I just have to rant somewhere because no one around me seems to understand. I just rescued 2 Khaki Campbell female ducks and a gorgeous 9mo. old Speckled Sussex rooster from my Aunt's neighbor who's coop burned down. I've had them since Monday night. I was keeping them in the garage until I could really check them over. The teenage girl who had them took them to poultry shows, so I figured they were pretty healthy. She kept them at another neighbor's house who also had chickens until I came to take them. I believe while they were there, the rooster got severely infested with lice. I mean...I've never seen it so bad. I almost didn't bother to check because he looked so healthy and shiny. But once I took one swipe of the feathers down in-between his legs, it was like his skin was moving! There had to be at least 20-25 lice per sq. inch! Well, I filled a reusable shopping bag with DE and poultry dust and shook him like shake-n-bake...with his head sticking out. I haven't been able to find a louse since. Anyways. So the ducks are already with the flock because they checked out fine. But the rooster I was keeping in the garage until I can dust one more time in about a week. I felt bad having him be in the small fence in the garage while I was home on my days off, so I took him out back (opposite side of the house where the coop is so he wouldn't join the flock and possibly infect them all) so he could play. I did the same thing today. I found him digging in the barren rose garden just before I left for town for a couple hours. I got home about an hour before dark, and he was no where to be found. A lot of the snow melted last night in a weird rain we had, so I couldn't track him by his prints. He wasn't in his new favorite spot under the porch stairs, either...or under the stored boat on the side of the house. I looked around for him until almost dark, then gave up, figuring if he is even alive out there, that he wouldn't leave his roost to come to me. It is really cold and windy out tonight. Supposed to get down to 15 degrees or something tonight. I just hope he wandered a bit and decided to roost for the night somewhere that I'm just not looking. He really is the sweetest CHICKEN, not just rooster, I've ever met. I can tell that girl spent a lot of time with him. I really pray an animal didn't carry him off. And I hope he doesn't freeze out there if he is out there alone. I feel like a really terrible chicken mom. I should have put him in the garage before I went to town. This may be silly, but I will say a prayer for him before bed, which is where I'm going once this is posted. What has everyone else done when their chicken disappeared? I love on 16 acres of dense red pine/swail/forest/lake. There are so many places to look, and being Speckled, he would just blend in anyways. I've only had him 4 days and I'm heartbroken. It just aches to know he may be out there alone, scared and freezing.