Oops! Two hens spent the night outside!


11 Years
May 19, 2009
Simpsonville, South Carolina
Looked out the window early---just before sunrise, and there were some hens in the garden. The others were still in the coop. I must have closed it up too early last night, although it was 7:20 pm, quite dark, and I didn't see any hens outside. They were both fine, thank goodness. One of them was Victoria, my alpha hen and favorite. I have no idea where they spent the night.

To top it all off, yesterday I saw a huge hawk leaving the garden where all my hens were. Ran out there to find barred rock feathers all over, but all hens OK, including both barred rocks.

He must have scared them so that they ran into the fence or something, losing their feathers (I hadn't heard a thing). As he flew up to the top of the fence, my dog (who had come out with me) spotted him and barked and ran at him. He didn't look big enough to carry off a full grown chicken. He took off then, but I was nervous the rest of the day. And then to think after that I locked two hens out of the coop all night.

I have a pullet that has decided she would rather roost in a tree than go back in her coop at night with the others. Maybe yours has decided to do the same thing. Unfortunately it's my black copper maran pullet and totally unacceptable. So each nite before it's totally dark we have to go hunt her down and drag her out of a tree, lol. Luckily she doesn't go very high.
I don't know what was going on, as Victoria is usually the first to go in. I will have to take a flashlight and count heads from now on. I am indeed lucky---I've never lost one to a predator yet (knocks on head), but my own dog got one, and one died of unknown causes.

I was going to keep them in all day today, but decided to let them out as usual and leave the dog out in the back yard (she can't get to the chickens) to watch for the hawk.

Hoping the construction guys show up today---they were a no show yesterday. Fortunately I haven't paid them (much) yet.
Glad your chickens were OK

Last week I was closing up the run at dark, assuming all the birds were in the coop. I went in to check for eggs and their water supply. As I was leaving the coop, two hens came running as fast as they could around the garden toward the run. I turned off the wire, opened the run and let them in. They were pretty freaked out

Now I count them before I leave the coop
Of course...now it must be going around because this almost happened to me again. I had to go out with a flashlight and lift off 13 chickens from their roosts and not get flapped to death. I did manage to get them all in tonight.
Over the last three or four years, had that happen twice. Thank goodness, it was fine both times, but it's scary. We always do a head count when they freerange, but we had done some work on the front of the coop and apparently my only bantam hen found a small enough opening to squeeze through under the front of the coop where it's near the ground, and we never saw her running around between lockup time and bedtime. They were penned all day long that day so we really didn't do a headcount that night. In the laying flock, we have 30 girls and Dutch; it's harder to be sure everyone is there when numbers increase.

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