Lost a chicken in 4 minute window

Cwp318

In the Brooder
Sep 18, 2020
9
32
13
Hi all, first time poster here and fairly new to chickens. We have (or possibly had) a silkie chicken that has gone missing tonight. They typically free range and my husband and I went on a walk around our property around sunset knowing the birds typically go in on their own and we’d be back in about 10 minutes to shut the door. We walked out the front and circled around the trails to the back. When we got back to the back yard she was missing. Fortunately we have cameras and were able to narrow down the window to only about 4 minutes. We see her walk down a trail, move back and forth for a bit, and a few minutes later we walk up that same trail coming back to the house. She never shows up on camera again, there is no visible movement in the brush on camera, and no birds seen swooping in. She’s in an area where we have tons of golden rods and general waist to chest-high brush. It’s dark now and we’ve been looking for about two hours with no luck. What could have taken her with us so near by, not setting off our dogs (on the walk with us), or causing her to make any noise? We also didn’t see any sign of feathers and we were close enough we should’ve been able to hear any movement or noise from her, all the other birds including the rooster were in the coop for the night. We will of course search first thing in the morning, is there a chance she’ll still be out there? Could she just be hiding and if so will she likely make it over night? There’s loud music from a nearby outdoor venue and we’ve heard several fireworks in the area tonight so it’s possible she’s scared from surrounding noise. Thanks for any help!
 

WindingRoad

Songster
Nov 21, 2018
1,247
2,296
233
Maine
Hi all, first time poster here and fairly new to chickens. We have (or possibly had) a silkie chicken that has gone missing tonight. They typically free range and my husband and I went on a walk around our property around sunset knowing the birds typically go in on their own and we’d be back in about 10 minutes to shut the door. We walked out the front and circled around the trails to the back. When we got back to the back yard she was missing. Fortunately we have cameras and were able to narrow down the window to only about 4 minutes. We see her walk down a trail, move back and forth for a bit, and a few minutes later we walk up that same trail coming back to the house. She never shows up on camera again, there is no visible movement in the brush on camera, and no birds seen swooping in. She’s in an area where we have tons of golden rods and general waist to chest-high brush. It’s dark now and we’ve been looking for about two hours with no luck. What could have taken her with us so near by, not setting off our dogs (on the walk with us), or causing her to make any noise? We also didn’t see any sign of feathers and we were close enough we should’ve been able to hear any movement or noise from her, all the other birds including the rooster were in the coop for the night. We will of course search first thing in the morning, is there a chance she’ll still be out there? Could she just be hiding and if so will she likely make it over night? There’s loud music from a nearby outdoor venue and we’ve heard several fireworks in the area tonight so it’s possible she’s scared from surrounding noise. Thanks for any help!
Where do you live? Just the state is fine. You can add it to your profile. I ask because one issue might be a cold night. Hopefully she has hunkered down and will be waiting by the run or coop... BTW did you check around the coop and run. I let my birds out off the run infrequently and they will walk around coop and run looking for a place to unescape.. LOL Trying to get back in. Good luck
 

Cwp318

In the Brooder
Sep 18, 2020
9
32
13
Where do you live? Just the state is fine. You can add it to your profile. I ask because one issue might be a cold night. Hopefully she has hunkered down and will be waiting by the run or coop... BTW did you check around the coop and run. I let my birds out off the run infrequently and they will walk around coop and run looking for a place to unescape.. LOL Trying to get back in. Good luck
We live in Ohio, it’s supposed to get down to around 40 tonight I think. We did look around the coop earlier but maybe I’ll head back out before bed and check for her again. The trail is probably at least 100ft from the coop so after not having seen her ever show back up on the cameras I assumed she hadn’t gone far enough to get back over there. There’s brush all in between though so she could definitely get back without coming into the actual manicured lawn/camera view. Thanks for your suggestion!
 

NatJ

Crowing
Mar 20, 2017
3,620
5,736
366
USA
We will of course search first thing in the morning, is there a chance she’ll still be out there? Could she just be hiding and if so will she likely make it over night? There’s loud music from a nearby outdoor venue and we’ve heard several fireworks in the area tonight so it’s possible she’s scared from surrounding noise.
Yes, there is a chance she's still out there, and may come back on her own (at bedtime or for breakfast or any time she gets lonely.)

Yes, the noise could have scared her. She might still come back.

I notice you've already tried listening for her, but of course the noise makes that harder.


How old is she?

Little chicks get lost more easily, and get scared more easily (because everything is still new to them.)

Partly-grown chickens (like teenagers) are more likely to sleep outside just because they want to try it.

Adult hens are more likely to make a secret nest and then decide to stay there and hatch the eggs.

(And of course all of them could get eaten by predators, but I don't know enough about predators to guess what kind would take a chicken so quickly and quietly.)
 

WVduckchick

🐓🦆 For the Birds! 🦆🐓
Premium Feather Member
Feb 9, 2015
48,094
124,185
1,682
West Virginia
My Coop
Silkies have never been known as the smartest chickens in the coop. :lol:

But chances are decent that she is hunkered down somewhere safe. Hopefully predator pressure is low, and she will pop back out tomorrow.
I could probably lure most of mine out with a shake of my scratch can. They know treat time! If you do anything like that, maybe try it tonight.
 

BigBlueHen53

Peace, fear not.
Premium Feather Member
Mar 5, 2019
8,212
28,390
817
SE Missouri, USA
Hi and welcome to BYC! From your description of the high brush in the area, the 4-minute "window of opportunity," the lack of visible movement on camera, lack of feathers or sign of violence and the fact that the dogs didn't alert, my guess is ... this is the "Case of the Speckled Band"!" Er, that is to say, I think odds are good that a snake got your hen. But please do let us know if she does show back up. One can always hope!
 

Cwp318

In the Brooder
Sep 18, 2020
9
32
13
Yes, there is a chance she's still out there, and may come back on her own (at bedtime or for breakfast or any time she gets lonely.)

Yes, the noise could have scared her. She might still come back.

I notice you've already tried listening for her, but of course the noise makes that harder.


How old is she?

Little chicks get lost more easily, and get scared more easily (because everything is still new to them.)

Partly-grown chickens (like teenagers) are more likely to sleep outside just because they want to try it.

Adult hens are more likely to make a secret nest and then decide to stay there and hatch the eggs.

(And of course all of them could get eaten by predators, but I don't know enough about predators to guess what kind would take a chicken so quickly and quietly.)
[/QUOTE

She is 6 months old. She’s always the last one in at night and she’s attempted to stay out before but we always find her and bring her back. The hen right above her in the pecking order patrols the run door and makes a point to be the last one in before the Silkie. I hope that’s a good sign that she’s just hunkered down!
 

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