Chicken blocking exit from nesting box

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by nutmag, Jan 29, 2016.

  1. nutmag

    nutmag Out Of The Brooder

    6
    0
    20
    Apr 25, 2015
    I got 9 hens last spring and once old enough integrated them in with 2 old birds, a buff and a silkie. The integration was seamless. Now, after five months the buff is blocking one of the young hens, a black astralorp, from leaving a nesting box. This started about 10 days ago. Another astralorp has a bunch of feathers plucked out but not sure who is doing it. I think the silkie might be an accomplice to blocking in the astralorp-- both the buff and silkie have always stayed inside the coop most of the day.

    I've been segregating the bullying buff and taking the astralorp out to eat and drink and be outside but then she goes right back to the nesting box even when the buff is kept away.

    Is there any way to break this behavior and get the astralorp her confidence back? Do I need to get rid of the bully? She's 7 and doesn't lay and I keep her as a pet but if I can't break the behavior she's got to go. I
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

    27,333
    10,891
    616
    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Hi, do you think its broodiness thats causing her to return to the nest? From my observations with my flock, the last place a subordinate hen wants to be is in an enclosed space where aggressors can corner them.

    In your position, the bully would be history - particularly seeing as she is bringing nothing to the party.


    All the best
    CT
     
  3. Chicken Egg 17

    Chicken Egg 17 Chillin' With My Peeps

    4,438
    200
    201
    Dec 11, 2015
    McVeytown PA
    Before you try to get rid of her try to take her away for a day or two just two see if her behavior changes and if it don't then try shutting the coop door for a bit everyday to keep her in there run with everyone to get her to stay out of the nesting box and I would do that after you got most of your eggs for the day
     
  4. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

    4,766
    572
    281
    Aug 29, 2012
    Australia
    I agree with CTken, are you sure she hasn't gone broody and what you are taking as the buff keeping her there isn't actually the buff trying to reclaim her nest box? It would be unusual for her to go back in there even without the buff otherwise.

    When you take her out and sit her directly on the ground, does she stay in position for a bit then eventually walk off or run straight off? Does she make a kind or grr sound or ruffle her feathers when you disturb her on the nest box? Both would suggest broody as does the returning to the nest.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2016
  5. nutmag

    nutmag Out Of The Brooder

    6
    0
    20
    Apr 25, 2015
    It's interesting you say that. At first I thought she'd gone broodY b/c she was making it really hard to get under her to retrieve eggs. She got flatter and flatter. Then she turned so she was head inward. I began wondering if she was sick but whe I picked her up she didn't seem sick. Just when I was considering putting her in "broody jail" I noticed the buff was standing guard every time I went in to the coop.

    I will observe now with that in mind and see what develops and try to break the brood. Thanks for the help!
     
  6. nutmag

    nutmag Out Of The Brooder

    6
    0
    20
    Apr 25, 2015
    Thanks for the suggestion. I started yesterday putting the two suspects in a separate area for a few hours a day. Everyone has access to food and water and a place to scratch. I never see fighting or hear a commotion so CT. may be right that the astralorp has gone broody.
     
  7. nutmag

    nutmag Out Of The Brooder

    6
    0
    20
    Apr 25, 2015
    Yes, yes, yes! She sits on the ground for a bit when I take her out, she fluffs her back end feathers and grrrs when I disturb her. My first thought was that she was broody but I've never had a broody hen that started sinking lower and lower down and I thought she thought might be dying even though she didn't look unhealthy. Then I noticed the buff "blocking" and wondered if she was guarding a sick flock mate. Then I got the idea that maybe the buff was dominating her and tried breaking up that game. But I think you and CT are right-- she's broody and I need to interrupt that. I've had broody ones before but none that got like pancakes! Thanks so much for the help.
     
  8. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

    27,333
    10,891
    616
    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Good news then! At least your 7 year old has a reprieve [​IMG]

    All the best

    CT
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by