Refugee Chickens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Pelzergirl, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. Pelzergirl

    Pelzergirl In the Brooder

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    I live in a very rural area. We've lived here 15 years and seen all manner of stray and wild animals come through. Goats, cows, pigs, chickens, deer, fox.. you name it. They move on and usually don't come back. We are very strict about food waste etc so not to encourage..

    About 2 weeks ago some chickens came by... they won't leave. I asked the neighbors and they say chickens will move on when they are ready... There is 1 neighbor that has chickens close by.. but claims ignorance about these chickens.

    They are very pretty... and seem friendly (we have offered no food!). They won't leave. There is a tree by the driveway that they are sleeping in... during the day they circle the house scratching in the grass and hiding under the porch.

    We've had bad weather and they still won't leave.. I think they must not have a home to go back to?

    Questions:

    Are these chickens abandoned, or are they lost? I worry they have a home, but can't find it?

    Is it possible for them to survive in a tree through the winter? (we get lots of rain and some ice, lows in the 20's some nights)

    Husband and I (mostly me) are concerned about them and the worry is getting stressful. Should we build them a house by the tree they like?

    What is the etiquette for stray chickens?

    My heart is breaking for them, am I being silly?

    It's 4 males and 3 females, here's a pic of them on the porch rail.. I usually shoo them away because I dont want poop on the ramp,, but feeling sad for them..
     

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  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Welcome to BYC!
    I'm guessing someone dumped them...unless they escaped from the 'not talkin' neighbor's place.

    Where are you located?
    Do you want chickens?
    If not, call local animal control for advise.
     
  3. Ducksandchickens

    Ducksandchickens Free Ranging

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    Someone probably dumped them poor things!
    Do you want chickens? If so then I would try adopting them. Will they Let you pick them up?
     
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  4. Pelzergirl

    Pelzergirl In the Brooder

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    I'm in upstate South Carolina.

    I don't know if I want chickens... but I do know I don't want these chickens to suffer. Not really interested in eggs. They are very pretty and seem to have interesting personalities. I'm afraid I'm imprinting myself!

    Can animal control help me?? Someone told me they don't do chickens because they are hard to catch.. Would animal control kill them?

    Our dog groomer (little in house pug) has lots of animals, chickens, even ducks! When I asked her she said her chickens don't even sleep in the chicken houses, they prefer trees and they are hardy, I shouldn't worry about the cold/wind/rain/ice..

    I have no experience with chickens. I have, in the past, gotten sucked into wounded birds, fostering pups and kittens, and generally feeling sorry for lost beasties. We have 3 acres so creatures come through often..

    Most folks give me the advice to wait it out, the cold/predators will resolve this problem.. but I do not have the nerves for it..

    It got really cold last night.. I watched them tree by the driveway.. Husband firmly put his foot down, they can't come in the house (not that I would.. but does his motorcycle need all the shed??)

    at 4 am this morning went out and clicked on the big light, the roosters started in and I could hear the females and burst into tears so relieved they made it through the night! I can't just wait around for them to die!!
     
  5. Pelzergirl

    Pelzergirl In the Brooder

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    I don't think I would be the person for that... I would worry that I might hurt them.. and likely would scream instantly. Husband was raised with chickens.. said he could catch them if I let him use a "stick hook".. sounds terrible..

    Then seem very tame.. I can stand right next to them, or walk by them and they don't really react.. it's takes alot of work to shoo them away from the porch rail.
     
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  6. Ducksandchickens

    Ducksandchickens Free Ranging

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    Try calling your local humane society or somewhere else that will try and get those chickens
     
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  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Call and ask...
    ...they may not help but may be able to steer you to the right place.

    What a dilemma...it's a darn shame someone dumped their problem onto you. SMH.
    If you don't want eggs...or pets...I'd get rid of them somehow.
    Building a coop and run to keep them safe is not an easy endeavor...it's a commitment you might not want to undertake.
    All those males will not likely live in harmony for long, even if you keep these birds you'd likely need to get rid of all but one of the males.

    Short term, get some crates to keep them in until you decide what to do long term.
     
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  8. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician

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    Welcome to BYC. It looks like 4 pullets and 3 cockerels to me - six of the birds appear to be game fowl of some sort. Not sure about the spangled pullet. @aart is right in that the cockerels (especially if game) may start fighting eventually. When sleeping in the tree they are vulnerable to attack from Great Horned Owls. I'd suggest either providing a coop/pen or contacting animal control or a rescue group. Good luck in coming to a resolution.
     
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  9. Pelzergirl

    Pelzergirl In the Brooder

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    I've sent emails to the 3 local animal rescues. I've asked is there a chicken rescue.. or what else could I do.. I don't want someone to just come kill them... I'm so sad for them!

    They just wander around all the time.. they go to the neighbor's yard mid morning, then come back about lunch time and hide under the porch ramp... I would close that in temporary if I thought they would stay under there at night, but they just keep going back to the tree..

    I considered tacking a tarp around the other trees to provide a wind block.. I truly don't know what to do to help them..

    I looked at their feet and there is no little ring, like an owner tag.. I'm assuming people don't chip chickens? Husband says these were probably food chickens that snuck away from their home... like stupid teenagers?

    While I wait for help from the authorities.. how can I ease their situation? DIY style..
     
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  10. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

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    Most folks (especially with a typical backyard flock) don't mark chickens in any way, so no surprise to not see a "ring" on the leg. I've never heard of anyone microchipping them either.

    Unlikely that these guys were intended for dinner, they're not the breeds that most people would raise as food. My guess is either they're "escapees" from the one neighbor or that someone from outside the neighborhood got tired of them and dumped them (so many stories about people finding birds dumped!)

    Since you don't want to keep them, they're honestly probably ok as they are. The temperatures aren't a problem for them, they can survive colder. But there's no way to protect them from predators without locking them up or having a guard dog/human.
     
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