Unwanted roosters and chickens

gary1-2007May 8, 2009

Okay... Here is my dilemma. I live in a rural area and my neighbor HAD chickens and roosters (for his kids enjoyment). He has abandoned them and they are now staying in back of my house living in the trees and eating my birdfood. I have no other pets and enjoy feeding the song birds. There are 2 roosters, 2 chickens and now 6 babies. I have been told they are game roosters? My neighbor said just kill them! How can I capture them to give them away? I don't really want to kill them all. I could advertise for someone to come round them up but I don't want a fiasco roundup on my property. Any ideas? I hope all you chicken lovers keep this in mind when you take it upon yourself to get FREE RANGE chickens. . thanks and HELP!

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I'm sorry your neighbor left his animals in your care unwantedly. I don't understand people like that. We're not all like that. They do eat bugs & grubs & things like that, so if you moved your feeder maybe you could co-exist. (had to try!!)

If not, get a large kennel or something similar & set aside (in the shade, of course). You can wait for dark & go around & catch them where they're roosting(if you can reach them). They're fairly easy to catch this way. It may take a night or two. The hen may be on the ground or close to her chicks if they're not flying yet. You can get her with a laundry basket, maybe.

Did he feed them grain at all? You could also bait an enclosed area, like a dog kennel or your garage. Feed them a little bit (daily for a few days if need be) inside the trap. When they go in, close the door or gait. Or, you may be able to slowly herd them inside.

Be careful with the rooster in particular. I don't want to scare you but there is a possibility he will fly at your face, maybe the hen, too, if protecting her chicks, or scratch you. Get the parents first, then use the hen as bait for the chicks.

To catch them, grab both legs & hold away from your face, or grab a wing near the body, be careful not to break their wing, then quickly grab the other wing near the body to stop the flapping. Kennel them & put an ad on Craigslist.

Good luck,

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 2:37PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Your neighbor is an IDIOT for allowing his animals to simply run wild, and then not caring for them when he lost interest. Shoving them off on you really makes him a twit of the first water. I know of no one who would do such a thing. Most chicken owners care for their birds, they have value as either a food source, pets or both.

Good advice from brendasue. :) But be ready, Game Fowl and/or bantams are darned clever little suckers, and FAST. *L* Don't even think about trying to chase them. Instead, win them over with food--that's the way to a chicken's heart. They are VERY food-motivated. If you invest in something especially yummy, such as live mealworms or some leftover cooked chicken, and take a few days to get them used to you and trusting you as you feed them, you'll be able to get a lot closer to them.

Depending on how long they've been left to run wild, it may just take a few days to win their trust to the point where you can reach out and grab them--those tails are excellent grab handles, just make sure to be ready to grab the tail with one hand, and then use the other to trap their body against the ground until you can let go of the tail and move that hand to their body. PLEASE don't hurt them! If they have really gone wild and distrust you, you may have to be more patient. Going after them just after dark when they have gone to roost (think up high, their instinct tells them to get as high as they can, and they will have a favorite spot that they return to) works well, chickens can't see worth a darn in the dark.

Or, simply hang your songbird feeder up above chicken level. Songbirds still get food, the chickens happily clean up the spillage that is on the ground. :) And they provide you with free, incredibly tasty eggs!

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 8:46PM
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I have taken it "upon myself to get freerange chickens", but my chickens stay home and come to their coop at night. Accusing everyone who has freerange chickens of being irresponisble is ridiculous.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 11:35PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

My mother talks about bending wire coat hangers into small hooks with long handles, then going out at night, shining a light in the chickens eyes and grabbing them and pulling them down from the barn rafters.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 1:22AM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

^^^ Important to note that you use the wire to hook them by the shank part of the leg--that long, scaled part with no feathers. Also, since chickens can't see worth a darn in the dark, I doubt that shining the light in their eyes would do more than annoy them. :) And when they hit the ground they are going to RUN, so be ready.

But this is a really rough and mostly harmful way to catch them, please use it only as a last resort and you can't reach them any other way. Breaking legs and necks isn't the way to go.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 8:38PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Soup was always her goal with that maneuver.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 9:55PM
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When I was growing up on the farm I used the wire hook catch method. I used a long piece of heavy copper wire. I would bend a small shepherds hook in the end of the wire. I would catch them day or night with the wire by hooking them on the shank of the leg. I never injured a chicken.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 11:20PM
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pris(8B TX)

See if you can find someone who has a small chicken coop you could use for a few days. They will automatically go to roost at night and will use the coop rather than perch in trees if it's there for them. Just shut the door after they go in at dusk. You could also build one pretty inexpensively with chicken wire, 2x4's and some rods for perching. It doesn't have to be pretty or built to last. They just want a safe place off the ground to roost at night away from predators. The door could be a piece of chicken wire attached on one side and pulled over and hooked shut when they are all in for the night.

By the way, the visual of you running around chasing chickens with a coat hanger made my day. I don't recommend it though.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 2:05PM
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Well thank you all for the advice. I was thinking of getting a house and trapping them in it after dusk but I guess maybe nature is taking it's course. The roosters have dwindled from 2 to 1 and the hens have dwindled by the same and we only see 2 chicks (out of the six)that have now started flying. The 1 rooster hangs around with them while they are at my bird feeder- don't know where they went. If I could just get rid of the 1 rooster that stands under our bedroom window and crows at 5 am that would be great. I hate what may have happened to them but remember they weren't mine! Maybe they just moved on to someone elses feeder? At least that's what I will tell myself happened. Will keep ya'll posted. Meanwhile I had killdeer birds that laid 4 eggs in my gravel driveway (We were driving around them for 2 weeks)where they were sitting on 4 eggs until this am when I went to get the paper there was only 1 egg and NO birds all day. Don't know what happened there . Did not see any babies or the adults all day? Like a nature preserve around here!!!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 8:42PM
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