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Shrouded Hen-- Should I be Worried???

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

About a month ago I gained 4 new hens from a friend.  We are in the process of building a new coop for them.  For now, I'm keeping them in a cage at night, that is covered with sheets and light blankets.  It hasn't gotten cold here yet.  We haven't had a freeze.  Nights are in the 50s.  I had noticed that a few mornings one hen has been reluctant to come out with the others.  She takes her time to come out, but when she does, she seems fine-- eats and walks around.  She is 4, an Ameracauna.  She hasn't laid any eggs since arriving.  We have a rooster.  She had never been around a rooster before.  Last night I found her atop the cage, tightly wrapped up in a sheet.  She had wrapped herself in it to roost for the night.  Fearing predators, I unwrapped her and put her in the cage for the evening.  She seemed fine today.  This evening, when I went to prepare the chickens for bed, I found her once again, tightly wrapped up in a sheet.  I unwrapped her and held her a while and then put her on the ground where she walked around and seemed fine.  I came back with greens for the chickens and found her wrapped up in the sheet again!  I unwrapped her and put the greens in front of her, and she ate them well.  Then I put her in the cage.

 

Have you ever heard of a hen cocooning herself into a sheet like this?  Could she be chilled?  Or does she just like fabric around her?  Let's see-- yes, she was the one that was molting when I got the hens, but I thought she was done molting.  I am a bit worried.  I've had chickens for 5 years and have never seen anything like this, except for my little Sebright Bantam who used to love to crawl into rolled up rugs, blankets, and jacket sleeves to lay her wee eggs, but never to roost...

 

All thoughts will be appreciated.

post #2 of 8
Perhaps she is broody and trying to create a nest? She may also be trying to hide from the rooster, finding that when she is wrapped up, she is safe from his mounting and chasing. If it is in the fifties at night, she shouldn't be cold or even chilled. Do you have hay for her to sleep in? You can give her a blanket or old rug for her to sleep in if you would like. Good luck!
post #3 of 8

"Wrapped" in anything sounds more like an attempt to hide from something.

post #4 of 8
True. If she is really hiding, it is probably from the roo chasing her.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Good points, all.  Thank you so much.  The rooster is just coming into his own, so he's full of teenaged hormones, just learning to crow, bumbling...  It may all be more than she can take.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Would this imply she is smarter than the other 3 hens who haven't thought of wrapping up in a sheet to avoid the rooster's advances?  I don't think any of them care much for his amorous advances, from what I have observed.  He is a very careful protector of the hens, though.

post #7 of 8
I don't believe smarter is the correct word. She may have found out that the sheet gave her protection by mistake. Perhaps she is at the top of the pecking order and no one else dares challenge her for her sheet. Or maybe she was being picked on the worst by the rooster. Of course, I don't know, but perhaps.
Edited by LeafBlade12345 - 10/19/15 at 8:00pm
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

I just found out from her previous owner that she was always the Outcast of the flock.  Right before I took the hens, two of the others had recently accepted her, and the 4 had become a bit of a clique, for the first time.  I think the Rooster has changed the dynamics of that, I'll bet?

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