Catch a chicken
Catch a chicken: My boyfriend and I just got acquired some chickens pretty quickly and we are scared and unsure of how to raise them.
We just let one of them out of the coop to roam around and we can't seem to catch him.
I know this seems silly, but we have some questions and the most important one is - how to catch this chicken!
There are coyotes and bears living in the woods here and we don't want anything to happen to her.Answer
Well, I think we have to start at the beginning. I wish I could come help you catch this chicken, but instead I’ll try to help you understand how to care for your new flock.
Chickens are creatures of habit. They love predictable routines, good food, fresh water, forage and a safe place to live.
Allowing chickens to free range with bears and coyotes near is a big risk.
When I get new adult chickens I keep them locked up in the coop and yard for a few weeks. I want them to know where they are supposed to sleep every night and get used to entering and exiting the coop and finding their food and water.
Once settled in, I let them out for the first time in the late afternoon, about an hour before they usually go to roost.
They explore around and stay close to the coop and head back to roost close to their normal time. The next day I let them out a little earlier and continue letting them out earlier and earlier.
I generally keep my chickens in their yard until about noon. I like the hens to always lay in the nests so I don’t have to hunt for eggs.
If I’m going to be gone for several hours during the day, I keep them in their yard, where they are reasonably
safe from predators, and let them out when I get back.
We don’t have bears, but do have a lot of coyotes. I have an 8’ high fence around the coop made of 2” x 4” welded wire and chicken wire at the bottom.
The fence keeps the chickens in the yard, when I want them in and keeps most other animals out. I doubt this would keep a bear out and I doubt my coop would keep a bear out, but we have had no coyote problems with the chickens.
Raccoons, possums, skunks, weasels, large snakes, hawks and even domestic dogs and cats can be a threat to chickens.
To keep chickens, all local predators must be taken into account when ensuring the coop and chicken yard are a safe place, day and night.
Most chicken predators work at night and chickens really appreciate a good safe coop to be locked up in at night.
With bears nearby, your coop will have to be bear proof, to prevent tragic break-ins. I would suggest feeding the chickens only in the coop so the smell of feed is less likely to attract predators at night.
To catch a chicken on the loose you need a good long handled net or a real fast person. This chicken may be attracted to the sounds of the other chickens and want to be with them at night.
Possibly you will be able to catch it in the evening. Otherwise, it will probably try to find a good tree to roost in.
Once you catch it I would suggest keeping them locked up for a couple of weeks to make sure they know their home.
We have great articles on our site to help you understand what a good chicken diet is made up of, as well as how to watch for signs of health problems. Return to Raising Chickens Home Page