I rescued a chicken!

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by emajns, Mar 4, 2014.

  1. emajns

    emajns New Egg

    Mar 2, 2014
    Hello all!

    A friend of mine is a property manager and a house she was preparing to rent out had an abandoned chicken in the fenced in back yard. The owner had left her when he moved! Apparently there was only dry rice and a dog kennel for food and shelter :( Im thinking she had been on her own for several months...

    The good news is she has a new family and we plan to love her and care for her! However, Im gonna need some support here! Ive never had a chicken, or any pet for that matter!

    A little bit about our new chicken, Big Mama (also know as ChickChick depending on who is talking to her): She is very sweet and social. She follows the children like a puppy, eats out of our hands and is very easy going in general. We are concerned that she is eating her own eggs and pecking at her chest and eating her feathers. Ive read about these issues and we are hoping that as she is fed healthy food and cared for these issues will stop but it is hard to see her distressed. I am going to check for mites. She also had a clear soft shelled egg today. I am going to add baked cracked shells to her feed.

    Im not sure what kind of chicken she is maybe a Delaware?

    We have an empty rabbit hutch that we have made changes to, ie: a large door, a ramp and pine straw. We have been putting her in at night but she does not stay there. We leave the door open. It is a very big space, comparable to coops I have seen at our local Garden Center. Should I close her up at night or leave it open? Our back yard is fenced in and about 3/4 of an acre.

    A few other questions, please dont laugh too much at me ;)

    Should I get her a baby pool so she can sort of wash up? She is pretty filthy. Hose her down?
    Do chickens learn their names?
    Should I get a second Chicken for her to have company? Would I get a baby chick or another adult? Do I need to wait to make sure she stops eating her eggs so she doesnt teach another chicken to do the same?

    Thanks so much for any advice. I am not online everyday but I look forward to reading each and every suggestion!

    I am grateful to have found such an informative site.

    Wish me luck!
  2. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 26, 2007
    central Ohio
    Welcome to BYC and Yay for you that you rescued her! [​IMG] She looks like she might be a White Leghorn or a Delaware, or combination thereof. You definitely want to keep her shut up at night, so that she does not become a victim. Many predators like chicken. She can free range in your yard during the day, but you need to provide some sort of cover for her that she can run to in the event of hawks...shrubs, or whatever. Hard to visualize what your setup is. You might want to consider building her a run...and use the hutch as shelter within the run.
    In that case make sure that the top of the run, or whatever you build, is covered.

    Another chicken or two is a good idea. They are social and will keep each other company and help protect each other. Any new chickens that you get should be kept by themselves for the first three weeks, so that they can acclimate and you can be sure they are free from illness and disease, before introducing them to your hen. After three weeks, we like to put our new ones in a pen where they have a little protection through the wire when they first meet the flock, but you don't have to do this. An adult hen or rooster (depending on where you live) would be best but you could get chicks too and just let them grow up a little before you put them all together.

    Feed her a good commercial chicken feed, you can go to your local feed store and select from what they have. You can supplement it with a little cracked corn, throw some scratch in occasionally, and give her healthy table scraps too.

    I think they can learn their names, I've seen them respond to a name. That's a matter of opinion, though, I'm sure. You can give her a bath, or just make sure she has an area to dust in (this is important) and she will clean herself up, eventually.

    Here on BYC you will learn lots about coops, feed, breeds, and anything else you want to know, just search.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014
  3. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Thank you for taking her in - sounds like she has been well socialized, maybe a family pet. Wish they hadn't abandoned her tho.

    She probably had the soft shelled eggs because she was eating rice etc. She should be on layer feed which will have calcium for stronger shells. You can always leave the ground up eggshell in a separate container if she feels she needs more.
  4. Bordelinski

    Bordelinski New Egg

    Mar 3, 2014
    Hammond, Louisiana
    Congrats on the new family member! :D I'll just jump right in with some advice. She sounds like she really needs some TLC. Start off by getting some good laying pellets/crumble. It contains protein and should harden up her egg shells (I'm guessing as I'm no scientist). Best way to keep her from eating her own eggs is to remove them right after she lays them and offer her plenty to eat. I'm guessing she has room for scratching around the yard for bugs...
    As for the coop, I would suggest shutting her inside until she understands that is "home". It will also help to keep night time predators away. And in my opinion, try adding to your flock, as chickens are social creatures. Introducing new chickens or adding chicks - that in itself is another can of worms, and if need be you can search this forum for opinions on that.
    I wouldn't put a pool out there as chickens don't swim, at least mine don't. :) But do make sure she has access to fresh clean water 24/7.
    Cleaning - I keep sand in my chicken run to allow my chickens to "dust" themselves. It's actually kind of fun to watch. They use the sand to get mites/lice(?) off, sort of like bathing.
    Last, I don't name my chickens so not sure if they do learn names. But mine learn when I call "chick, chick, chick" to come running. They follow me about waiting for me to toss them kitchen leftovers.

    I think that should get you started. Good luck to you!
  5. TwoCrows

    TwoCrows Show me the way old friend Staff Member

    Mar 21, 2011
    New Mexico, USA
    My Coop

    Looks like everyone has lead you on a good path to taking care of your new baby. Make sure she is kept in a predator proof coop at night to keep her safe.

    Welcome to BYC and enjoy your newest member to the family!
  6. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Welcome to BYC - a balanced diet should eradicate all issues with your rescue hen.
  7. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC! Good luck with your new girl!
  8. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

  9. CarolinaHen

    CarolinaHen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 19, 2013
    South Carolina
    Congrats on the new addition!! [​IMG]
  10. emajns

    emajns New Egg

    Mar 2, 2014
    Thanks everyone! Things are going smooth so far. Ive taken all advice whole heartedly and cant wait to see her at best health. I know this might sound strange, but can you tell me if you can tell how healthy a chicken is by the look at their poop? LOL. I never thought I would be writing these words. What an adventure. It was strangely cold and rainy today here in FL but she seemed to like it and spent all day outside. She had plenty of options....a huge pole barn, her coop, market table umbrella, but Im happy she did cause she is a little less "filthy." I am totally impressed that the comes when we call her "chick chick." One odd thing is she is always trying to get in the van when we load all the kids in. Luckily she doesnt try or has figured out to follow us out the gated drive. She really likes the organic shelled sunflower seeds I had bought for our salads....lol. She also likes the grainy/seedy whole wheat bread that gets left over, though Im not sure bread is really nutritious for her. Otherwise, she loves organic apples, has now interest in cabbage, has eaten many of my herbs I was growing ( mint hybrids particularly, ug) likes organic yogurt (great fun to watch).

    Im having a great time diggin around the site....lots of interesting stories, by a lot of neat people!

    Thanks again,


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by