Missing pullet

OlekLorenc

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jan 31, 2010
12
0
22
Harrington Park, NJ
This afternoon I noticed that one of my 19 16 week old chickens (a pullet named Deathling [translated from the Polish "Zdechlaczek"] because she barely survived hatching) is missing with no apparent trace. They're in a 40x40 ft area with a 4ft chicken wire fence with no netting on the top (yet). At one point today I had left the "door" open and a few ran out but stayed close by and were lured back in with food. I didn't think to count until later. I don't know if she ran away or a predator got her. She's the most curious of all my chickens, always the first to run out when I open the door.

If she ran away, she must have ran away fast because she wasn't anywhere in our almost acre yard and I don't see any footprints or poop anywhere. It's sundown and she hasn't come back to the coop.
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If a predator got her, what kind would leave no trace? I know we have foxes, raccoons, coyotes, and hawks in the area.
 

rancher hicks

Crowing
11 Years
Feb 28, 2009
17,685
900
476
Syracuse, NY
I had a similar situation happen w/ a hen that was quarantined and then I thought she'd just go back in w/ the others but she didn't . I thought I heard her around midnight and then went looking around my yard in my bathrobe but no sign of her. The next morning I was sitting having my coffee in the yard and there she comes just as nice as can be on the other side of the fence in my neighbors yards. I dont' know where she spent the night. So don't give up hope, she may have gotten disoriented and will show up in the morning.
I have some hens who go to roost very early in the evening while others stay out after dark.
 

midget_farms

Songster
12 Years
Apr 15, 2008
1,359
11
194
Dunlap Illinois
They usually return at nightfall. They know the coop/run & don't want to be too far away if it is dark. I wouldn't worry unless she doesn't turn up in a day or so.

Funny thing - chickens cant read street signs so most of them don't know where to go when they get out! They just stay put.

If she is out over night - they usually find a nice safe tree branch or bush to hide in.
 
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OlekLorenc

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jan 31, 2010
12
0
22
Harrington Park, NJ
It's the third day and she hasn't come back... I'm curious what happened to her. If she didn't simply run away and get lost, what kind of predator would take her during the middle of the day and leave no trace? Hawk?
 

ivan3

spurredon
12 Years
Jan 27, 2007
4,511
219
291
BOCOMO
No way she could have gotten under the house, stuck in a garage, etc.? I'd triple check every nook and cranny. If you find absolutely nothing I'd be inclined to guess fox (a Red Tail could carry off a 16wk. old as well, but they do prefer to hit and eat in place - feathers and a bit of blood). They will hunt when and where food is available. The year before last a pair of foxes took all 13 of our neighbor's SLW pullets in a 15min. period and left nothing but a bit of fluff and a single feather. It was sad as this was the first day she'd let them out to range in their yard and had gone in to get some treats. As the air conditioner was running she didn't hear a thing. I discovered the caches (nothing but a few bones and many feathers) just inside our woodline the following day, and found and burnt out the den the day thereafter.

You might reconsider the 4ft. fencing as Red Fox will clear that with ease. Since the fencing is 4ft. chicken wire, foxes might end up being the least of your problems.

Good Luck!
 
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Chefmom

In the Brooder
9 Years
Mar 11, 2010
11
2
21
I have had some missing for days, even weeks and then return suddenly. I am in the woods and have lost hens to bears, hawks and foxes/coyotes. I had a hen get upset at the over-attention of some young roosters. Why they were so consumed with her when there were 40+ other hens I don't know. But she started coming home each evening later and later and finally not at all. I didn't see her with her clique during the day and I thought she was gone. 9 days later I moved the ladies to the new house and two days after that there she was at night time!! I think she didn't come home because of the roosters, but somehow survived ALL those predators at night for more than 10 days and then missed her buddies when I moved them and came back looking for them.

I also had a hen disappear for 6 weeks and then return. I had 1/2 black and 1/2 white flock so I would do a count of each every night, but I came up missing one black hen. I figured something got her, but within a week many other of her black sisters were going broody. None of the white hens went broody, just the black (Australorps). So one night I counted and I had an extra black hen!! I started looking at each hen, and who she was roosting with when I noticed one very large black hen all by herself, and I realized that she was gone and now back!! By this time some other sisters had hatched their babies and this hen was really weird around the peeps. She would go up to the pen the mommas were in and try to talk to the peeps. I thought that she may have gone broody, had a nest and either hatched and lost the peeps or nothing hatched and she gave up. It took weeks for her to return to her normal behavior. The other mommas weren't too happy with her talking to the peeps and there was quite a bit of fighting!!

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