Runaway chicken


8 Years
Nov 30, 2011
I am tired of Brigid the Wonder Chicken being in the house all the time. She needs to go out with the other chickens and just be a chicken! (And I am tired of the poop
) The trouble is, whenever we put her out in the yard, she runs away. She stays out all night (who knows where) and returns in the morning as if nothing had happened. After she stayed out for 2 days in a row, we stopped letting her out unsupervised.

I'm not exactly sure why she does this. It started when we gave away one of our roosters (the wrong one) and the dum-dum we have left cant lead his hens out of a paper bag. If you were following my drama with the new rooster, we are still at the stage where the two guys are alternating days in the yard and nights in the pen, and all the normal hens go out every day, except we randomly pick one to be in the pen with the imprisoned rooster each day. My husband is convinced she only disappears when our original leghorn roo is minding the girls, and not when the new RIR is in charge.

I'm not sure where she goes when she leaves, or at what stage she takes off. IF I had time, I would stand outside and see what she does, but I can't do that right now.

The obvious solution would be to put her in the pen with the new RIR when he is in there, only he is about 4 times the size of her. The last time he tried to mate with her, she screamed like he was killing her, then smushed herself down and put her head in the corner of the pen for about 5 minutes, until I took her out. SHe looked like a kid doing a tornado drill at school. I couldn't leave her locked in with him like that!

So, before I ramble any more about my troubles
, does anybody have any ideas how to keep this little hen in the yard?

(Sorry if this seems a little disoranized, but I just got home from work and I'm soooooo tired, but my house smells like chickens.....
Do you have a run attached to your coop? If so, I would put her in with the rest of the chickens, leave them in the run for a few days, (they'll have to sort out their pecking order and she'll probably get pecked a bit...) and maybe she'll figure out that that's where home is. Or, put her in a smaller cage in the run for a few days so the other chickens get used to her, then let her out in the run for a few days. Of course, if you don't have a run, all of this means nothing. In that case, I'd just let her out and take my chances. If she comes back, put her in the coop on the roost at night with the rest of them.
No, I don't have a run. Nobody around here has one, so it never occurred to me that I would need one. It might be next year's project.

AS for knowing where home is...She knows darn well where home is! We never had a problem with her all summer, until we ditched the wrong rooster. And she sure knows where to come when she gets hungry! I suspect that she wanders off and then when it gets dark she just climbs up in a tree somewhere. If she was just one of the layers, I wouldn't be so concerned. But this one is becoming a pet, and we really like her.

Oh, I just had a thought....maybe she now thinks the house is home, and if we don't let her in, then she goes and hides somewhere? Last time we found her under the side porch, where they all roosted last summer until we got the shed built.

Chickens are SO CONFUSING!!!!!
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If all your neighbors have chickens too, maybe she has the hots for one of the boys next door. That may be where she is disappearing to.
That is where she is going right now. I feel OK leaving her with Connor (AKA dum-dum) because he wont hurt her and I really do hope they will bond someday (although she was with him all the time his comb was healing, and he ditched her the first time I let them out. SO on COnnor's day in, it is fine to put her in with them.

But on the opposite days, I'm not so sure. The other roo, Shamus, is really rough and Brigid is terrified of him. I wouldn't feel so bad letting her out in the yard with him (I might do that this weekend. I had meant to let the roos get a little closer, but Shamus is still being a jerk to Connor) because she could get away and there would be other hens to draw his attention. But locking her in the pen with him just seems cruel. She sticks her head in the corner and tries to hide.

As for visiting the neighbors, that could make sense. I'm not entirely sure who has chickens around her and who doesn't. I wonder how far she could travel in a day?
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