A Detour to the Chicken Coop: The Phantom Maran

If you like Goat Berries on Facebook, you already know I have a hen who doesn’t like to enter the coop at night. One extremely tense, scary time, I got  unsolicited help from Giordano Kitty who chased her around the garden (gah!) until she went in, but since then, she no longer chooses the low branches of the fig tree for a hiding spot. She ain’t dumb.

Innocent-looking Maran hen

Innocent-looking Maran hen

So we’ve been playing, ahem, chicken now for a while ever since we let them out of their cage, which had been in the chicken coop for several weeks, supposedly acclimating them to the space. In fact, the first two or three nights “free,” she did go into the coop at night with everyone else, no problem. Not anymore.

In the beginning, I couldn’t find her at all when I went looking in the evening, but then in the morning, she was always there waiting for me, looking around with a “Hey, why is everyone still sleeping?!” look on her face.

But then I had a talk with her beau:

Maran couple

Maran couple

And let him know the potential seriousness of the situation. We do have foxes around here and also plenty of stray cats. So soon thereafter, when I went to close them in for the night, even though he was already inside, he came back out and started calling to her . . . and looking up.

And there she was in the mandarin tree. Really, really high! So after coaxing her down with the help of a bamboo stick to shake the branches, I got her in the coop. This has now been the routine for about a week, unless I show up before she’s in the tree, in which case I actually don’t have much trouble getting her in.

All I can figure is that she doesn’t really like hanging out with the big hen or perhaps the other rooster, who are both big personalities, but this hen in the tree routine is getting old. She doesn’t even remotely respond to feed or my calling or even, as it turned out, her little boyfriend calling her. Just the stick.

Any suggestions?

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4 Responses to “A Detour to the Chicken Coop: The Phantom Maran”
  1. 09.20.2010

    Can you build some sort of barrier around the trunk of the tree so she can’t climb up? Something similar to squirrel baffles on a bird feeder maybe?

    Oh she flies up there Kate! I didn’t think they could fly so high/far, but I caught her one day!


  2. Angela Z

    Show her the BBQ sauce bottle 😉

    Haha…at least an ax or something, right? 😉


  3. 09.22.2010

    I always light-trained mine. I always have a light in the chicken coop and they will go back there before dark. That works for most, but I’ve had the occasional one that refuses to go in. Unfortunately, they usually end up being raccoon or dog snacks.

    Guess they just have death wishes, eh? Mah.


  4. Caterina B

    You are right, Michelle. It’s probably due to “chicken politics” inside the coop. Sometimes we have an independent hen, too. Usually they end up going in the coop when it gets cold out, later in the Autumn so hopefully that will happen for you. Hmmm…it DOES get cold there doesn’t it? Yes, I think it does.

    Yes it gets cold(ish); I mean it doesn’t drop below freezing very often, but still 40s overnight must feel chilly for even them, right?!


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