Neighbor is neglecting her hens

farmert

Chirping
7 Years
Mar 28, 2014
37
19
97
Neighbor (unfriendly and a bit off) now has four grown hens. Bought to show her grandchildren whenever they come to visit, which is not very often.
A friend built a mobile chicken cart that is 4'x 8' with small roost up top. This cart is next to the road and I see it when I walk every day. To get the photos, I walked to the edge of the property because I don't want to trespass unless necessary.

They have been gone for a solid week and no one is taking care of the hens. The cart has not been moved at all. This past week, we have had two major storms with three inches of rain and strong winds. The hens have eaten all the grass in that small space (brown area); there is no food and they are standing in their own poop. Also, in my opinion, the space is far too small for four grown chickens. I have seen them pecking each other. My tenant told me the design of that cart required that it be moved every day for new grass. This is a semi-rural area of the county, and no one else out here seems to care.

I am 70 years old and live alone and do not want her to retaliate, and she would in some way. (I have animals including chickens). Our houses are very close to each other unfortunately.

I am at a loss about what to do because I am getting angry at her neglect.
Perhaps I an overreacting and would like to know if the cart is large enough and if they are ok the way they are now. And if so, for how long?
Would have posted sooner, but I keep thinking she'll come home.
 

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azygous

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Dec 11, 2009
29,051
47,988
1,232
Colorado Rockies
Can you see a feeder and waterer? Perhaps someone is coming by when you aren't watching and has filled the feeder and waterer. Be certain of these two essentials before proceeding.

If there is no sign of food and water, then there is probable cause to get animal control involved. If you stress to them not to reveal you as the reporting party, they will keep it confidential. They will determine at that point if the chickens have been criminally neglected and will take appropriate action.

This happens, unfortunately, all over the country all of the time. There are often chickens in animal shelters that have been rescued from neglect or abandonment waiting for people to adopt them. I, myself, adopted such a hen from an animal shelter some years back.
 

Sooner Magnolia

Crowing
8 Years
Jun 13, 2014
832
3,670
406
Central Oklahoma
Do you have a cell phone number for the neighbor? I would probably offer to feed the chickens and/or move the tractor if you are physically able to do so and think she would respond well.

Otherwise, maybe just make an anonymous call to the local sheriff.

I can see water, so you have a little wiggle room there. They can go a little longer without food.
 

CluckerFamily

Enabler
5 Years
Feb 14, 2016
10,370
61,128
1,131
Wisconsin
I can see water in the one waterer but I can't make out if there is food in the blue feeder.
Chickens need about 3-4 square feed of housing per bird. If the part with the roost is 4' by 4', that will fit 4 chickens perfectly.
Chickens will peck each other because they have a pecking order. One chicken is the top chicken and in charge while the others are ranked below her. They peck to keep this pecking order or if a lower one tries to be the top chicken.
I'm glad they chose a shady area for them.
 

U_Stormcrow

Crossing the Road
Jun 7, 2020
8,184
28,623
776
North FL Panhandle Region / Wiregrass
Seconding @azygous (and props to you for not trespassing!).

Check for feeder/waterer. Its hard to believe someone would invest int he expense of that woefully undersized coop, and then not feed the birds - but stranger things...

If its food and water free, then the conditions aren't suitable for any living thing, and animal control should be notified. As they are visible from the street, plausibly, anyone **could** have reported it. That's the truth you should stick with.

if they are being provided food and water, then opinions as to the rest of the level of care are just that - opinions. Continue to respect their property and stay out of it. Or, if feeling particularly neighborly, and the chance to insert it in conversation comes up, offer to help move the chicken tractor.
 

farmert

Chirping
7 Years
Mar 28, 2014
37
19
97
The feeder is filled with water from the storms so there is a lot of water in both feeders. Dirty, though.

The cart is too heavy for me to move, but I could ask my tenant if he would move it when he gets home -- if he is inclined to do so.

Good point about being next to the road and anonymously calling AC. This woman is too volatile to approach and/or contact so I would rather stay away from her. Been there, done that.

Thanks.
 

AOrchard

Songster
May 27, 2020
267
517
166
Wisconsin
Water in that kind of feeder can cause the food to clump and not come out. The owner could have filled the food up before going, not realizing it'd rain so bad and the hens wouldn't be able to get at the food anymore. Maybe the owner was more negligent and didn't leave any food, but something to consider.

An anonymous calls seems the best path forward if the neighbor has a history of being volatile.
 

azygous

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Dec 11, 2009
29,051
47,988
1,232
Colorado Rockies
You might get away with reporting a murder in progress anonymously, but all reports will require the name of reporting party or they won't take it seriously and respond.

I caution against moving the tractor as that may set you up for a vandalism charge if the owner is of the wicked mind. To be charged with trespassing, you need to have been asked to leave the property and refused.

If the feed is wet, then it's developing toxic mold, a good reason to report. Then again, animal control in your area may not be as concerned about rescuing neglected chickens as a neglected dog or horse. But it's worth a try.
 

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