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


Why You Should Train Your Bird BEFORE Going in Showmanship

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Blackie, a bantam Cochin, is my favorite hen to show.  She’s well-behaved and has won several championships and grand championships.


You should really train your bird to be picked up the correct way before going in showmanship.  Otherwise, you may find your bird perched on your arm, or worse, your head.  Handle the bird when it’s young to get the best showmanship bird.  And make sure you know the correct way to pick up a bird.  We handle our birds at home by not picking them up the way you are supposed to because they’re not used to it.  But the birds we’re planning to take in showmanship get picked up the right way in preparation for the show.

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Bantams are ideal for showmanship.


Also, not all birds are fun to take in showmanship.  Out of our 23 birds, there are only 3 good showmanship chickens.  Bantams are ideal because they’re smaller and you don’t have to work hard to pick them up.  Also, it’s harder when a 7-pound Jersey Giant misbehaves.  The absolute worst showmanship bird is one you can’t pick up without it perching on your arm.  Everyone will be staring at you in the showmanship class as it claws you and you try to shake it off.

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Not all birds are good for showmanship.


Handle your bird a lot before the show.  Make sure it is fine with being turned upside down to show the keel, having its wings stretched out, and standing calmly on the table without flying off.  If your bird likes to fly, it’s usually OK if you keep a hand on its back.  After you’ve practiced with your bird, there’s a better chance of it behaving at the show.

Tip for if you get into the round robin: the trick to winning is to show the biggest, nastiest bird you can handle and win with.  Other people will bring their huge rabbits, wild geese, and grumpy guinea pigs.  Also, know as much as you can about other peoples’ animals.  Offer to teach them how to show your bird in exchange for learning about their animal.

BigThingsCoop

–BigThingsCoop