Chicken behavior during moulting

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cluckingKaren, Mar 30, 2016.

  1. cluckingKaren

    cluckingKaren New Egg

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    Nov 10, 2015
    In November I acquired a black Australorp. I was told she was about seven months old. Within a week she started laying beautiful olive colored eggs. Over the last couple of weeks I've seen her black feathers scattered throughout the coop. And over the last four days she has not laid any eggs. From what I've read it seems that she is what you would call and "early moulter."

    My concern is her behavior. All she wants to do is sit in the nesting box all day long in the dark. She might go out for about 10 minutes to eat or drink and then goes straight back inside. Now this worries me quite a bit. I don't think she's eating or drinking enough. So what I started doing over the last few days is picking her up and putting her right in front of the feeder and waterer. She'll eat and drink including the treats I set out for her, but within a few minutes she's walking right back into the coop. What could be wrong? Could she be in pain? From what I've read chickens are supposed "act normal" even though there are molting. Not sit in the nesting box in a dark coop the whole entire day. And I can't blame it on the weather, because I'm in sunny Southern California where our temps are in the 70-80's even in March. Once when I was picking her up some yellow liquid spilled from her mouth. Could she be having digestive problems? I'm just so confused and worried. How can I help my Nellie?

    Worried Momma Hen
    [​IMG]
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Sounds broody. Is she puffed up, growling and clucking?
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    I"m also thinking broody. Is she sleeping on the nest? That's a classic sign of broodiness. So are spreading out on the nest like a chicken pancake, growling when messed with, and walking funny when removed from the nest.
     
  4. cluckingKaren

    cluckingKaren New Egg

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    Nov 10, 2015
    Yes, she is puffed up, she pecks at me when I handle her and generally looks angry.
     
  5. cluckingKaren

    cluckingKaren New Egg

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    Nov 10, 2015
    Yes, she takes up the whole box like a pancake. When I try to pick her up she seems to get looser like she wants to lay back down. But if she's boody, doesn't she need an egg? She hasn't layed an egg in over a week. And how do I change or discourage her broodiness? Could she still be moulting? I thought chickens layed eggs automatically. Except for they are in the moulting period.

    [​IMG]Confused but feeling slightly relieved,

    Clucking K
     
  6. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    She's broody, either give her something to hatch or break her by putting her in a wire bottomed crate raise off the floor a bit for about 3 days, provide food and water. It's draining to leave them broody with nothing to hatch, some will sit up to two months.
     
  7. cluckingKaren

    cluckingKaren New Egg

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    Nov 10, 2015
    She won't hatch anything. We do not have roosters.
     
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    But she doesn't know that. It's hormonal, not based on presence of a rooster or eggs. A dedicated broody hen will sit on that nest with no eggs for a few months if you let her. It's not good for her health, and you're losing egg production. Do a search on "breaking a broody hen" on this site, it's been covered a lot. Better to start sooner, it will be easier on her.
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. cluckingKaren

    cluckingKaren New Egg

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    Thank you all for your valuable feedback. Last night she was sitting on my Golden Campine's egg. When I moved her off the nest she puffed up her feathers and actually growled [​IMG] I'll have to break this behavior asap! I'm so looking forward to seeing her beautiful olive colored eggs.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    My experience went like this: After her setting for 3 days and nights in the nest, I put her in a wire dog crate with smaller wire on the bottom but no bedding, set up on a couple of 4x4's right in the coop and I would feed her some crumble a couple times a day.

    I let her out a couple times a day and she would go out into the run, drop a huge turd, race around running, take a vigorous dust bath then head back to the nest... at which point I put her back in the crate. Each time her outings would lengthen a bit, eating, drinking and scratching more and on the 3rd afternoon she stayed out of the nest and went to roost that evening...event over, back to normal tho she didn't lay for another week or two.
    Water nipple bottle added after pic was taken.
    [​IMG]
     

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