BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying › Hen walking really weird, then it rubs its breast on the ground. What is causing that?
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Hen walking really weird, then it rubs its breast on the ground. What is causing that?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I was sitting at my dining room table watching our hens walking around outside when I caught a glimpse of the weirdest thing I have ever seen any of them do:  One of our hens, we call her Smarty, began walking all twisted up (neck bent in one direction with her head bent in the other)- kind of squatting while walking, and then she rested on the ground and began to "grind" (for the lack of a better word) her breast into the grass. Now, the walking weird part could have been caused by the scarecrow that we have in our back yard to try to keep the hawks at bay. It is really windy and I notice that the scarecrow is kind of leaning to one side and bobbing a little in the wind. The hen did appear to be keeping an eye on it while she was walking around. But I don't think that explains why she would drop to the ground and procede to "grind" her breast into the grass.

 

Any ideas about this?  My husband said that maybe she had something irritating her crop, and she was tryihg to work it around by rubbing it in the grass.  I thought I would ask here to glean some information from more experienced people than ourselves.

 

Thanks in advance for your help! 

post #2 of 4
Sounds like she's trying to dust bathe, does she have access to a dirt hole with dry material.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
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Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your reply.  Yes, they do have access to an area where they can dust bathe in their run. It is covered and stayed dry after 3 days of near monsoon rains here.  Their favorite dusting area, next to the house is wet. It didn't look like normal dust bathing behavior.  Ususlly the hens will find a dry dusty site and flop onto their sides and kick their feet and flop their wings around when they dust bathe.  This was as follows : slowly lower her breast to the ground with "hocks" (I don't know what they are called on chickens, but they are hocks on horses) bent and sticking up behind and then she proceded to grind/wipe her breast side to side on the ground.  I had my son check her and she is featherless under her breast.  As a matter of fact, several of our hens have no feathers where their wings/drumsticks meet their bodies.  Is that normal?  They all went through a pretty thorough molt this fall and all of their feathers grew back but some have bare breasts and the areas I just mentioned are also bare.  I don't remember them having that last year after their first partial molt. All of our hens are almost 2 years old.

post #4 of 4
They do have places on their bodies where there are no feathers, the spots you mentioned are some. I know broody chickens will pluck their breast and stomach feathers and they will have bald spots. It almost sounds like she's itching, you could check for parasites, and if they recently molted they need to remove the feather sheath by preening, maybe she's trying to do that. I do know they also throw themselves on the ground when they wish to sunbathe. It does sound like a behavior worth watching to try to figure out what she's doing.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
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BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying › Hen walking really weird, then it rubs its breast on the ground. What is causing that?