Behavioral Issues/Not Laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by tds99100, Sep 18, 2014.

  1. tds99100

    tds99100 Out Of The Brooder

    23
    0
    22
    Apr 6, 2014
    South Carolina
    Hello everyone.
    I'm not sure if I'm being over anxious, and I'm looking for some advice/reassurance. My flock has dwindled because of illness and predators so that i only have 1 hen left. She is an 8 month old sex link. She hasn't started laying yet. A friend gave me a rooster about three weeks ago. I was hoping his presence might help spur things on, but this hasn't been the case. Daytime highs are just now in the upper 80's. She doesn't seem to be molting, or maybe a very light molt (if there is such a thing). I've only seen a few random feathers in the run/coop, but nothing like I would expect from a full blown molt. They have gotten along well, although he does seem to be a bad influence.

    I free ranged her prior to his arrival. When I got him, I kept them in the enclosed run for a week and a half before attempting free ranging. I let them out for an hour before dusk, and didn't have any problems. The next day I let them out for a few hours. Neither of them wanted to go back in the run/coop. I had to catch her and put her in the coop, and I never could lay my hands on him. I lured him back in the next day. I have decided free ranging might not be the best option now, so I keep them in the run and give them store bought feed.

    She also used to let me pick her up, but he never has. Now she doesn't want to let me close to her either. They both even go as far away from when I get near the run. It's almost like they think I'm the enemy. I think he may have this idea from the night I chased him for thirty minutes trying to get him back in the run, but I've never chased her before.

    She has never had any issues sleeping in the coop, but he has never taken to it. He chooses to sleep on the ground instead, and I have never seen him make any effort to enter the coop.

    My questions are: 1) is she still just not ready to lay, or is there something wrong; and, 2) what should I do to deal with the new behavioral issues?

    Thanks in advance for your replies. I know I kinda piled a lot in there.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2014
  2. Amina

    Amina Chillin' With My Peeps

    506
    40
    126
    Jul 12, 2013
    Raleigh, NC
    I recently had a hen get sick and she was somewhat less interested in food. Normally if I want my chickens to go back into their run before it's dark, I lure them in with some scratch grain. But she would no longer be lured. Personally I find chasing chickens to be a really bad idea, as it only makes them wary of you. So I'll tell you what I did instead of trying to grab her. I got a stretch of plastic fencing. I took one end and my husband took the other, and we *very slowly* used that to herd her back to the run. Not nearly as easy as shaking a cup of scratch grain and calling, "here chick chick chick!" but it worked reliably and didn't make her afraid of us.

    So the first thing I'd try is using food to lure them where you want them. If that doesn't work, then the above method is my next choice.

    As for why they are avoiding the coop in the first place, I couldn't tell you... but, you mentioned predators. Do you think a recent predator scare could be worrying them? Or have you changed anything about the coop? There was one time I scooped out the coop and run and put fresh bedding in. There was a pile in one spot that I didn't spread out, and when my hen wanted to go back in around dusk, she couldn't see what that pile was and it spooked her. She kept circling the coop and wouldn't go in. Could it be something like that?

    As for the rooster not roosting, maybe stick him on the roost every day for about a week (do it around dusk so you don't have to chase him) and see if he gets the picture?

    Good luck!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by