AWOL hen

Beccazon

Crowing
Apr 23, 2019
837
2,049
257
Michigan Thumb
My flock free-ranges from morning to dusk and are cooped and locked at night. One of my girls decided to disappear. She came back 4 days/3 nights later. While gone, we had an issue with a pair of neighborhood dogs. Birds penned in the run all day now😤😢Missing hen, Fluff, came back as a moody, puffed up outsider squaring off with everyone and wanting to go through the divider fence to the duck run. Fighting with my drakes through the links. Night one back was ok. Day two back was better, night two was fine, third day my Fluff was nearly normal again. The birds get free-range time each evening for an hour or two before roost while I stay outside with them for safety. Day three during free-range time, Fluff left. Just peacefully wandered off. And has now been gone for (this being night three) 3 nights😢.
Any thoughts? Just a solo bird all of the sudden? Nest somewhere in woods? Sexy male nearby??
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
8,886
11,101
636
western South Dakota
How is your egg count? If it unexpectedly down, they probably have a hidden nest. I take a cup of coffee, and sit down there for a while, sometimes another bird will lead you to it, when she goes to give a donation to the broody hen. The egg song can help you out. But you may have lost it.
 

Beccazon

Crowing
Apr 23, 2019
837
2,049
257
Michigan Thumb
She came to the run and eWell yes, and no💆🏻‍♀️ Fluff comes and goes. About every other day she appears out of nowhere until last week when I caught her. Loud squalk and I looked toward the woods and she appeared to come from beneath a huge brush pile that grew over a pine tree we fell several years ago. I gave her treats she found water in all of the duck pools. She came to the run and ate. Before I knew it she was gone again and I tried to scope out the brush pile...it’s huge and lush now...no luck and of course she was silent.
Few days later it was clear her nest is in there. While she was out I guarded my 18 yr old son and he climbed in. He narrowed down the asdumed spot but it’s dense. She knew something was up so she was headed back and I had him get out. We watched her go right in and she went directly to the spot that he assumed she would. But at that point she disappears into the greens. I have no doubt she is nesting now, and I have gotten fertile eggs from a friend. Our hope is to get in there when she is out and destroy the nest hoping she will come back to the coop and I can give her viable eggs to sit on if she is still broody.
 

Beccazon

Crowing
Apr 23, 2019
837
2,049
257
Michigan Thumb
In the meantime, I have two other chickens and one duck are sitting right now. One banty, one standard, my runner girl. My runner is two weeks in on happily developing babies! I gave my banty a duck egg for now and she (and it) are doing great! The other is not a brainy mom lol. But I did give her a duck egg. We will see if she stays in the same nest for more than two or three days at a time. If she does, I am fairly sure that poor egg is going to need to be replaced by the fertile eggs I got from my friend.
 

MANNA-PRO

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