Is my roommates chicken going to die!?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by johnconner, Jan 4, 2013.

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  1. johnconner

    johnconner New Egg

    Jan 4, 2013
    Long story short my roommate "rescued" a chicken late this summer, neither my roommate or I have ever cared for a chicken, or know anything about chickens other than they are wonderful baked with butter and rosemary. The problems abounded from day one, the landlord is furious (roommate didn't feel the need to mention her new pet until after neighbors started complaining) as are the neighbors ( well the ones who haven't made bets on how long the poor thing will live) did I mention we live in an apartment with a small shared yard. So the other tenants began confronting my roommate about the chicken who is running around the yard (no coop, no shelter from rain/elements) turns out my roommate is impossible to reason with, so neighbors and landlord begin to talk to me, threatening to take our security deposit, begin eviction process, ect. My roommate failed to even attempt to make living arrangements for the hen (ie. build or buy a coop) and was furious when I told her that the hen could not live in a cardboard box. Since I am an animal lover it was eating away at me having this animal suffering in my yard for 2 months with no enclosure, so me and my boyfriend decide to build the animal a make shift coop and pen in a last ditch effort to appease the neighbors and landlord. one can only put up with so many calls starting with "what's being done about the chicken?" Before you break down and spend 16 hours in the hot sun doing manual labor for a pet that's not yours. Anyways I don't know the first thing about coops, so we essentially turned a cabinet into the coop, adding a vent for air, and a bar for her to sit on at night. And got chicken wire for a pen.

    Landlord and neighbors end their grumbling, no word on eviction, I'm not holding out hope for ever seeing my security deposit again though

    We have tried to convince my roommate to find a new home for the chicken, we are met with hostility and anger, and can't get a word in when we bring up the subject. My roommate is convinced that the chicken who she has been feeding cooked white rice and apples is an organic free range hen and is producing eggs that are far superior than anyone could ever purchase at the grocery store.

    I was under the impression organic chickens need an organic diet, and free range chickens need to get their diet completely from scavenged bugs, grasses, and seeds they find on their own... I may be wrong though as I honestly don't know much about chickens.

    Anyways, so since we live in colorado I was worried about the cold temperatures, it is not uncommon for temperatures to drop well below 0 degrees F on a nightly basis. The chicken is living in what is essentially a bookshelf with a door (no insulation, and drafty) I convinced the roommate to dull out the cash for a heat lamp (met with much complaining on how expensive the chicken is, but it is apparently too dear to her to part with). Temps have been the lowest thus far this week (roommates out of town, guess who is stuck watching the chicken?) the chicken screams at night (I know because its coop is right outside my bedroom window) I'm guessing this is for the cold, but would appreciate some insight.

    And now for the kicker, the chicken was bald on its back when my roommate first got it in late summer. It's feathers regrew in the fall, but over the last few days she has been pulling them out again, this time it's the feathers around her wings. She screams at night BAAAAAAAWWWWWWW WWWWWWK BRRRRAAAAAAAAAWK. And she is currently eating a diet that is 99% white rice, plus whatever table scraps I throw in for her ( vegi tops, fruit peels and stuff) the white rice is not my idea, my roommate insisted that it was "chicken food"

    My question is, can this solitary chicken who lives in a bookshelf on a sheet of ice and eats a diet of white rice possibly survive?

    Are the loss/plucking of feathers a sign of disease? Lice or dietary problems? I know the coop has not been cleaned out once since it was built. And she has only laid one tiny egg since October. She is a few years old I believe.

    And does anyone know if the same animal abuse laws that apply to pets like cats and dogs also apply to chickens? I've heard from various people that because they are livestock they don't have the same rules.

    Also if there are any chicken lovers in the northern colorado area who would not be opposed to rescuing a needy chicken in the dead of night while my roommate sleeps I would love to get in touch with you.

    Any advice at all on this situation would be greatly appreciated, I don't think my heart can take watching this animal slowly die. Since it is not my animal i can't legally surrender it to the animal shelter. I'm getting weary of taking care of a pet that's not mine, but I don't have the heart to kill and eat it.
  2. 15shenyl

    15shenyl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 14, 2012
    Yakima Washington
    First, you need to go out and buy chicken food, the food has vital things in it that a chicken needs, very important for a older hen. She could have lice or some type of mite, you might want to try to give her a bath, there's great threads all around BYC. She also should have a better coop, you don't want her to freeze to death. I shut my hens in, with two heat lamps and they puff up and cuddle together. You also need to clean the coop, she could get sick if the environment isn't clean enough. And yes, animal abuse laws apply to all live stock too, even chickens, fish, reptiles, any type of animal is applied to the laws. You need to tell your roommate to take very good care of that chicken, if this keeps going on, it could possibly die and you don't want one of your neighbors to make a complaint to the authorities, that could lead to big trouble.
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