Unhappy hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by luvmyhens, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. luvmyhens

    luvmyhens In the Brooder

    Aug 24, 2010
    La Mirada, California
    My chickens are normally free range, but when I leave the house I like to put them in their run with a coop. However, they squack so loud I am afraid the neighbors might complain. I feel strapped to my home, I really can leave them free ranging while I am away, I live in the city houses very close together and I have seen cats in my yard. Also my hens fly up to our fences and I have dogs on the other side. We have clipped their wings but they still seem to make it. The dog run is where we have their run and coop but they want to run in the back yard where its green and lots of plants to tuck under. How can I get them to love their run so I can feel comfortable when I need to go. Also what do you do when you want to go away for the weekend? They are so dependent on me all day I can not see myself being able to get away. Oh by the way I am very new to all this I have never had chickens before and am learning as I go.
  2. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    Welcome [​IMG]
    You could try tossing some scratch into the run for them to snack on when you leave. They might not be so loud when the scratch is gone, and so are you.
    Mine tend to get more vocal if they know i am there.
  3. crj

    crj Songster

    Dec 17, 2009
    Rocky Point, NC

    You could put some sod in there run. Chickens like the grass. It may or may not last but it may keep them quiet for a while. Also, if you keep them in for a couple of days they will get use to being penned up. They won't like it but they will quiet down.
  4. GwenDellAnno

    GwenDellAnno Chirping

    Jul 18, 2009
    Water Valley, AB
    I should think you'd want to cover the run with something.... bird netting (like that used to keep birds out of the berry bushes), or whatever you can get, so they aren't flying out. I like the scratch idea. Then they would settle down once they're done.
  5. swordgeek

    swordgeek Chirping

    Jun 23, 2010
    Westford, MA
    Whenever we go away, we ask friends to look in on the birds. If it's a short trip (a few days), it's the kid next door who babysits for us, or sometimes a couple who I often trade cat sitting favors with. (They go away far more often, and for far longer at a stretch, so it balances out.) They make sure the feed and water levels are OK, and since I fill high before I go, they're usually fine. In winter, the water is on a heater, so the caregiver just needs to make sure it's clean and the power hasn't gone out.

    When we've gone away for a full week, I hire a friend's teenage daughter to do all of the chores. She rinses out the waterers and refills them, adds feed, scoops all the manure out of the bedding, collects eggs, brings along kitchen scraps for scratch, and checks the perimeter of the run for anything trying to dig in. She also takes good care of my cat. [​IMG] She appreciates the extra spending money, and enjoys spending time with the pets. If only I could convince this kid to babysit my children!

    I should also add that while I'm away, I don't allow the chickens to free-range. They have a run that's plenty big for them to move around and get away from each other, with interesting places to perch and play. We have too many predators in our area to allow them to free-range without supervision even when we're IN town.

    Since your birds have a run, and you don't want them to enslave you, I suggest you get them used to being enclosed for awhile - preferably before you go away! Mine may love roaming around the yard and woods, but I can't be out there with them every day. They get some free time out there most days, but I do work, and I do like to get away once in awhile. My birds need to accept that, even if they start to pout.
  6. mdbokc

    mdbokc Songster

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    If you are able to much/bag grass, try doing that each AM and giving it to them in the run. They'll attack it. I just fill my mower bag once a day and give it to them in the run. Keeps them happy until they go out later. (We had to cut back on free ranging now that school has started.)

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