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Yes, I’m serious about that title. I was on Facebook yesterday and saw a post in one of the backyard chicken groups that I belong to.
A woman with backyard chickens said the night before she had arrived home late, locked up her coop and counted heads, only to find one missing. She looked around that night and again the next morning and couldn’t find the missing hen. That afternoon, her son noticed the chicken under a bucket.
The woman’s guess is that the chicken tried to stand on the side of the bucket and it flipped over on top of her.
Well, that post caught my attention because something similar happened awhile back with one of my chickens.
For awhile I was feeding my small flock their chicken feed out of a clear plastic storage tote (without the lid of course) that I got from Dollar General. That is, until one day when I went out and found one of the poor hens trapped underneath the container. I guess she managed to step on it just right and it flipped over on top of her. Well, thank goodness the bin was clear. That’s how I managed to see her instantly but it was scary because I’m not sure how much longer she would have had air. The bin was just about her size with a little bit of extra room around the sides but she was definitely scrunched down and had no room to stand up.
I replaced the tote with bowls that were still large enough to hold a decent amount of feed but nowhere big enough to cover any of the flock members.
Now we don’t feed the chickens out of anything that can tip over on top of them!
Although I had been pretty mad at myself at the time for not considering that a hen could get trapped under the bin, and thoroughly relieved nothing bad had come of it, I hadn’t really thought about it again until I saw the Facebook post.
But, what really made me think about writing this post was the fact that about four other people immediately commented that something similar had happened to their chickens as well!
“We had this happen to a chicken too, but we didn’t know until my daughter went to turn their food container over from upside down and bam! A chicken!” wrote one member of the group.
Another commented that she found her missing chicken under the goats’ feed bowl.
So, I guess a more appropriate, yet slightly wordy, title of this post should be, “Next time your chicken is missing, check under any buckets and feed bowls or anything else that might have flipped over on them and covered them up.”
And, also, for those whose chicken head counts are still totalling the correct number, maybe just take a look around their areato make sure there’s nothing they can’t end up stuck underneath, and replace it with something more shallow — just in case.
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