So last month, one of my six hens passed away (I think she had sour crop) and so this past weekend I got a new one. The established flock are about a year old, the new hen is also about a year old. I've been googling and reading other posts here on this topic but I feel like I need reassurance in my own thread here...!
We are quarantining as best we can, at first we had April in a 3 X 4 chicken wire pen in the garage, then today we put her pen outside (it has no bottom so she could peck at the grass). I think she was much happier outside, even though the current (temporary) pen is too small-- my husband is building a larger tractor this weekend for her, we figured that the 3 X 4 would be okay for a week anyway.
This afternoon I got the bright idea that April should really stretch her legs and get a little exercise, so I took the lid off the pen and let her hop out, wander around the backyard. Right away, she was curious to see the chicken run and visit the other chickens (we shooed her away because of the quarantine thing). She eventually hopped back into her little pen all on her own, but then ten minutes later she looked like a prisoner, pacing back and forth and frantic to get out. I let her have another wander around the yard and this time she was even more determined to visit the other chickens. I had to pick her up and put her back in the pen. I feel so badly for her! I think she's lonely. We got her from a woman who kept her in a big loud barn full of chickens and roosters, so our silent garage and very quiet backyard must feel like sensory deprivation or something.
Does anyone have any ideas about what might calm her or make her feel better? I hate that she's so stressed out. My husband insists it was a terrible mistake for me to let her out in the first place, but I just felt like it was the humane thing to do (I'll do it again tomorrow !!). We cannot free range our chickens, it's against local ordinances, so this is not something that will ever happen once we can confine her in the run with the others. She is a barnevelder... is that breed particularly unhappy in confinement? Like I said, it's only temporary and once she's in the run, she will have space to just around and perch...