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Why does my hen stay on the roost all day?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

My  1 1/2 year old free ranging hen doesn't come out at all during the day to free range.  She started doing this about a week ago.  She would come out for a little bit free range and then go back in to roost.  Over the week she has come out less and less everyday.  She does jump off the roost to eat and drink and she will take a treat out of my hand.  Her combs and wattles are bright red and healthy looking, and she's not wheezing or losing weight.  My instinct tells me she isn't sick and she is not sitting in the nests.  So, I know she is not broody. She is molting and not laying.  Could she be a moody molter?  Could it be the colder weather?  Is she sick and not showing signs?  All of my other hens are healthy, happy, molting, free ranging and just going about being chickens.

Any thoughts, opinions or advice from other chicken keepers?

Thank you,
Concerned about my favorite hen

post #2 of 8

Maybe she's embarrassed. I had one girl that stayed in the coop for her whole molt. I could just see what she was thinking, "I'm not going out there! I look ridiculous! The other girls are going to make fun of me!"   wink


Edited by reneemellor - 10/29/11 at 6:23pm
Married to a great guy, Mom to 2 boys and 2 girls
Moved away from the city to 10 acres with our 9 EE, 22 Buff Orps, 43 mutt chicks, 1 Cayuga drake, 2 rabbits, 3 new goats, 2 cats and 1 big dumb Cur/Shepherd puppy
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Married to a great guy, Mom to 2 boys and 2 girls
Moved away from the city to 10 acres with our 9 EE, 22 Buff Orps, 43 mutt chicks, 1 Cayuga drake, 2 rabbits, 3 new goats, 2 cats and 1 big dumb Cur/Shepherd puppy
Reply
post #3 of 8

The only time I've had this issue is when a hen is being bullied. Put her out and watch if the other chickens are bullying her, or if she acts distressed and goes right back to the henhouse. If she is being bullied, it may mean some detective work and poultry rearranging to try and get them to leave her alone. Sometimes bullying, especially severe bullying, can also be a sign of health problems because her flock will know better than we will if something is wrong with her.

I hope you figure out what's causing this soon!

Works at a farm animal sanctuary, vegetarian, former wildlife rehabber.

My flock: 70+ chickens (serama, OEGB, various breeds of bantams, and many more!), 9 ducks (6 call, 3 east indies), 3 peafowl, 1 Narragansett turkey, 1 Canada goose. Plus 2 corgis, 1 border collie, 3 cats, 2 horses, 2 cockatiels.

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Works at a farm animal sanctuary, vegetarian, former wildlife rehabber.

My flock: 70+ chickens (serama, OEGB, various breeds of bantams, and many more!), 9 ducks (6 call, 3 east indies), 3 peafowl, 1 Narragansett turkey, 1 Canada goose. Plus 2 corgis, 1 border collie, 3 cats, 2 horses, 2 cockatiels.

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post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all your help!  I never thought about her possibly being embarrassed. I checked her today and her molt is in full swing, tons of new feathers growing in (she might be really uncomfortable). Also,  I just introduced a rooster about 6 weeks ago and looking back on it now it might have disturbed their pecking order.  She has always been the "Mama Hen" and I think the rooster decided that he was going to takeover.  However, I am going to keep an eye on her health and try putting her into the flock for a little in the evening to see if there is any bullying.  Do you think I should isolate if she doesn't perk up in a week or so?

post #5 of 8

I have a 4 yr old hen that is pretty much doing the same thing. She is in a heavy molt. She does come out with the 3 younger ones but just hangs out on the tree branch in the run. Later in the day, I see her scratching around and have seen her eat but she isn't her normal self. Seems kind of subdued but will put the younger ones in their place if she has to. She stopped laying about a month ago but has had a bright red comb although it seems smaller now. She has lots of pinfeathers now so seems pretty uncomfortable.

Mom to 2 wonderful grown daughters, 4 hens:1 Black Australorp(Roxy), 2 Golden Comets(Ginger and Delilah) and one Mutt(Sizzle), 1 Vizsla(Holly,hunting queen), a Chincoteague Pony, a Paso Fino and 4 kitties!
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Mom to 2 wonderful grown daughters, 4 hens:1 Black Australorp(Roxy), 2 Golden Comets(Ginger and Delilah) and one Mutt(Sizzle), 1 Vizsla(Holly,hunting queen), a Chincoteague Pony, a Paso Fino and 4 kitties!
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post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverPhoenix 

The only time I've had this issue is when a hen is being bullied. Put her out and watch if the other chickens are bullying her, or if she acts distressed and goes right back to the henhouse. If she is being bullied, it may mean some detective work and poultry rearranging to try and get them to leave her alone. Sometimes bullying, especially severe bullying, can also be a sign of health problems because her flock will know better than we will if something is wrong with her.

I hope you figure out what's causing this soon!


Bullying was the first thing that came to mind for me too.  They might be chasing her every time she comes out and she's hiding on the roost.

post #7 of 8

I have 11 hens and 1 of them also is just staying in the roost. She has been doing that for about 3 weeks now. She seems/looks healthy. This is a jersey giant. I pick her up to see if there are any eggs under her. Sometimes yes sometimes no. I never see her out of the roost to eat or drink. What do you do to get them to drink?

post #8 of 8

I had a hen awhile back that was being bullied and stayed on roost. she would not come down to eat or drink. I have wide roosts so I started feeding her on roost. they even bullied her when they were out the coop free ranging to not as bad. I finally give her to a friend to see if she done better with his flock.

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