Totally taken by surprise with a chicken. Oy.

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by Judy925, Oct 23, 2016.

  1. Judy925

    Judy925 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 23, 2016
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    Hi all. I have a wonderful neighbor whose big black chicken likes to jump our 6' wall and visit me while I garden, which was fine with me. They thought I was lonely so they bought me my own chicken last month. We scrambled like mad to figure out what to do with this guy. She was handed to us in a small cat carrier along with a HUGE bag of feed. This is how one of the worst days I've ever had ended. We were told she is a cochin chicken, 6 weeks old. I'm an animal lover so I was really stuck. We have rigged an 8-sided outdoor pen against our retainer wall so she would have more room. We pushed through 3 broom handles and notched them so they wouldn't turn. She has a plastic rectangular plant drainer to sit on and her food and water. It's about 10' by 6' and 5' high with chicken wire over the top. We also have a huge dog kennel which we equipped with food, water, cardboard bottom, and 2 notched perches (more old broom sticks) which we put her in at night (in our family room, no less) and then cover her with a blanket. And so began a family daily ritual around this crazy bird.

    I'm doing my best to bond with her. I read these types are "lap birds" but don't tell that to this chicken. She a Head and Shoulders girl if ever (at least at first). I tried to hand feed her. I was snubbed. I have spent more time than I can count sitting in that outdoor pen with her talking, petting her, trying to get her to acknowledge me... only to find out she's a snob. She screams like I'm about to kill her when I pick her up but LOVES when I get her nestled in my arms so we can walk around and look at everything in the yard. She loves when I get my fingers under her feathers to massage her. To my surprise she also likes baths. Well, it's more like a dip in a pyrex bowl with tepid water since she has a talent to step right into her gunk. She gets real calm, and closes her eyes while I let water run down her feathers.

    What I'm trying to say here is I'm probably doing everything wrong. We don't have money for a fancy chicken coop and even if we did, we would still bring her in at night what with scorpions and tarantula hawks running around (we live in a southern California desert community). I don't want her to overtake my whole existence, so I'm trying to find a good balance. Any info, advice, words of wisdom... ANYTHING would be appreciated. Thank you all.

    PS: I have 2 very jealous cats who she loves to torture. Welcome to my world.
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC, and understand that these birds are like potato chips - one is never enough.
     
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  3. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Greetings from Kansas and :welcome! Pleased to have you aboard. Well, you sound slightly overwhelmed but it sounds like you're doing okay. My best advice is to read - read - read in the Learning Center here https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center In no time you'll be up to speed on everything you need to know. But feel free to ask any questions you might have along the way. Best wishes! :)
     
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  4. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer

    Good luck with that LOL Give it time and you'll be overrun, probably and we'll probably all just encourage you....

    Welcome to the forum.

    Does she have a name?
     
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  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Out to pasture
    Nice to meet you Judy, sorry you are having this aggravation from a 6 week old chick. Too bad your neighbor didn't let you keep the big black one who enjoyed your company..

    Chickens are flock animals and do much better with a couple companions. MAYBE(???) if there were others the chick might learn how to be a regular chicken instead of spoiled prima donna. At least she'd have something else to scream about. There is a chance you were given this chick because it was driving them nuts.
     
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  6. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Welcome to BYC! It's great to have you.

    Sounds like you are doing your best by her. However, it's imperative that you get her a companion or two. Chickens do not do well on their own - they are social creatures by nature. The only exception would be house chickens who are bonded to their keepers, however a house chicken kept on their own would require the same sort of time commitment (or more) as a dog or similar animal and require lots of daily interaction and attention.
     
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  7. Judy925

    Judy925 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 23, 2016
    Corona, CA
    Please... tell me you didn't just say that... (as she opens another can of Cringles)
     
  8. CuzChickens

    CuzChickens CountryChick

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    Hi there, and welcome to Backyard Chickens! Sounds like you are doing a great job taking care of her! Would get her a companion though. I have heard that being a only chicken can make them act crazy, she might calm down a bit if she had a Buddy.... Thanks for joining, I hope you enjoy BYC as much as I have!
     
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  9. Judy925

    Judy925 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 23, 2016
    Corona, CA
    Hi Kansas... Thank you for replying. I was overwhelmed at first because... well, who gives somebody a chicken without any prep or warning? Truth be told, I am already out of my element by living in the SoCal desert. I'm a New Yorker born and bred. The closest I've come to birds is pigeons in Central Park and my parakeet Gary who I had as a child. The truly worst part of day one was the dinner I had prepared and nobody would eat because.... well, I made fried chicken. Everyone kept looking over at her as if to ask permission.

    I appreciate everyone's suggestion to get another chicken. I'm not sure but it might be a tad late for that. She already owns everything and everyone on the property. I have a business where I propagate and arrange succulents in all kinds of great pots and containers so I'm always in the backyard. She's not alone. I talk to her all day long and she talks back. I go into the pen a lot and we peck at each other from time to time but mostly I just pet her, which she loves. I'm waiting for her to get big enough where she's too fat to fit through the wrought iron slats of my back fence. Once she gets there she can be free range as long as I'm out there. I just want her pen to be comfy enough so when I put her in there for an hour or so when I go into the house, she doesn't feel like she's being punished.

    We are getting a real kick out of her though. My cat Kitty sat patiently next to her cage waiting for her to come close enough to check her out (claws contracted so she was just being curious). When Birdie (we pick very unusual names) finally got nice and close, Kitty put her nose into the cage and Birdie pecked her but good. It must not have hurt because they've done this over and over since. NOTE: This is a very typical home consisting of my husband, me, our twin 23 year old sons and 2 cats. While sadomasochism is NOT practiced in this house, we do not judge others with a propensity toward alternate lifestyles. If Birdie likes to peck and Kitty doesn't mind, that is their business. Live and let live I say.

    The chicken next door is also an only child so maybe I'll see if we can arrange play dates. OMG - would you listen to me??????? WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME???
     
  10. potato chip

    potato chip lunch-sharer

    Chook magic.
     
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