Broody Hen. Or Low In The Pecking Order.

XanderWiFi

Songster
Aug 6, 2017
299
345
131
Central Virginia
Storm is our brabanter without a comb. She is super spastic and one of our least friendly chickens. However, whenever I am cleaning the coop she always seems to be in there or the first to come visit me inside while I am working. Scratching in the newly moved pine shavings or going into the nesting box to lay or sit. At first I just assumed it was her turn to lay her egg on the pile of eggs forming, and when one of the leghorns came in and wandered too close Storm began growling and hissing at the leghorn. No pecking or violence occurred.

I am not entirely certain what this behavior is but I have theories.

1. She is broody, thinks she is protecting her eggs, which is why she begins growling at the others when they come close.

2. She actually is trying to lay her egg and is trying to tell everyone else to eff off and give her some privacy.

3. She is the low bird on the totem pole and the leghorn's standing close is a show of intimidation and Storm, trying to lay an egg, is stuck in a precarious position and cannot get away (even though she can) so she feels the need to be testy.

Whenever I have seen other girls laying eggs or had to pick up eggs around them, none hiss or growl at me. Most just kind of look like people if you walked in on them pooping when I open the lid. It was not until I heard Storm doing it that I realized that is what it actually sounded like.

Thoughts?
 

2 many chickens

Crowing
Jan 14, 2017
2,054
5,512
352
Maybe broody. Or has a favorite nesting box she doesn't want to share. I've had one hen pack another hen over and over until she got out of her box. Also had a broody scream at me if I tried to mess with her eggs or box.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
97,628
133,720
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I frequently see non-broody birds in a nest scream at their flock mates when they come near. Some yell at me when I go under them to grab an egg, some even peck and bite, or bolt out of the nest(tho most are used to me doing this, a couple won't tolerate it).

2. She actually is trying to lay her egg and is trying to tell everyone else to eff off and give her some privacy.
I vote for #2....and think it's good sign your 'low bird' is defending her right to use the nest.
 

XanderWiFi

Songster
Aug 6, 2017
299
345
131
Central Virginia
I honestly have no idea who the low bird is. I believe I know who the top two birds are: Skunk, my EE who is the only one I have seen try to bully anyone; and Mohawk, the Brabanter with a plume who is the only one I have seem stand up to Skunk.

Beyond that I have no idea who is friends with who; who the low bird is. Everyone is just nice and mellow. I have been trying to find information to be able to discern more closely the nuances of rank and file in the pecking order.

However, I do suspect Storm is the low bird just because I have seen her be last on the roost at times. Or very curious and trying to escape when I go to close up-even though she was already dwelling inside for the night. She just overall seems anxious or high strung for whatever reason. May just be her personality.
 

bobbi-j

Enabler
11 Years
Mar 15, 2010
15,813
32,809
1,092
On the MN prairie.
I agree with Aart. I think she was just trying to lay her egg and didn't want the leghorn near her. I don't consider a hen broody until she's been on the nest day and night for at least two nights. She may get off the nest once a day or so for 20-30 minutes or so, but otherwise will stick tight to the nest, flattened out and growly when you come close.
 

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