Monday, 5 October 2015

The Tale of the Disappearing Chicken


A couple of weeks ago I bought 4 chickens to add to our laying flock.  I like to keep new birds separate from my existing ones, for a few days, to check everything is OK with them so these new birds went in the small pen near the log piles.  One seemed a bit wheezy so I decided I would treat all for the snuffles and worm them at the same time, which meant they would have to stay away from the main flock for a month as during this time their eggs can't be eaten.

So far so good.  Night number one and I went to put them to bed and found them all huddled outside the shed, not having worked out where the door was.  Night number two, 3 of them were in the shed but where was number 4?  I searched and I searched but she was nowhere to be seen.  

I thought maybe she'd got in between logs.  No
I thought maybe she'd got on top of the shed.  No
I thought maybe she'd got behind the shed.  No

Maybe she was huddled along the fence line or in the patch of nettles? No

I searched outside the pen.  Nothing.  

However, the next morning there she was, strutting round the pen demanding breakfast. 

This went on for several nights.  No chicken at night.  Chicken there in the morning.  Oh and she is a black chicken so hard to find in the dark.

So where the heck was she?

Well, it turned out that this little Madam managed (despite having a clipped wing to stop her flying) to flutter up into the hedge and hide in amongst the foliage, almost perfectly camouflaged there.  I eventually found her as one night, she had not got her head tucked under her wing and the light reflected back from her eye.

I moved all 4 birds into another pen hoping that would stop her but now she just flutters up into the fence and every night I have to scoop her out and put her in the pen.  Last night it was raining for the first time since I bought her and there she was, all wet, but otherwise quite happy.

Has anyone any ideas how I can get this daft chicken into the shed at night?



18 comments :

  1. What a strange chicken! I wonder why she prefers hiding on the hedge? Or perhaps, she isn't hiding but just likes being up there ;) #animaltales

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    1. I have no idea either but then chickens are strange birds!

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  2. With all those feathers, I'm sure she'll be fine so far as the weather goes. I guess it's predators that would be the main concern. Could you bribe her down with snacks?

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    1. I'm not so sure especially once the leaves in he hedge are gone - that's a north facing fence line and the wind can whip through there. She is however easy to scoop out and put in the shed ... so long as I remember to get her. SHe just seems to prefer it there.

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  3. What a silly chicken, our guinea fowl always hop out of the pen they live in with the chickens and can never figure out how to get back into the enclosure. I'm glad you've figured out where she goes, they find a place they think is safe and they stick to it which is a little odd. #animaltales

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    1. Funny that - as though fences can only be hopped over in ONE direction. And you are right about then sticking to their perceived safe place - even rain didn't stop her trying to roost there all night.

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  4. What a silly girl - good luck persuading her!

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    1. Thank you. Trouble is she is stubborn as well as stupid.

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  5. oh my, we gave up putting chicken ruby in her coop at night as she preferred to sleep/perch on the wooden bench

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    1. I would worry she'd get eaten by a fox though. In a couple of weeks the four of them will go in the main run and I am hoping she might follow everyone else in at night ... but I wouldn't be surprised if she still went into the hedge!

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  6. Chickens have never struck me as intelligent sorts of birds. But I can forgive them that because of the eggs. She says, having never had anything to do with them up close and personal, like.

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    1. They are actually quite intelligent on the scale of things ... if,however, you really want a bird that forgot to stand in the queue marked brain cells then you need turkeys. They really are very stupid!

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  7. I've got no suggestions, but it made me smile. I do like chickens, and have always wanted to keep them. One day I hope to do just that. Sorry to not be more helpful, but I do like to hear about individuals, and this one sounds very individual :)

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    1. She certainly is a character but I do have a plan to get her into the shed. Usually I go out to shut up the shed doors when it is all dark but now I am going out at duck, scooping her off the fence to the ground and guiding her into the shed. I am hoping she might realise that is what she is supposed to do ...and remember to do it herself soon.

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  8. No idea but that's obviously her happy place!

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    1. Ha ha, yes but it is too easily reached by M. Renard. Plan being implemented though (see comment above).

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  9. As long as she's happy I guess.

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    1. She might not be happy if Mr Fox arrives ...

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