Missing Hen - Possibly Broody?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Sunsetlake, Dec 2, 2014.

  1. Sunsetlake

    Sunsetlake Out Of The Brooder

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    I was away on vacation for a week, and had family stopping in to collect eggs and take care of everything. All the chickens were in their fully enclosed coop and run the entire time. When I got back Sunday afternoon, I checked their coop/run and all was fine - no dead chickens or feathers so all looked good. I then opened their run and let them out into their "play area". This area is surrounded by deer netting attached to fence posts. Most of the netting is at least 4-5 ft high, most is higher. We have a light predator load, we do get the occasional raccoon, and I've seen Hawks once in a while. I have plenty of coverage in the play area for the chickens to hide under if there is a hawk. I also have a rooster and he does a good job of protecting. I also have a dog who is great at chasing and scaring predators away too. Anyways, when I let them out into their play area, after probably an hour or so I noticed their was a tear in the netting. It was right where a fence post was at and right in the front, so it looked as though the wind had caught it (while away there was a day where winds were 50-60 mph)! I found a hen who had escaped through the tear, so I tossed her back in and repaired it. When night came I went out to close them in for the night I unfortunalty didn't do a count because I was tired and forgot. Next day all seemed fine and everything was normal, but last night when I did do my count i noticed one hen was missing. I've searched and searched but haven't found anything. No nest, no feathers, nothing. I checked all areas and their has been no predator break-ins. The hen missing is a black australorp. She has always been very talkative and a "diva". Always takes her forever to find a nesting box to lay in and complains the entire time. She is about 8 months old.

    So, what are the odds that she escaped through the tear in the netting, ran to a safe place and now is laying eggs and planning on hatching them? I've looked and looked , but our property has lots of weeds and areas to hide. We have a 40 acre property. Also, she could've went into our barn easily too. It is not very warm outside now, but if she escaped on Sunday, that day was almost 60 degrees. How far would she roam to find her nest? Will I see her in a day or two? Any thoughts?

    Thanks, I'm just trying to hope for the best!
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    I hope that I am wrong, but my gut tells me that she was taken by a predator.
     
  3. StephensonC

    StephensonC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you have any neighbors close by that have chickens? She may have wandered over there and is hanging out with them. I've heard of that happening sometimes. Are you certain she is broody?
     
  4. Sunsetlake

    Sunsetlake Out Of The Brooder

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    No, not certain she is broody. But I was gone for a week so I wouldn't know for sure. For me it's the only explanation that makes sense. A predator doesn't make sense because I've seen nothing. No feathers, no dead chicken or chickens, and no other signs. The rooster hasn't yelled, the dog wasn't barking any differently (she barks and growls if she finds a raccoon or sees any foreign animal) and there also has been no feces from a raccoon. The other time I had a raccoon show up, it left trails behind because we have lots of cats and lots of cat food. So, the coons head to the cat food dishes and eat the easy food and leave their feces behind. No feces anywhere. I have seen a hawk once over their play area and that was only because the rooster yelled his head off and got everyone inside. Scared me half to death since I had never heard him scream like that before. Another time he yelled, but it was just a blue heron. Also, my chickens are big and fat so I don't see how a hawk could carry one away with no trace. At least not the Hawks I've seen in our area. And, you would think the chickens would've been spooked or something if something terrible happened but they act the same as they always do. Egg production is the same and rooster is happy and calm. And, since there are no tears or rips or holes in any of the areas they are in - the coop, the run or their play area - then it doesn't look like any predator has gotten in anywhere. I'm home every day and all day again now and haven't heard or seen anything that leads me to think a predator has been around. Just to be safe I'm leaving them penned up until I find out for sure what happened.

    I will post an ad on Craigslist to see if anyone has found or seen a roaming chicken around the area though. Who knows?
     
  5. Sunsetlake

    Sunsetlake Out Of The Brooder

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    Also the one tear I had found on Sunday was ripped from the top all the way down to about 1/2 ft from the bottom. As in, the very bottom part of the netting wasn't ripped. And the netting is staked down all around the bottom and there are no holes anywhere now. I would doubt a predator would be able to make a tear like that. And that type of tear has happened before when it gets really windy here. Also, I saw the tear and fixed it so it wasn't open long. And I was outside the entire time so if a predator would've shown up in that time frame I should've heard something. So, again no signs of a predator. I'm baffled so far. I have no idea where she could be at this point.
     
  6. Sunsetlake

    Sunsetlake Out Of The Brooder

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    Update: I found my hen and she is dead. No predator, she apparently fell into a kiddie pool I had in their play area and drowned. :hit

    At least it wasn't a predator. But still very sad as she was such an interesting chicken. Needless to say the kiddie pool has been removed. In all my research before I got my chickens, I never realized they could fall into a larger water source and drown. It was a deeper type kiddie pool and was put in the ground so the ducks could get in and out easier. I guess I just assumed if the chickens got too close and fell in they could fly out since they fly so much better than my ducks. Rough learning experience.

    Just figured I would post in case anyone else has a pool or something like this near their chickens.
     
  7. StephensonC

    StephensonC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Believe it or not, I just signed on to ask you if you had found her. I'm so sorry about the accident. It's always hard to lose a pet. I don't have ducks, but I have seen another question floating around about how to keep chickens out of the duck pool. Hope you can find a solution and I'm so sorry about your hen. [​IMG]
     
  8. Sunsetlake

    Sunsetlake Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you

    I just wish I would've known, but I didn't even think about it being a problem. But, I just spent a couple hours filling in the pool. The ducks will have to deal with no pool. They will have their water pan and that's it.

    Thanks again for your help and kind words.
     
  9. StephensonC

    StephensonC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You're welcome. Just a thought, but you could turn it into a dust bathing area for them. Kind of like a beauty parlor.....lol [​IMG]
     
  10. Sunsetlake

    Sunsetlake Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the idea, but I filled in the pool. I actually already have a dust bath area for the chickens in an old tire. They love it!

    It just seems crazy that she died drowning in a pool. After building them a safe coop and run, enclosing everything and trying to make sure no holes or openings are anywhere for predators to get in. Then getting a rooster for protection and having my dog who is a great protector too! Feeding them good food and giving them lots of cracked corn for the cold nights, trying to keep their water from getting too dirty or frozen... Working so hard to give them a good life -

    And she falls into a pool and drowns... Just goes to show you can research and try to do everything you can but things still go wrong and you still miss something once in a while. :confused:
     
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