Sunday, May 5, 2013

Chicken Feeders & Trouble

We've raised chicken for several years. We started with some adult, 2 year old, Rhode Island Red hens procured from someone who didn't want to eat them when they began slowing their egg-laying and we got the chicken keeping "bug". We added 8 "battery hens" later. Having succeeded with these, we began raising chicks. Eventually, we bought ourselves a rooster and started hatching our own chicks. We have dealt with spraddle leg, chicken colds, and bullying. We learned to watch for signs of disease and how to care for sick or injured birds. More importantly, we learned how to prevent many problems before they could start in our flock. To date, we care for nearly 100 birds at our farm. And I would have sworn, we were not easy to shock at this point in the game.

And that is when it happens.

What happens??? The unexpected.

Thursday was an ordinary day. Sean went to work. I went to work. We checked the animals and did our afternoon chores when we got home. Everything seemed completely normal until we reached the new pullet tractor. We were missing one of the new white Leghorn chicks. A quick scan around the pen and the problem was easily spotted.

This is the tail end of a white leghorn chick.
We use basic, inexpensive, plastic chick feeders for our chick brooder pens. (They cost about $2,70 on Amazon.) You've seen them. You've probably used them, if you have ever kept chicks. The base looks like this. And, the top is a plastic quart bottle, which gravity feeds the grain to the chicks. We have used these since we began raising chicks and never had a problem.

Until now.

I couldn't believe my eyes. As best we can figure, the chicks (in all their raptor-smart intelligence) managed to work together to unscrew the top from the base of the feeder. Talk about team-work! This is quite an accomplishment for creatures 5 inches tall and possessing no fingers or hands! We still have not come up with a reason for their desire to accomplish this, except to see the look of wonder in our eyes. Not satisfied to be just one of the collective, one ambitious Leghorn pullet, wedged herself (head first) inside the plastic top and waited for our return. I am kidding, of course about the method of occurrence. More likely, the chicks knocked the plastic feeder sideways and by some freak accident, the base detached. The chick, seeing grain still inside, walked in and got herself "stuck". I apply that term loosely here. She was stuck in the sense that every time we attempted to remove her, she'd open her wings and effectively prevent our pulling her out. Had she not resisted, she would have slip right out of there in seconds. I am half-convinced that given enough time she might have decided to turn around and walk herself back out. However, we had other things to attend to and waiting for Miss chick's grand entrance was not on our "to do" list. And, the thought of leaving her in the bottle to fend for herself was clearly unacceptable. There was nothing else to do. Sean mounted a rescue attempt.

Peace restored and Leghorn pullet none-the-worse-for-wear, we got back to our scheduled plans for the evening.

Will we use those screw on feeders again? I don't know. Would you?

Sonja ♥


  1. Lol :) Silly chicken.

    I probably would still use the same type of container. It seems unlikely that the same thing will happen again. (famous last words).

  2. Heard from the Leghorn chick: "Sean, my hero!" As someone with claustrophobia, I'm sure she was glad to be out.


  3. A great story that I have shared on my Facebook page ( Think of it as a daily round up of the best stories, advice, inspiration, tips and tricks for chicken keepers.

  4. I've already commented on this one--loved it! But I just reread "Dogs and Cats--Living Together." I loved the juxtaposition of the different writers and writing styles. Finn started out so hopeful--the ideal dog. All the animals have unique personalities, don't they.