What to Do If Your Pet Chicken Dissapears

 

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Don’t immediately worry if your chicken doesn’t come back to the coop one night.


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Last night, a chicken named Panther didn’t come back to the coop.  Maybe she was scared of the neighbors’ fireworks, which were being set off right next to the coop.  Or else she got eaten by an owl.  We searched all over and couldn’t find her–there are a lot of places that chickens can hide in.   All the others were in the coop asleep.  It was dark outside, so it was hard to look for her. Eventually, after a lot of worrying, we locked the coop and decided that Panther had either been eaten by a predator or was hiding somewhere.

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 The chicken could be hiding somewhere.


The next morning, she still hadn’t come back. She didn’t even show up for the chickens’ favorite treat, which is scratch. There were no feathers anywhere, or signs that a chicken had gotten eaten.

Then we looked at the chickens eating scratch next to the coop, and Panther was eating scratch with them. She looked perfectly fine. She was covered in dirt, though, which makes me think that she was either in the chickens’ favorite dust bath all night, or else hiding somewhere dirty.   Sometimes, chickens decide not to go back to the coop for no apparent reason.

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 Chickens can decide not to come back to the coop for no apparent reason.


Or sometimes, chickens go broody and hide their nest somewhere where you can’t find it.  When they do that, you can only hope that a predator can’t find the nest either.  The nest can be so well-hidden that you don’t find it until you step on it.  When that happens, the smell of broken rotting eggs can be enough to keep you from going by the nest.  The hens don’t seem to mind.

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If you can’t find your chicken, the bird may be broody.


If the chicken can’t get back to the coop for some reason, it may roost in a tree.  Or else, the bird might have gotten trapped somewhere, like a storage shed.  Then, when you open the door to the building, the chicken will come running out.  One time a pullet got trapped under a cardboard box in her pen.  Anything can happen.  So if your bird goes missing, and you can’t find any feathers, don’t worry.  Your chicken will probably come back within the next few days.

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 Panther, the chicken who came back.


BigThingsCoop

–BigThingsCooop


Chickens’ Favorite Treats

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Chickens are omnivores, and will eat almost anything—from dead mice to berries.  Our chickens’ favorite treat is pieces of cheese.  They also like grapes and scratch.  Chickens can have almost any table scrap, except chocolate or poultry.  Don’t feed your chickens raw eggs or they will develop a nasty egg-eating habit in which they crack open and eat their own eggs.  Once a chicken is an egg-eater, it is impossible to stop it.  However, cooked eggs have a different taste and can be beneficial to chickens’ diets.

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Chickens are omnivores.


Chickens also like rolled oats, various cereals, and spaghetti.  If you want to, you can buy mealworms or prepackaged chicken treats.  Chickens will also eat birdseed.  Bread is also a good chicken treat.  But don’t feed too much of it.  Don’t feed your birds bread if you have ducks.  Ducks get severely fat when they eat it.

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 Chickens will come running for treats.


Feed treats in little bits, and don’t make them as your chickens’ main diet.  Too many treats can make your chickens too fat or upset the nutrient balance in their diet.  But still, chickens really enjoy them.  A chicken will be your friend if your feed it treats.  Chickens like treats more than being petted.  Also, treats are good for teaching your chickens tricks.

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You CAN train your chicken!


Regardless of what people say, you can train your chicken.  A really easy trick to train them is to come when called.  Come up with a sound you will use to call them.  Then find somewhere where no chickens can see you.  After that, set an extremely tasty treat on the ground in front of you and make the sound.  Repeat several times over the course of a few days. But don’t call the chickens when you don’t have a treat for them too often, or they will stop coming.  This is a great tool for getting chickens out of the neighbors’ yard without anyone noticing.

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 Chickens LOVE treats.


–BigThingsCoop


Why You Should Lock Your Chickens in Every Night

 

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Predators like to eat chickens.  And chickens are not so smart when hiding from them.  Given a choice, they may roost in trees or sit on a nest where something could eat them.  Locking all doors to the coop will keep predators out.  Ideally, the door should be closed each night and opened the next morning.  While this is time-consuming, it will prevent your flock from being eaten.

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Broody hens will sit on their nest, regardless of if it is safe from predators.

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The more doors your coop has, the more you will have to remember to lock.

Owly with Her Friend Snowball

Keep your chickens in a secure pen, too.