Runaway Chicken Living in our Yard

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by SamanthaNH, Aug 9, 2014.

  1. SamanthaNH

    SamanthaNH New Egg

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    Just joined BYC to learn about chickens and seeking help for this poor chicken. We don't have any of our own chickens, not yet anyway. But we've had a neighbors runaway chicken peeking around our yard this week and we learned from the neighbor today her flock was attacked by a predator. This poor chick is very scared and runs into the woods anytime we try to get close to her. I thought she was just visiting, but I think she is staying in the woods near the road at night. Any tips on how to catch her so we can bring her home? And what if we can't catch her or she won't stay at home anymore? We are thinking we may have to adopt her but we aren't prepared for chickens right now. What would we need? Has anyone adopted a runaway chicken before or had a chicken adopt you as seems to be the case here. Thanks!
     
  2. chikkenfriend

    chikkenfriend Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Food and water would be the way to go, I think. But don't just leave it out. Let her see that it's you bringing small amounts of food on a regular basis. My birds see me (or even my car) and they come running! Dried mealworms are a healthy snack and they love it! You might try this to get her used to you. Good luck.
     
  3. SamanthaNH

    SamanthaNH New Egg

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    We still haven't caught the chicken & now it's been raining all day, heavily at times :( I feel so bad, all she has for cover is the trees & brush. Is she alright? Should I go out & throw down some feed for her? Any other suggestions?
     
  4. chicbaby

    chicbaby Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i would throw some black oil sunflowers and/or a mix of scratch, like cracked corn or oats to give her some quick high calorie high fat foods that she will like so she can forage for them around where you see her. even make a little trail to your yard and just be patient with her, maybe give her a dog house or something to get out of the rain in or an area on your porch. she will also love worms or grasshoppers if you have any and you can get close enough to toss them near her so she can see them. you definitely need to get her a friend or 3 or 4 and build a predator proof coop and run if you plan on keeping her, chickens like most animals need to have family and don't do well alone. since she is used to people, she will probably settle down and learn to trust you.
     
  5. chicbaby

    chicbaby Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i would also let the neighbor know because she may want her back and she may come to her if she calls her .
     
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  6. Streetview

    Streetview Chillin' With My Peeps

    Can you get a used dog house or something off craigslist so she has shelter?
     
  7. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with chicbaby... the owner should know one of her chickens is in your yard. She should be given the opportunity to have her hen back. Also, chickens are much easier to catch when it's dark so try to get her to safety at night if she isn't too high up in the trees. She's been through a traumatic experience and could be suffering an injury aside from being highly stressed. The sooner she's caught the faster she can be treated for stress and possible injury.
     
  8. SamanthaNH

    SamanthaNH New Egg

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    Thanks everyone for the suggestions, the neighbor did know where her chicken was and we actually spoke with her again today. It seems we will be keeping the chicken for now. We are going to be getting a coop this weekend. And hopefully she gets comfortable in there, then we may return her to her original home. We are looking for an affordable coop kit if anyone has any suggestions? My husband does not want to build our own coop- he's just not handy that way.

    We are also planning on getting her a few friends too.

    I have also been wondering what to look for if she is sick or injured? She is missing quite a few tail feathers (only 2 left), but I can't get close enough to check for infection. Should she be brought to see a vet?
     
  9. kari_dawn

    kari_dawn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi Samantha,

    Keep your eye on this girl. The sooner you can catch her, the better! As dusk comes around, watch where she goes. She doesn't see well in the dark, so she will be looking for a safe spot to weather the darkness. This is the very best time to catch her. Get a large net on a pole (pool nets work well. See if you have a neighbor with a pool who will let you borrow their net if you don't want to buy one. This may take a little practice. Don't get discouraged. If you aren't successful in capturing her the first night, make note of where she roosts. chances are she will go right back there every night. Try to use the net to scoop her out of the tree. if that isn't a possibility, try to dislodge her (gently), and have a large blanket ready to throw over her when she touches the ground.

    If she isn't roosting high in a tree, grabbing her by the hock joints works very well. I got very lucky once, and caught a rogue rooster that had been roosting on the axle of a parked truck. He was very easy to capture as darkness fell. Grab both legs together so she doesn't injure herself. Again, a blanket might be a good thing to have to wrap her in.

    Unfortunately, if you capture her, and get her comfortable staying in a coop you provide, there is little chance of returning her to her original coop. Chickens are creatures of habit. Once you condition her to live in your coop, yours is the one she will return to. Especially since she had a traumatic experience in her last one. Once you get her confined, you can get a better look at any potential injuries, and come back to us for guidance. there are really great, knowledgeable people here.

    The most affordable coops I have found are the ones on craigslist.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2014
  10. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    You may want to check out the coop page for ideas of what to look for in a coop. It needs to have room, at least 4 square feet for each chicken, and a roost for all at the same height--2 ft to 4 ft high is plenty. Then it needs to have lots of ventilated windows with hardware cloth wire over the windows. Lock it up each evening from dusk until dawn. Predators can get into a 1 " hole, so check out any openings.
     

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