Barnvelde Going AWOL... Broody Chook?

BornFelder

In the Brooder
Jun 7, 2020
9
25
18
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
New hand to the chicken thing, so much to learn, loving it!

We have a mixed flock in Hobart, Tasmania, including 2 18 month ISA browns, 2 POL Austrlalorps, 2 POL Aracauna.

More recently we picked up 2x 18 month old Barnvelds from a friend of a friend, a few months ago. We were told they had stopped laying at moult, and they had just finished moulting. Fast forward 3 months and they are fully integrated into the flock and seemingly well settled, albeit not laying yet, although we are coming in to winter and are down to 9-10 hours of daylight only.

That was until last week, when one of the Barnveldes, looking resplendent in its new coat and deep red comnb/wattle, started separating itself from the flock and jumping the fence into the neighbours yard (a 6 ft fence), preferring to stay there instead! I have had to chase it down every day now to get it to come back, even after waiting a few of those days out till dusk to see if it might come home to roost, alack.

I read an NZ blog that descibed similar behaviour making me think she may be broody? Finding her own private, dark nesting area (supplied by a large and dense bush in the neighbours back yard!). However, here in Hobart, it is the very start of winter, which would be an odd time to go broody? And she is not staying to her 'nest' as I can see her roaming around the neighbours yard when I put my head over. And at night if left uncaught (to see if she might come back) she will roost on the fence, not in her nest.

There is no bullying that I can discern, plenty of food, a HUGE yard for them to run around....

Think I'll put her in a breaker box for a few days, see what happens, in case she is broody.

*edit: As far I can tell, she has not started laying again yet... unless it is in the neighbours yard! I thought I heard her doing the egg song the other day, but I think in retrospect it was actually a distress/alert sound, as I had caught her out in her hiding place, LOL. Does the same noise now when I put her in the breaker box.

Any idas / suggestions, be more than welcome.

Regards,

Dan
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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She may be laying a clutch before setting.
Have had birds go broody at all times of the year...once let one hatch in the middle of winter(never again).

Might be time for an exam:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/who-is-laying-and-who-is-not-butt-check.73309/

Then maybe confine the flock to see if you get some eggs in the coop nests.

Oh, and....Welcome to BYC! @BornFelder
Here's how to add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!
1591536599963.png
 

BornFelder

In the Brooder
Jun 7, 2020
9
25
18
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Thanks for the prompt reply there. Interesting development today with my Barnvelde. I caught her in the neighbours yard yesterday and then shut her up in the coop, intending to do the same today except she managed to get out before I could close the door on her - cheeky thing.

Went out to play golf and the neighbour was mulching a massive pile of Eucalypt bark that had been piled up on the fence line -- said he found 5 eggs all nicely located together, so it seems your call on a clutch was correct!

Had to chase her around the yard again and again she was curiously calm once I caught her.

Have now placed her in solitary in a small falt apck coop we used when the flock were chicks.

Am inspecting vents as advised, have a mostly flighty flock so they're not super keen on being picked up!
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
96,668
130,514
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
said he found 5 eggs all nicely located together, so it seems your call on a clutch was correct!
Ha!!! They are sneaky!!
She may not be gathering a clutch to set on,
but just laying somewhere other than the coop nests.

Not sure what your setup looks like(size of coop and run, numbers of nests, etc), but.....
you might want to confine the whole flock to coop and run, put some fake eggs in the coop nests, to re-habituate them to laying in the coop nests.
 

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