More feral chickens

I found a nice lady on a nice farm to take my feral rooster. With the coop empty, I set the trap up again.

The very next day, I had a second rooster trapped. He spent one night with us, then went to the farm to join his brother.

And this morning, Byrd trapped a feral hen in the coop. This is not the momma hen of the roosters; this is the roosters’ sister. She is a smooth tan color, very pretty.

We are going to try and integrate the hen into our flock. We made this decision in part because the momma hen and the third rooster were still in our yard this morning, and we needed the trap cleared quickly so we could try to catch them, too. 🙂 So we dumped the feral hen into our chicken coop.

So far, she’s scared, and the other hens are doing a bit of pecking as they reinforce the idea that she’s the lowest chicken on the totem pole. But they haven’t really fought or anything. I think it will work out.

Unfortunately, the process of catching and moving the feral hen into our coop was noisy and chaotic, so the remaining rooster and hen ran off and haven’t come back yet. No worries, it’s only a matter of time. So far we’ve caught a chicken every single day that the trap is open.

Now I have to come up with yet another chicken sound to name this chicken. So far we have used: Peepers, Squawkers (deceased), Cluckers (deceased), Cackle, and Bawk Bawk. (The oddballs are Miss Red and Crooksie.)

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Today on the Chicken Front

Well, the Mystery Chick has a nice new space in a large chain link dog run. I spent several hours converting the run, but I was very pleased that we finally found a use for it. Our dog never did stay in it, for a variety of reasons.

The chain link was easy for the tiny chick to slip through, so we got plastic mesh from the hardware store and zip-tied it to the chain link. I also added two cinder blocks, standing vertically, and slipped a piece of wood into the top squares of the blocks to form a long perch. And we bought an automatic waterer and feeder.

I left the cat trap (where the chick was staying initially) inside the dog kennel with a towel over the back half; it will have to do as a sleeping spot until we can build or buy a little house. I’m also “locking” the chick into the cat trap at night, because…

…even after all that work, the chick still managed to squeeze its way out of the dog kennel late in the afternoon! Fortunately Hubby was outside doing some work on our new fence. He heard peeping and looked up to see Mystery Chick standing on a log next to him. The chick really seems to like him; I saw Hubby walking around out back several times with the chick standing tall on his shoulder (and Hubby is 6’4″).

I suspect the weakness is at the kennel door. There is a small gap between the door and the kennel wall, smaller than the chain link squares but larger than the mesh squares. If the door is carefully, perfectly shut, the gap is too small for the chick (we tested), but if it is even slightly ajar, that gap gets larger. Probably whoever was in the kennel last did not quite pull the door evenly closed (it swings inward and outward, so there is no “stop” to make it shut level with the kennel wall; you have to stop it yourself whereever you want it to be). I think I’ll have Hubby attach a board to the door so that it covers this gap when the door closes.

And finally, we stopped at a pet store today and got some tiny baby crickets. Well let me tell you, I’ve never seen a chicken go quite as loony as Mystery Chick did when I brought it the crickets. That bird attacked the crickets while they were still in the bag! He even jumped up into the air after the bag when I hoisted it out of reach (I was trying to get the crickets out and the chick was biting me and the bag and the crickets every chance he got). He really loved those crickets and gobbled them straight out of my hand.