Hi everyone! My name is Shawn and I am the proud owner of three hens. I have raised ducks and geese, but never have I experienced the chicken. I have a story to tell about how I acquired these chickens, so that you can understand my reasoning maybe behind my questions. I work as a rest area attendant. My job is to clean and care for a rest area that is situated in an abnormal place for a rest area. It is smack dab in the middle of a lot of business and directly off of an interstate. It is a very nice rest area, with lots of grass and a row of pine trees that separate it from a Shell gas station and a McDonald's. Last May I noticed a chicken wandering around the rest area. Knowing absolutely nothing about the habits of chickens, I worried a little, but let it go when I left there. Soon I noticed that this chicken was not going anywhere. She was roosting in the pine trees at night. Well, as time went on, I began worrying more and more about her and her safety with the high traffic and the dogs and little to nothing to eat and only puddles in the pavement to drink out of. Antifreeze was a big worry. I got her a bowl and bought a bag of cracked corn and started making sure she had fresh water and regular food each day when I came to work. I drove to nearby places that I knew had chickens and could not find anyone to claim her. I would drive up and she would come running to me, knowing I would have something for her to eat. When I saw her begging from food from a car it broke my heart. I knew I had to find a way to save her. Unfortunately I knew nothing about chickens and especially not banties. Oh my, what a stubborn little thing she is! At first I just tried to net her outright. Of course that never happened. Then I was told that I had to catch her at night after she settled in where she roosted. Not. Too many streetlights. She just flew up in the tree further. I had friends come with me and try to catch her. It just seemed like I was never going to be able to rescue this little girl. Months went by. She lived through last summer, in the sweltering heat, once temperatures reaching up to 114 degrees. Every day I didn't see her, I worried. Then I started wishing that I wouldn't see her so I didn't have to worry. But then there she'd be again. People would chase her and throw rocks at her and she would just keep coming back. I was so sad. I would talk to her and tell her to let me catch her so she would be safe. Still she ran. Well, then came winter. Very cold wind and snow and ice. She was getting thin, with lack of visitors at the rest area and little food. Winter came and went and soon it was spring. There was a small building in between the rest area and McDonalds which used to be a frozen yogurt stand. It had a hollow bench on the back side and one board was pulled loose. She began going inside of this bench, but I didn't know it. Time went by and I didn't see her for several days. I searched and searched and couldn't find her. I was cleaning the fence line of trash one day and just happened to look under the bench and there she was. I had named her China, as my boss told me that his father used to be a meter reader and told him that the Chinese restaurant across the street kept their chickens in cages in the kitchen. As a joke I named her China as if she had escaped from there. Anyway, I called out to her and she didn't move. I pulled the other outer board of and reached under and she pecked my hand. I was glad she was ok. Worst thoughts, you know. Well, come to find out, she was sitting on ten eggs and wouldn't come out even to eat. So this was my chance. I had a co-worker come and I blocked one end and he reached in and pulled her out and stuck her in a carrier! I was the happiest person on earth at that moment! Although she was extremely ****** off and stressed, I knew then that she would be safe. I pulled her eggs out, but they were so rotten that I had to pitch them right away. I had already built a makeshift coop trying to be prepared. I put her in and she was safe and I slept well. But.....she was lonely. Her and my ma's old horse chatted a bit, but it wasn't the same. As luck? would have it, a friend of mine found two hens. I brought them home in a pillowcase and put them in with China. She immediately assaulted them. I'm not sure what type of chickens these are, one is dark brown with a hawk-like beak, and the other is blue and black. Their names are Badger Belle and Lucille. Well, after the pecking order was established, things have settled down. Belle and Lucille are sweet as candy and follow me around like puppy dogs. China does as she pleases and is a trouble maker. She gets in to things, tears stuff up and then throws her little skinny chicken leg out to the side as if to say, "I'll do what I want." She stays out late, sometimes doesn't come in at all. I built them a new coop with nesting boxes and roosts, and had to carry Lucille and Belle and physically put them in it last night. China slept under my trailer three nights ago, in the garage two nights ago, and I do not know last night where she bedded down. Finally tonight they all went in at 8:00 and I shut the door on her before she could escape and wander. Whew! I have a ton of questions and probably more to come. I'm glad to have found this site or I would have no idea what to do about my crazy little chickens!