area who keeps chickens in the backyard. So, I just let her be, and went about my day.

    When I returned home from work that night, I had assumed she had left the area, because I couldn't see her...but I forgot to look up! She had found a nice low hanging pine tree, and was perched 5-6 branches up (about 4 feet off the ground.) Seemed fairly content to spend the night there. "Well...whatever," is what I thought. Saturday morning...still there. Saturday afternoon, still there. We don't have any snow yet, or any moisture for that matter, and I thought she might be thirsty, so I put out a dish of water. She drank it right up! Finding that somewhat amusing, I had some leftover corn from supper the night before that I threw out there, and yup, she gobbled that right up too!

    About 4:30pm or so as the sun was going down she flew back up to that same branch, and spent yet another night. So, sunday morning, I began reading on what chickens can/should be eating, and was able to put out a few nicer items I had in storage, (i.e. a nice winter squash I cut in half, a few apple slices, a few handfuls of sweet corn from a can, and a leftover pancake.)

    Now...this morning is bone chilling cold, and extremely windy, so she had dug out a spot underneath that pine tree and is just sitting in there, looking terribly cold. So, I found an old rubber maid tote, cut a whole in the corner, and stuffed it with straw and set it out right by her in a good spot out of the wind. She still hasn't went into it yet though...and tonight will be awful for anyone stuck outside.

    I guess my questions go as follows: Am I doing everything right so far? Any way I can entice her into the nice straw filled shelter I made? And, should I keep busting the ice off of the water dish or will she be able to bust through on her own?

    Thanks for any and all replies...I was hoping she would return to wherever she came from but that hasn't been the case...I have posted on facebook and the like about a missing chicken, but so far no one has a clue where it came from.

    K...thanks again!

  2. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master

    Jan 10, 2013
    This is a real dilemma and difficult to give you the advice you want to hear. But in my opinion, you have a decision to make, to keep the chicken or not.

    Chickens need shelter that offers protection not just from the weather but from a multitude of predators. They need complete rations and best to provide her with a complete layer feed. They cannot deice the water, and you will need to make sure that water is always available. They are happier in groups of 3 or more, but many people I know have raised a solo hen who showed up like yours.

    If you plan to rescue her, think about a large dog crate indoors - a shed or garage? Until you can accomplish more suitable housing or locate someone who may take her off your hands. But you may not be able to even catch her to help her.

    There's a lot of basic information in the Learning Center on care and feeding. Also take a look at the coop sections.

    I wish you luck in the endeavor..it must be quite frustrating to be thrown into this responsibility. And with winter here, the task is overwhelming.
  3. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Bird is the Word

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop
    Hello there and welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Oh how nice of you to be trying to take care of her!!! Yes, you are doing things right. However you will need to break the ice for her as she will not be able to break it herself.

    Keep leaving her food. If you can, go to the feed store and buy a small bag of chicken feed. They normally come in 50 pound bags. But since you don't know if you will ever catch her, get some chick starter. Many times you can find 5 pound bags of this stuff. This will work until you know you have her. Leave it out for her with constant water that is thawed. Keep this shelter set up for her. Tomorrow go out with some treats for her that she can see you carrying. Leave them for her and then walk away. Keep doing this until she starts to warm up to you. She may come around sooner than you think since she is no doubt cold. If she can survive all predators and you work with her, she may be able to be caught. You might set up a dog crate with a door on it and see if you can't get her to use that. If she will go inside at night you could go out one night when it is really dark and shut the door on her. Just be patient and keep her in food and water.

    I sure hope you can catch her soon!!! :)
  4. FarmLife01

    FarmLife01 Hatching

    Dec 15, 2014
    Beautiful Washington State
    Hi Eric!

    I am new to BYC too, but not new to chickens....

    Congratulations, I think you've been adopted!

    Yes, so far very good.

    Yes, please keep the ice off of the water!

    Chickens like to seek higher places to sleep/roost. Tonight, where you are, will likely be too cold for this, without protection... Just after dusk, go out and pick her up (holding her wings gently but tightly against her body) put her into your tote. Hang out for a minute, make sure she's gonna stay in there - chickens aren't necessarily the smartest creatures on the planet... and put her back in if she pops out again, as many times as it takes. Dark really helps here.... This will keep her warm for the night, and give you time to make new "digs" if you decide you want her to hang out any longer [​IMG]

    If you want to keep her, build her a structure, doesn't have to be fancy, that will keep the wind and the water off of her, and that gives her a place to perch off of the ground (maybe 3-4'high is enough). Sooner is better, put her in there after dusk again and she'll figure it out.... Put your food and water inside the structure and she'll figure it out even faster.

    If you don't want to keep her, post for a "free to good home", or check humane society in your area, some will take chickens.

    If you keep her, read on in the forums and articles for how to provide her what she needs, so that she can give you her one special product - eggs! Layer feed (from your local feed store) to begin with....

    Let us know how it goes!


    PS - You probably didn't get any other replies to your post yet 'cause you posted in the "intro"section - post your questions in more frequently read areas, and you'll get faster replies!
    1 person likes this.
  5. dawg53

    dawg53 Humble

    Nov 27, 2008
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Welcome to BYC.
  6. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]We're glad to have you.
  7. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    [​IMG] Glad you joined us!
  8. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons

    Apr 23, 2014
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.
  9. Ashley Stroud

    Ashley Stroud Chirping

    Sep 2, 2014
    Hello and welcome!
    Whether or not you decide to keep her, THANK YOU for caring enough to share your food with her and give her shelter options [​IMG]
    We're here to help, so ask away! :)
  10. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    You could put up an ad for her at the feed store or on craig's list. But most responses may be to have her for dinner. If you go out in the dark, you can probably take her out of the branches and put her in the shelter you made. Birds are very reluctant to move in the dark.

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