Over the fence chicken custodian

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by georgechicken, Mar 9, 2017.

  1. georgechicken

    georgechicken Just Hatched

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    I've been watching over my neighbors hens from over the back fence for months. Much to neighbor's dismay! But the chickens are doing better now that they have a coop and real food. One morning A few months ago pre-coop I looked over the fence to see that one of the poor girls had ripped off a center toe. Likely from being kept in a little cage with 2 others at night before the coop was built. Of course I told them immediately because they had not noticed when they let them out of their little tiny cage. I assume they hadn't noticed anyway. So they wrapped it up. The stump has healed but now she sits a lot and is very unsteady when she walks. She doesn't seem to like to walk very much, naturally. I imagine a little prosthetic for her that can strap onto her leg. But I suppose nothing like this exists. And given how hard it was for me to encourage them to get them into a coop and feed them something other than wild bird feed, I imagine they wouldn't bother with her prosthetic anyways. Now they've dumped sharp crushed rock over their entire foraging area of the type you use to fill in landfills. They had been getting flooded so the rock is good for that and they cleaned up all the trash and crap that the chickens were packing around in, so that's good, but bad in another. Niw it's tough to walk on for even the chickens with all their toes and of course there's no foraging possible. Am I worrying for nothing about the missing toe and the inability to forage?
     
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Greetings from Kansas, georgechicken, and [​IMG]! Pleased you joined our flock! If the chicken lost the toe a year ago and is still doing okay, she will be fine - chickens sometimes lose a part of a digit or even a whole toe. It is sad that they aren't feeding them correctly. Hope does the the general condition of the birds look? Bright red combs or dull pink? Glossy sheen or flat color of the feathers. Have you spoken to them about proper feeding? Doesn't sound like they'd be too receptive. Thanks for you concern for the welfare of those birds. If it's gets too bad or you feel they are neglected, there's always animal control.
     
  3. georgechicken

    georgechicken Just Hatched

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    Hi, thanks for the welcome! After my initial interactions with the neighbors,(I inquired about them after two have been eaten by a raccoon at night, which was my introduction to both my neighbors and the chickens. I had no idea they had chickens until, that fateful night with the raccoon, I finally looked over the fence at dawn to determine the source of the terrible animal sounds and discovered the poor things huddled outside.) When I went over to talk to them they said the birds were their sons 4H project, that he didn't live with them and they didn't have time for the chickens but didn't want to give them up. I offered they surrender their chickens to me, or a rescue place I knew. They didn't want to give them up- not sure why. I started jumping the fence to let the 3 chickens out of a tiny little cage that sat on the ground (which they kept covered with a tarp most days) and checking that they had water and food which they usually did not. I would call them to ask them to let them out of the cage and check their water and food. And I looked up online and printed out information about chickens, how to feed them, how to build a coop, things like that, and left them on their door, but after a few times of this they stopped wanting to hear from me. So I called animal control. I called them once because of the cages they were trapped in and under a tarp all day. And then another time when the bird's toe was ripped off. Animal control doesn't really care much about chickens around here. They don't answer their phone anymore. Now I leave letters with instructions on how and what to feed the chickens and other bits of information they don't seem to have a clue about with jars of jelly and good chicken feed so that they'll least read the notes. One note I praised them for the great coop. But they likely weren't happy when I mentioned I saw the three chickens in the coop, two in the nesting boxes on one side and the third hen sitting next to them on the wire instead of across the coop in her own comfy nesting box. I told them what I saw, as they no doubt would not know because they don't seem to spend any time with them, and suggested they make the nesting boxes one long box so that they could all be together. Seemed sad. There's only three chickens and they've been huddling together through thick and thin for months. The coop's 2 sides have nesting boxes on each side, each side has a long box separated by a piece of wood allowing for space for two birds, one in each box. No room for a third as the spaces are too small with the wood separator. I suggested they remove the little partition separating the two boxes so the three can be together like they were before maybe feeling safer and warmer. Of course I got no reply, and the little nesting boxes have stayed the same. The chickens are all a bit fat. The man I usually speak to seems to think fat chickens are happy chickens. One day he said, "Look at them! Look how fat they are! The chickens are OK you don't have to worry about them. Please stop calling us!." Lol! It upsets me but I do have to chuckle at the ridiculousness of the whole thing. So the chickens were getting fed wild bird seed although it looks like they've upgraded them to regular feed now since I left them a note on feeding. When the flooding was taking place the poor things were left in the coop for weeks. And they would not let them out when we had a couple of days or even a week of sun in between rain spells. They finally let them out after I left them another note and a jar of jelly asking them if they would let the chickens out. Now I need to leave another note offering for them to put the chickens in my yard so they can forage. Yesterday I saw that they had put down a flattened cardboard box on the crushed rocks a ways away from the coop, where they set a bowl of water and a bowl of feed. The three of them stayeon that little square of cardboard, which is of course covered in poop and feed. I thought I would give them some time to see what they're going to do with their backyard before I contact them again. But it's been a week, and I highly doubt they're going to cover the crushed rock with nice soil and introduce worms and bugs. Sigh.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
  4. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Thanks for typing the long message above. I have serious thoughts about what I think of the people who own those poor chickens. But I am afraid if I don't wait and cool off before typing, I'd get banned from BYC for excessive profanity!! [​IMG] Some people simply should not be allowed to have animals. Chickens have a purpose, yes, but they should also have some degree of quality of life...but with these owners. [​IMG] Thanks for trying as hard as you did.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2017
    1 person likes this.
  5. BlueBaby

    BlueBaby Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hello, and welcome to BYC!
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

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    Kudos to you @georgechicken for taking the time to try and improve the girls' lives.

    If it was me and I know that it is wrong, they would mysteriously disappear one night but then they would probably just go out and get more poor hens to torment! [​IMG]
     
  7. N F C

    N F C dem crazy bones Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    I hope your neighbors decide to let you have the chickens so they can be properly taken care of...maybe if you keep leaving them notes, they'll surrender them to you.

    Good luck!
     
  8. AuntJamie

    AuntJamie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would be surprised if they were producing eggs in those horrible conditions. But then if the chickens are so hard to take care of, why are they hanging on to them? Now that they put up a coop they may never let them go. :( What horrid, selfish people. You're a saint. I'd behave exactly the same. Somebody's gotta advocate for those poor hens.
     
  9. georgechicken

    georgechicken Just Hatched

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    I guess I was venting a bit. I'm going to ask them if they're planning to fill in the yard now with dirt over the rock. And if they're not, again offer to take them.
     
  10. georgechicken

    georgechicken Just Hatched

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    Hi! Well, their combs seem pretty red. But one has a shorter paler comb and it looks a bit dry at the points. They're pretty dirty, but not sure about the shine of the feathers. I'll check that out today. They also seem pretty big, maybe fat. But since I can't hold them and pet them I don't know if it's feathers or body.
     

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